Welcome to Arsenal News

Here you’ll find a wealth of up-to-date information about Arsenal, one of the UK’s most popular and successful football clubs. Whether you’re a keen supporter, or you’re just interested to find out more, this site is for you. There’s plenty of facts, figures and statistics covering pretty much every aspect of the club, from its current players and upcoming matches, to in-depth game analysis and rumours about future developments.

Known as ‘The Gunners’, Arsenal isn’t just one of the UK’s top football clubs, it’s also one of the biggest in the world. Since its establishment way back in 1886, the club has gone on to enjoy much success and is now the world’s sixth largest football club in terms of revenue – it also has the fifth largest worldwide social media fan base for a football club. Since 2006, its home stadium has been Emirates Stadium in the London district of Highbury. It’s currently the UK’s third largest football stadium, with a maximum capacity of around 60,000 spectators.

Over the years, Arsenal has won a string of professional football games to cement itself as one of the UK’s leading football clubs. It’s one of many to take part in the Premier League and is one of the most successful to do so. Of the 20 Premier League teams, Arsenal currently ranks third in terms of total wins, behind only Manchester United and Chelsea. The club is also the most successful at the FA Cup, having won a total of 13 titles to date.

Arsenal’s fans often refer to themselves as ‘Gooners’ and home matches regularly sell out. The club is known for its distinctive team colours, with its kit nearly always sporting the well known combination of red and white.

So if you’re interested in learning more about this hugely successful and popular football club, you’re in the right place. This site is designed for anyone with an interest in Arsenal. Doesn’t matter whether you’re a ‘Gooner’ or not, you’re welcome to browse through the different sections and keep up to date with the club’s latest goings-on.

Unai Emery makes a good first impression as Arsenal make a sensible appointment

You only get one chance to make a first impression, and I have to say Unai Emery’s performance as he was named head coach of Arsenal yesterday made his a very favourable one for me.

We had the announcement in the morning, confirmation of the story that broke on Monday evening, that the 46 year old Spaniard was to become the club’s new ‘Head Coach’. The distinction between that and manager couldn’t be more clear. Under the current set-up Arsene Wenger may well be the last ‘manager’ Arsenal have, and Emery the first man to take us into this new continental model, as people call it.

Ivan Gazidis outlined the process through which the decision was made, telling us that the former Sevilla and PSG boss had been on the chief executive’s personal radar since he achieved three consecutive third place finishes in La Liga with Valencia. After some more formalities, the new man spoke.

Now, for many people addressing a crowd of story hungry media in their native tongue can be something of a challenge, so do it in one you don’t know very well is something else entirely. Not only is your vocabulary and expression limited, there’s something difficult, almost embarrassing, about speaking in a language you don’t really understand too well.

So on that basis alone, Emery addressing the media – and the countless more watching via the stream on the official website – in English was both impressive and brave. It could easily have been done via an interpreter, Champions League style, but it was a clear demonstration that he’s here to learn and settle into England and English football as quickly as possible.

While his words were halting at times, he made himself understood as he took on his new role and responsibilities.

My English is not very best right now. I want to make an effort to speak with you, to the supporters, to explain my ideas, to explain my ambitions, to explain that I am very excited about this opportunity. It’s a big club, a great city, a grand stadium and also has great players for this work

Thank you, Arsene Wenger, for your legacy. For all the coaches over the world, he’s a reference and I learned from him all the things in football.

The club released a very odd video yesterday which showed some, but not all of the managers down the years, and the omission of Wenger from it was strange on the day in question. We know this is a new era, and whether you include him in it or not makes no difference as his shadow will inevitably fall over the new man for a time simply because he’s been part of the Arsenal story for so long. So, I thought Emery’s words to pay tribute to him were apt and showed a touch of class.

He then answered questions, using an earpiece to understand what was being said to him as some of the journalists made the assumption they could speak to him in the more or less the same way as they did Wenger. He coped with a nonsensical question – in the circumstances – about Jack Wilshere’s future, and laid out what he expects and wants from his players when the work in earnest begins:

What we want to do is not fear any team neither here in the Premier League or in Europe and our objective is to be among the best and to beat the best.

I’m very demanding of myself, I’m passionate and I really want to transmit that to the people around me – that we can, and must, improve in the future. That is the kind of thing I want to transmit, that desire to be better and I think that will lead us to improve in the Premier League and in Europe.

He’s got a real job on his hands to achieve that, let’s make no mistake about it, but I also think he’s got the bones of a decent squad which I think he can improve by adding the kind of discipline, organisation and so on that it has been missing. So, it’s about getting more out of what we have, adding to the squad as well as possible, and then seeing how responsive the players are to his ideas and his coaching.

For me, this is a far more sensible appointment than that of Mikel Arteta. Emery has managed hundreds of games in a managerial career that goes back 12 or 13 seasons, and his compatriot has managed none. There was a romanticism about the idea of a former player coming back, but on any objective level it was, as I said before, a bit mental.

I think many of us had grown used to the idea and had got somewhat on board with it, not just because it was so reportedly close to happening, but because we wanted it to be good for the sake of the club we support. There was a willingness to back the decision if that was what they were going to do simply out of blind hope, but in the end I think common sense prevailed.

How we got here isn’t really the issue any more, there’s no need to look in any other direction but the future and I watched that press conference yesterday and felt excited and energised about what’s to come. We’ve brought in a smart man who has clear ideas about what he wants to do and how he wants to do it. There are going to be challenges and obstacles along the way, but that’s the normal way of things for any manager.

For some, Emery is not the stellar name people wanted – even if his trophy record is pretty impressive. He’s got a track record of winning things, and although his time at PSG is perceived to be a failure because of their dominance in Ligue 1 and their inability to make progress in the Champions League, I think we have to look at it in context. He was dealing with a club hierarchy that is far from normal and a dysfunctional dressing room filled with warring egos.

It’s not an excuse, but an explanation, and it feels to me like Arsenal is a much more suited to a man who had his most successful times at almost equivalent clubs in Spain. We are a club in need of improvement, you can’t bemoan how poor things have been for so long and then expect us to be the most attractive job in football.

We finished 6th, we’re in the Europa League, we have fundamental problems that need to be solved through coaching and the transfer market, and on that basis it seems to me that Emery and Arsenal and Arsenal and Emery are a good fit. He needs to make us better, and at just 46 and with some ups and downs in his career, there’s a chance that Arsenal can make him better too.

He comes in to work in a structure he’s used to from his previous clubs, and it’s one that the Arsenal board have put that in place well over the last 12 months or so. It was overdue, but we’ve given ourselves the best chance of dealing with the post-Wenger fall-out through the appointments we’ve made behind the scenes.

A Head of Recruitment, a vastly experienced Director of Football (Head of Football Relations), a contracts dude, a Head of High Performance, and so on, will enable Emery to carry out the key parts of his work without distraction. He’ll obviously have some input into who we bring in and who we let go, but the nuts and bolts of it are all there to offer him genuine support.

We wanted change, and this is what change looks like. It goes without saying that I want it to work and be successful, and there was a lot to like about what we saw and heard from our new head coach yesterday. His work begins in earnest from today, as he starts to learn about all the other aspects of the club, how it operates, and all the rest.

His interactions with the players themselves won’t happen until pre-season in early June, but there’s plenty he can do before then. His language skills will improve quickly I’m sure, and it’s impossible to sit here this morning and not feel elevated and fired-up about what’s to come.

Bienvenido Señor Emery, mucha suerte!


Wenger’s final trip to Old Trafford as Arsenal Manager

Morning all. It’s unusual that a game between Manchester United and Arsenal pales into insignificance, but that’s kinda where we are this morning because it falls between the two legs of the Europa League semi-final. It’s not completely without importance though. It’s Arsene Wenger’s last ever trip to Old Trafford as Arsenal manager. It’s a stadium where he’s had some highs (“Wiltoooooooooorrrrrd”) – and some lows, but I hate two bring one of them in particular up again. I’m sure it will be a bitter-sweet moment for him, especially when he thinks back at how the incredible rivalry between us and them in the first ten years of his tenure was basically Premier League box office. If you lived through that, you’ll remember very well just how intense those games were. Two absolutely brilliant teams who were incredibly well matched, both in terms of their technical and physical quality, and who embraced this competitive conflict like it was something they’d been waiting for their entire lives. The football was superb, the desire to win on both sides at maximum levels, and that created something really, really special. Not just because it was two teams who wanted to win at all costs, you can have that at any level of football, but the quality of the players and the undercurrent of hatred and violence resonated with fans on both sides. The players didn’t like each other, the managers didn’t like each other, the fans didn’t like each other, and everybody else loved those elements because they sparked some incredible confrontations – with the ball and without, on the pitch and off it. These were pulsating encounters, and while I firmly believe Arsenal should have won more in the first part of Arsene’s reign, it was still absolutely brilliant on almost every level you can think of. It’s not the same now, it can’t be because what made it special was how organic it was. Wenger came in and made Arsenal a force to reckoned with at a time when United looked like they were going to dominate the league unopposed. The suspicion over foreigners in English football was still quite high, particularly in terms of managers, and that he got under the skin of Ferguson so quickly was a testament to the threat he and Arsenal posed. As much as our title wins, doubles, FA Cups, and unbeaten season will be part of the manager’s legacy, so too will be the battles against that United side. Two great teams, neither giving an inch, and winning the title there in 2002 – on a night when they were determined not to let us do that, through fair means or foul – is, to me, one of the greatest performances in this club’s history. Now, Ferguson is gone, United have been wishy-washy for a few years under Moyes and van Gaal, and although it’s Jose Mourinho there at the moment, Wenger is looking for a peaceful final visit to Manchester. He says:
You should leave me and give me a little peace for my final weeks and not try to push me into final confrontations.
The relationship with Mourinho has, down the years, been difficult to say the least, and let’s not allow the sentimentality of this occasion make it seem like it was both sides at war. It was because the Portuguese was an absolute prick, there’s no other way around this. He said things he should not have said down the years, behaved in ways he shouldn’t have too, and whatever else you think of Wenger his intolerance for rank cuntitude is to his eternal credit. A great example of this was a home game against Man City (perhaps) but whoever it was Mark Hughes was manager. He spent the entire game berating the Arsenal manager from the technical area, calling him names, making gestures, so at the final whistle Wenger walked off without shaking hands. Cue Hughes bleating to the press about how disrespectful that was, but Arsene was right in my opinion. If you want to call someone names, fine, but don’t cry when they rightly consider you a dickhead and don’t want to shake your hand. Things are calmer now between Wenger and Mourino:
It has been, like with Ferguson, very tense like always when you fight together, but overall it is respectful.
But I thought thought it very interesting that the manager had a little pop at sections of the press for helping to spark confrontation between the two down the years:
I must say as well it is very difficult when you play against fellow managers, they get reported things that you have not necessarily said. In press conferences, they say ‘Wenger said that’ even if it is taken out of context and you then get people who are upset or vice versa.
I have lost count how many times that’s happened. In time Wenger grew wise to it, but there were questions in press conferences that were designed to create conflict. He’s asked about something, he answers, that answer is taken out of context and presented to Mourinho at his press conference who, unable to help himself because he is a monstrous testicle, bites back. Which isn’t to excuse Mourinho or anything, but there’s been a lowest common denominator element to their relationship down the years, and amazingly he’s not it: it’s some of the hacks who take that award. And when you consider some of the stuff the United manager has said and done down the years, that puts some of those people well and truly in the gutter. Anyway, we’ll see what happens at Old Trafford tomorrow. Will it be peaceful and full of love? Or will both these managerial leopards find it to difficult to change their spots and have at it? If it comes down to it, my money’s on Arsene, the sinewy, long limbs would be no match for Mourinho – and the last thing you want to do is fight a guy who’s got nothing to lose. Metaphorically speaking, of course 😉 I’ll preview the game here tomorrow, I answered some questions for United site Stretty News here, and for now I’ll leave you with yesterday’s podcast – happy listening.  

Arsenal 3-0 Stoke: Gunners stick it to Stoke in the final 20


For around 70 minutes Arsenal v Stoke yesterday was something to be endured rather than enjoyed. We had been poor most of the game – although better in the second half than in the abject first – and there was a growing fear that they might just nick something and leave us with little time to react.

Then, in the 69th minute, Stoke got a corner. Xherdan Shaqiri took it, curled it over everyone and saw it clatter back off the post. Arsenal got it clear, and from there it was like we woke up. Almost immediately Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang found himself clean through on goal but Jack Butland stood up to make a save.

Calum Chambers had a chance from a corner, but he couldn’t adjust his feet quickly enough, and there looked to be a bit more purpose to the way we were playing. So, when Mesut Ozil looked to have been fouled in the box and the referee pointed to the spot, it felt like we’d had just reward for putting on some pressure. Replays show that it was a generous decision, Bruno Martins Indi got the ball and Ozil kicked him as much as anything else, but I can’t explain to you how little I care.

Sometimes they go for you, sometimes they don’t. Sometimes the opposition get awarded a soft penalty (which is, of course, evidence of a great anti-Arsenal refereeing conspiracy), and sometimes you get them. Aubameyang, who had missed from the spot against Man City, made no mistake this time, shooting low and hard to the keeper’s left to make it 1-0.

Arsenal were emboldened. Butland had to make saves from Ozil and substitute Henrikh Mkhitaryan, and from a corner Aubameyang got his second when the ball skidded into his path and he finished unerringly into the bottom corner. That was always going to be that in terms of the result, it sparked some enjoyable songs from the crowd about Stoke’s potential relegation, and you could see they’d lost their heads.

The foul on Lacazette for the second penalty was borne out of frustration, I’m sure, and while I was expecting the man who had scored twice already to knock it in for his hat-trick, he gave it to the French international who marked his return from surgery and injury with a goal to put him in double figures for the season.

Explaining why he didn’t take it himself, Aubameyang said:

I haven’t really paid too much attention to reaction, but from a cursory glance at Twitter I can see that some of the pundits have been critical about this, as if it means Aubameyang is not ruthless enough, or focused fully on scoring goals. To which I would say, that’s a strange accusation to make about a striker who scored 141 goals in 212 games for Borussia Dortmund and one who has 5 goals from 6 Premier League games for us. And by strange I mean utterly stupid.

I thought it was a great gesture, one that will benefit both Lacazette and the team, and shows this is a player who thinks more broadly than just how many goals he has at the end of the season. This is a team game, after all, and while nobody would have criticised him if he’d taken it himself, his decision to give it to his teammate is one to be applauded, not derided.

I guess when you win 3-0, somebody has to make a bit of a drama out of something, that’s just the kind of world we live in these days. For all the things you could be critical of having watched that game yesterday, that was definitely not one of them.

Generally, I thought we were poor, the first half in particular was worryingly bad and the way we conceded possession so frequently was hard to understand. I think a better team than Stoke might have made more of our carelessness, so we can be thankful that they’re as terrible as they are this season.

As I said yesterday, the enjoyment from this game would always come from beating them and contributing to their struggles. Taking the three points, and putting a dent in their goal difference, made those final 15-20 minutes quite enjoyable overall, but there wasn’t much else to like about what we did, how we did it, or the kind of football we tried to play.Maybe we can put it down to post-Interlull rustiness, it is something we’ve seen before and it was referenced by Aaron Ramsey afterwards, but it felt very much like more of the same stuff we’ve seen often this season.

Still, on the plus side we got the win, got some minutes under our belt before Thursday, hopefully got ourselves a bit sharper, Lacazette is back and scoring again – he made a real impact when he came on for Welbeck, and we made Stoke very, very unhappy which really trumps everything else this morning.

When you hear them sing songs about Aaron Ramsey walking with a limp, you can’t help but hope they end up going down and staying down. I mean, I hoped that anyway, but that kind of stuff just reinforces it. If this win helps that happen, then it’s a small bright spot in what has been a pretty dark season in the Premier League.

It’s impossible not to mention the crowd, or lack of it, and I don’t really buy into Arsene Wenger’s explanation that Easter was a contributory factor to people staying away (although he did mention how little there is to play for in the league now). It is a consequence of our season overall, and the fact that beyond sticking it to Stoke this was a game which had little going for it.

Thursday, however, is a different proposition. It’s a European quarter-final in a competition which has real meaning, so fingers crossed there’s a better turnout because despite the players saying the strange atmosphere didn’t make any difference, it can’t be easy playing in that kind of environment. Anyway, we’ve set ourselves up reasonably well for the CSKA encounter, and the focus can now turn towards that for the rest of the week.

James and I will be here this morning to deliver a bank holiday Arsecast Extra for you. If you have any questions or topics for discussion, send to @gunnerblog and @arseblog on Twitter with the hashtag #arsecastextra – and that’ll be ready before lunchtime.

Until then.


Lacazette back in training as Elneny signs a new deal

The last round of international friendlies takes place today, and genuinely I don’t really know which Arsenal players are going to be involved. I don’t think there’s too many, and once these games are done and dusted it’s uninterrupted Arsenal between now and May, starting with Stoke on Sunday. In the meantime, there’s been a fitness boost with the return of Alexandre Lacazette who has been out of action since mid-February after surgery on his knee. At the time it was reported he’d be out of action for around 4-6 weeks, so this fits very much in that schedule, and his comeback is very welcome. With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang sidelined for the Europa League because of stupid UEFA rules, we’re missing some firepower for our European games. Danny Welbeck got a couple against AC Milan, and that will certainly have done his confidence some good, but to have Lacazette back is a boost for what remains of our campaign. We also saw Aaron Ramsey taking part in the session after he was supposed to have undergone a ‘small procedure’ during the Interlull. It was obviously very small as he’s in full training and hopefully now available for the rest of the season. As our most productive central midfield player he is going to be very important for what we need to do against CSKA Moscow and beyond, so fingers crossed he stays fit. Meanwhile, a central midfielder who is going to the World Cup this summer has signed a new deal with the club. Mohamed Elneny put pen to paper on a new long-term contract which was announced yesterday, and the Egyptian international seemed rightly pleased about the whole thing: That’s him pictured with Arsene Wenger and new contract dude, Huss Fahmy, and I think this is a decent move for all concerned. Every squad needs players like Elneny, who work hard, can come into the side and be reliable, consistent performers. He’s very rarely a 9 out of 10 player, but also very rarely anything less than a 7 out of 10 player. He does tend to err on the cautious side of things in possession at times, but in recent games has shown a bit more incision and ambition with his passing. However, we have other players in the team whose job it is to try and make things happen so to have someone who can keep the ball moving and not be wasteful or careless with it is no bad thing in my opinion. He also seems like a good character, doesn’t complain when he’s left out of the side – sometimes a bit unfairly I think – and when he does come in you pretty much know what you’re going to get from him. It’s in contrast to some of our other midfield players whose level of performance can tilt much further towards either end of the spectrum, for good and bad, and with doubts over the futures of a couple of them ensuring we have some squad stability is important. That said, his renewal does raise questions about the way we manage the squad and the players. Last summer Arsenal were willing to let him go to Leicester but he turned down the move to stay and fight for his place, so from being considered surplus to requirements he’s got a new contract (I guess that’s to his credit for the way he plays/trains etc, but it makes you wonder about the decisions we’re making). We have a similar situation with Jack Wilshere who was told by Arsene Wenger last summer that if he found a new club he could go. You don’t need to even read between the lines to understand what message was being sent there. The manager was telling a player he didn’t really want him anymore, didn’t consider him important to his plans, and now we’re in a position where Wenger is telling is he’s urging Wilshere to sign a new deal:
I push him to stay and I think he’s an Arsenal man. We want him to stay and we’ve made a proposal.
It’s quite the flip-flop, and if you’re Jack Wilshere you could understand being reluctant to sign on. As much as he loves the club having grown up with us, when your manager tells you that you can leave, then offers you a new deal but with a cut in your basic salary while everyone around you is getting increases – some of them very substantial ones – you might ask yourself if you wouldn’t be better off or valued more highly somewhere else. If you were being generous you’d say his situation, and that of Elneny, speak to somewhat muddled thinking on the part of Arsenal. In some ways it’s not a bad a thing to change your mind on a situation and recognise that a player you thought wasn’t up to it still has something to offer. It shows you don’t have a fixed position no matter what, that evidence to the contrary can alter your thinking, but a more cynical outlook is that we’re just making it up as we go along because there’s a lack of real planning and strategy to what we do and how we do it. Anyway, Elneny is signed up, and hopefully there are a few more to come over the next few weeks and months. For now, I’ll leave you with yesterday’s Arsecast Extra, discussing the manager how his future is tied to the Europa League, the development of young players, and Gunnerblog’s dismissal of soup. Also, the long-awaited FIFA match up between us is taking place at 9pm tonight, it’ll be streaming on YouTube and I’ll put links up on @arseblog closer to the time. Have a good one.


This Arsecast Extra was recorded with ipDTL  

Arsenal Gentleman’s Weekly Review

Arsenal Gentleman's Weekly Review
You may think of me as an anachronism. An Edwardian era relic. An antediluvian moustachioed vagabond that somehow embodies the values of one hundred years ago. Yet you would be surprised, nay, shocked, nay stunned, to learn that I am something of a philanthropist. A caregiver, if you will. I have developed a deep yearning to help the less fortunate of our society. In recent years I have begun to visit those who rarely venture outside the stifling environs of their own home, due to agoraphobia, or crippling anxiety, or in today’s case, super morbid obesity.
I have been visiting my charge at his home near Watford in Hertfordshire for some years now. Since others and I have been taking a keen interest in his wellbeing his quality of life has improved immeasurably. He still has to sleep in a specially reinforced bed, adapted from a zoo’s operating table for megafauna such as the rhinoceros or the elephant, and his armchair remains a steel-reinforced affair that began life as a three-person sofa. It still hugs his enormous girth at the hips. A local charity has paid for a cook to provide sustenance for this poor soul, whose calorific requirements run to ten thousand or more a day; sometimes he simply shouts “BIG MAC SOUP,” at which command the cook sends an assistant to the local McDonalds hamburger restaurant for six ‘Big Mac’ hamburgers with accompanying French fries and milkshakes, deposits them in a blender and brings them through to our lad, who devours it by simply tipping the muddy liquid into his mouth straight from the jug. Such gluttony is to be pitied, rather than mocked. One myth about people of fifty stones or more is that they are somehow ‘jolly’. Spend ten minutes with this creature and you would soon be disavowed of that option, for he is the most ill tempered personage you will ever meet. Yet his most unfortunate character trait is what his psychiatrists are calling ‘Extreme Hubris’. This manifests itself by the uttering of foolishly proud, overconfident and arrogant statements, which at some point are proved completely and utterly wrong, bringing about not so much a comeuppance as a startling humiliation. A local tentmaker has taken pity on this poor soul and been manufacturing bespoke items of clothing for him; a pair of jeans, with a waist of 90 inches. A pair of pyjamas adapted from a pair of large silk curtains. And a football kit, for in one of the great humanitarian acts of our age, a local club have given this fellow a job. I knock on the door. His assistant answers. “Good afternoon Gent. He’s in the front room.” As usual. What greets me is a vast rear end, his custom-made jeans barely covering half of it and his gluteal cleft is in full view. He is shouting at the television, which is playing the children’s animated drama Peppa Pig. “You need a bit of cojones, Daddy Pig, a bit of nuts.” He takes a sip of his Big Mac Soup. “And you, Peppa you want to fight with me, I’m gonna beat you all day.” He passes wind, loudly and moistly. He changes the channel. It is ‘Bob the Builder’, a tale of a helpful tradesman and his pals. “Bob, you need cojones, you’re never going to get that building built.” Again, he changes channels. It is Blue Peter. “You’re never going to be able to make that thing out of cardboard. You need some cojones. Some nuts.”
“How long has he been like this?” I whisper. “Since Sunday,” says his assistant. “Ever since he waddled back through the front door with his two walking sticks on Sunday evening he’s been like this.” So there we have it, ladies and gentlemen. The perils of hubris.