Arsenal leaked goals in Wenger’s Lost Decade – Here are the facts…

REALLY? WENGER’S LAST YEARS SAW A DEFENCE THAT LEAKED GOALS? THAT WAS THE CLAIM – LET’S SEE THE ACTUAL EVIDENCE.

 

Following on from my article that showed the “goals for” in Arsene Wenger’s second half of his tenure, had actually increased, rather than the false narrative claimed that they had decreased – I was asked to show the goals against, the number of games lost and the league positions during the same periods.

 

So, as per the usual recognised dates under discussion, I looked at the stats from 2008 onwards (you know, the quoted “lost decade”) and here are the results from the PL as per the 2018/19 Official Handbook:

 

Season:

2007/08 Goals against = 31 – Games lost = 3 League Position = 3

2008/09 Goals against = 68 – Games lost = 6 League Position = 4

2009/10 Goals against = 41 – Games lost = 9 League Position = 3

2010/11 Goals against = 43 – Games lost = 8 League Position = 4

2011/12 Goals against = 49 – Games lost = 10 League Position = 3

2012/13 Goals against = 37 – Games lost = 7 League Position = 4

2013/14 Goals against = 41 – Games lost = 7 League Position = 4

2014/15 Goals against = 36 – Games lost = 7 League Position = 3

2015/16 Goals against = 36 – Games lost = 7 League Position = 2

2016/17 Goals against = 44 – Games lost = 9 League Position = 5

2017/18 Goals against = 51 – Games lost = 13 League Position = 6

 

Average goals against = 43.3   Average Games lost = 7.8 Average League Position = 3.7

 

As before, I then showed the comparison between the two eleven seasons and here they are below:

 

1996/97 Goals against 32 Games lost = 8 League Position = 3

1997/98 Goals against 33 Games lost = 6 League Position = 1

1998/99 Goals against 17 Games lost = 4 League Position = 2

1999/00 Goals against 43 Games lost = 9 League Position = 2

2000/01 Goals against 38 Games lost = 8 League Position = 2

2001/02 Goals against 36 Games lost = 3 League Position = 1

2002/03 Goals against 42 Games lost = 6 League Position = 2

2003/04 Goals against 26 Games lost = 0 League Position = 1

2004/05 Goals against 36 Games lost = 5 League Position = 2

2005/06 Goals against 31 Games lost = 11 League Position = 4

2006/07 Goals against 35 Games lost = 8 League Position = 4

 

Average goals against = 33.5 Average Games lost = 6.2 Average League Position = 2.2

 

So, we can see quite clearly that the three averages (GA – Games lost – League Positions) bear out the facts that AW’s second tenure (as broken down) was better in every area, so what was the reasons?

 

Well, if we are to be completely fair in our assessments, there are some major facts that can go towards explaining this and here they are:

 

  1. The building of the Emirates.
  2. The need to sell our best players to help finance the building of said Emirates.
  3. The introduction of Stanley Kroenke.
  4. The sacking of David Dein.
  5. The Russian roubles buying Chelsea.
  6. The oil magnate buying City.
  7. The three PL wins, including our Invincible season, where of course we went unbeaten.

 

All of the seven above were major issues that affected our club in the second term under AW, as seen by some as the “barren years” or “the lost decade” and I really don’t think any sensible supporter or fan could argue with any of the seven points.

 

However, there is one area that Arsene was to blame and that was his failure to correct the defensive issues after 2008/09… or is it?

Take a look at the 12/13 – 14/15 – 1/16 seasons and compare them with the 99/00 – 00/01 – 02/03 seasons and you can see that the former three seasons saw a total of 109 goals against us, compared with 123 for the three latter seasons!!!

 

In fact, if we take away the last two Wenger years, where a total of 95 goals were scored against us, you will see quite a different picture emerging.

 

HOWEVER, this is not a! whitewashing” of Arsene Wenger’s defensive tactics and we only have to look at some of the players he brought in to try and improve on his Invincible defence. Players like:

 

Almunia, Djourou, Fabianski, Eboue, Frimpong, Jenkins, Kolasinac, Luzhny, Mustafi, Senderos, Silvestre, Squillaci, Vivas, R. Wright, to name some of the players who, while I supported them when they were wearing our shirt, they were not of the calibre of the Invincibles or GG’s defensive team.

Honest, hardworking players who have been branded as “dross” and I think that is such an awful thing to say about any of our players – not up to the standards required, but never “dross”.

 

Not only that, but he also seemed to ignore defensive midfield players, when we were used to the likes of Parlour, Petit, Gilberto and Vieira – although it had to be nigh on impossible to replace the last two.

We had some very good defensive midfield players, Song, Flamini for example, but Arsene never really got to grips with the defensive side of his team after creating the Invincibles – but I guess that is why there has only been one Invincible team in over a century!!!

 

I sat through many of the games when we were completely overwhelmed at the back and that has to be down to Arsene Wenger and the players he brought in to do that job.

 

Finally, my good friend Phil (who I am sure will come up with other names I have missed) said that Arsene inherited “one of the finest defences ever assembled in English football” and those of us lucky enough to have seen GG’s perfectly drilled defence of Seaman. Dixon, Adams, Bould and Winterburn, would agree 100%…however and to just show that circumstances can effect even that formidable back five, in the season 94/95, we let in 49 goals and lost 17 games and finished 12th in the league.

 

We must also remember that it was Arsene Wenger’s defence of Lehman, Lauren, Touré, Campbell and Cole that made up the Invincibles – surely, they were THE finest defence ever assembled in English football, simply because they were part of the said Invincible team?!?!

 

ken1945

 

All facts from (Yes I know!!!) The Official Handbook 2018/19 – No spinning whatsoever!!!

63 Comments

  1. Davi says:

    Very well balanced review. Really like the point about the inherited defence vs the Invincibles defence – point isn’t made enough that Wenger put that together and the old guard, while undoubtedly brilliant weren’t going to guarantee success without a strong team around them

  2. gotanidea says:

    Those stats in his last two seasons made us finish outside top four. I believe Wenger preferred to manage unpopular and young players, than expensive superstars

    1. Kedar says:

      He never get funds to secure 3-4 superstars signings in a single transfer window..
      I am sure things would have been different if would have had the same budget which likes of Jose and Lampard and Pép got when they were managing, Chelsea, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich
      One can’t win PL with the signings of Squillaci, Eboue, Almunia, Kolasinac
      I still remember he had to wait for year to sign Chamakh as a free agent, why?? Because Arsenal was not going to pay 6 Millions GBP to sign a player who is in final year of his contract
      You can’t expect to replace Fabregas with Arteta..
      You can’t expect to control midfield with likes of Diaby and Denilson playing as CM
      I am pretty sure he might have won much more if he would got budget likes of Jose l, Lampard and Pep..

      1. gotanidea says:

        Kroenke gave him big transfer budget, but he just bought few 30+ M players like Xhaka, Mustafi, Ozil, Sanchez, Lacazette and Aubameyang. I don’t have proofs for my assumption, but I think he’s made a huge mistake by selling Giroud

        1. durand says:

          At the time the club had to sell Giroud in order to Bring in Auba. For me it was a no-brainer; top scoring striker always in the top of league for scoring goals, or keeping Giroud who never scored 20 PL goals and having no competition for ST position.

          Giroud stated he didn’t want to be a backup, and preferred the starts so he could keep his gig with French national team.

          Worked out well for all I would say. Would have loved to kept Giroud as plan B off the bench, but don’t blame him for leaving, he earned the right to make the decision to leave if he chose.

          1. gotanidea says:

            Unfortunately our league position isn’t getting any better after signing Aubameyang

          2. durand says:

            First year Auba was tied for the Golden Boot, 2nd year lost to Vardy by 1 goal.

            Giroud never a sniff of golden boot.

            As for blaming Auba for the “team’s” position, okay then Let’s blame Giroud for us never winning CL as he was the striker.

            Or blame Giroud for us never winning a title while he lead the line.

            Foolish to hang league position on a single player, a single manager perhaps, but to hang team results or position on one player is just foolish utterly wrong and misguided. You are far more knowledgeable than this.

      2. Goonster says:

        Wenger was well compensated throughout. He was under achieving while getting paid about £8 million a year like the likes of Fergie, Mourinho, Ancelotti etc.

        He was absolutely living it easy. No pressure whatsoever to win anything. Just finish 4th and get paid £8 million a year.
        No wonder he did not want to leave. It was an Easy lifestyle if you asked me. He had become so comfortable to just about keep hold 4th place for the majority of the time from 2005-2017.

        Again, the amount of power, control and leeway he was afforded contributed a lot to our current jokeness.

        1. ken1945 says:

          You see, just another little misinformation that Goonster dropped in…. “just about able to keep hold of fourth place from 2005 to 2017.”

          From those dates, we finished 2nd twice / finished 3rd four times /finished 4th six times…. so actually Goonster it was half of the time that we were in fourth place, but you keep on trying to twist history and I’ll keep on proving you wrong.

          Once again, you also make the £8,000,000 a year salary claim and I asked how you know this?
          Are you on the board or employed by the taxman, or his agent perhaps?
          Because, apart from those mentioned, no one has a clue what he received or the others you mentioned come to that.

          Just in case you might be correct what do you think the club received just for qualifying for the CL each season??
          It has been claimed that every one of his seasons salary was paid for by being in the CL, along with some very handy loose change.

    2. Logic says:

      Wenger’s haters are as stubborn as Wenger him self they will never admit what a fan job he did even through his so called dark years. No need to contest the proof is Infront of us all, look where we are since Wenger left. All this bullshxt about EPL being more competitive and having weak team, ppl forget Chelsea, city and Liverpool were bought by billionaires in Wenger’s era not after him and he still managed to keep us up there also we have spend way more money since he departed then what we spent under him if you take 3-4 years time bracket. So Arteta supporters need to stop saying our team is worst in years and competition is all of way way higher then what it was before….stop making excuse for failures of an unproven manager by downplaying achievements of a proven manager.

      1. ozziegunner says:

        Logic, who “hates” Arsene Wenger?

    3. Logic says:

      It was not a reply to anyone just ended up under other comment by mistake.

      1. Goonster says:

        So anyone that criticises a given fan favourite becomes an instant hater? It’s alright to criticise the majority of our players and managers. Everyone joins in when a particular type of player or manager is criticised. But the moment my dear / favourite manager or player is given even the most benign criticism, the emotions, sensitivity and “you HATERS” commments start to fly about.

        😊

        1. Kenny says:

          You should apply for Arsenal manager if you think you are better than Arsene. I believe you are no body, talk only but no action.

  3. ThirdManJW says:

    What’s very interesting that on the Ken’s list of 7 things that affected Wenger’s second term (which I agree on), he’s missed out on probably the number one problem…Wenger moving away from a successful tactical system. Either its yet more spin from Ken, or he’s had a sudden memory blank on this issue?

    When it comes to Wenger, Ken’s always wearing his rose-tinted glasses, so its hardly surprising this major fact has conveniently been left out, as Wenger, and only Wenger was responsible for the change in the way we play. Watch games of Arsenal early on under Wenger, compared to his latter years, to see the huge difference.

    We went from a solid, balanced, aggressive, counter-attacking team, using tall, powerful, athletic players – to a change in formation, smaller and weaker passive players, possession based football, with a huge emphasis on technical ability, and versatility (which translates to an unbalanced team).

    I have no issue with a manager changing his tactics, types of players he signed, but it did seem strange, given how successful his initial system was, and even more baffling as to why Wenger did not revert back to his old winning system, given the huge failure of his Barcelona light Tiki-taka experiment.

    Like I said, I agree with a lot of what Ken has said, but that tactical fact should be included…if we’re talking about facts!

    1. durand says:

      I’m no Wenger expert and not here to defend Ken, but rather to try and perhaps answer your question.

      I think Wenger saw the game differently than most, and that influenced his approach. He always speaks of the “beautiful game,” the “poetry,” the “artistic” ability of the players to express themselves on the pitch.

      He wanted his teams to entertain, to be a reflection of the “beauty” he saw and appreciated in the game. The quick passing, the one touch, walking the ball into the net, these aspects that wowed the crowds.

      He chose to try and shape the club closer to his heart’s desire, rather than the crashing together of bodies, the physical maelstrom that the English league was.

      I do miss his style of football, the beautiful symmetry, the free flowing artistic play that hypnotized crowds around the world. For me, it is a real tragedy he could not find the balance between the two; pairing artistry with power, finesse with strength, oh what could have been.

      This is only my opinion, my poor attempt to look inside Wenger’s mind and explain how he transitioned to a way of playing football different that what he previously had.

      1. Goonster says:

        We all can appreciate his “beautiful football” philosophy.
        Your comment just illustrates why we keep saying that wenger had lost it as a serious manager. You can do all the reminiscing and wishful thinking. But the real world does not work like that. You have to go with the times. It doesn’t matter how much you loved using Coal as the main sources of fuel. Once the world turns to using oil then you have got to go with it. Once the world started moving away from fossil fuels, you have got to get with it, green renewable energy is the next stop. So you can’t keep reminiscing about them old coal or crude oil times. You have got to move with the times.

        This cockiness, delusional and wishful thinking on Wenger’s side is the reason he tainted bits and pieces of his own beautiful legacy here.

        We all have our own comfort zones and would prefer to stand on our individual values. But the world does not revolve around our personal feelings or emotions. You have got to compromise in most cases.

        Everyone is busy buying submarines, fighter-jets, ICBM’s etc while you on the other are busy buying AK47 and shotguns.

        Our wenger refused to acknowledge that football does not revolve around what he prefers individually. Hence why we were left behind.

        1. Durand says:

          I would not argue with the points you made, and I agree Wenger refused to change with the times.

          Perhaps if he compromised a bit things would have turned out differently. He chose small technical players, avoided a proper DM, and filled his team with CAM’s rather than skilled positions. For example, Walcott as a striker, Ramsey or Ozil on the wing, etc….

      2. ThirdManJW says:

        @durand

        I maybe wrong, but I’m sure I remember reading years ago that Wenger changed everything to build around Fabregas’s style, and Wenger also didn’t think he could play in a two man midfield.

        Wenger certainly got the best out of Cesc, but the team suffered massively because of the changes in my opinion. Wenger made us too soft for the EPL, and it showed.

    2. ozziegunner says:

      TMJW, I agree totally with your third last paragraph. The fear factor with Arsenal started to dissipate, until now it has totally disappeared.
      Wenger’s early teams, including the Invincibles could play you off the park, or if that’s not the way you wanted to play ie not a game of skill) could get down, play hard and bash you off the park.

  4. Dan kit says:

    The defences of Campbell and Toure against adams and bould would be a no contest who I would rather have ,Campbell being the best CB I have seen at the club and top 3 best in PL history and with the Pacey Toure next to him they were formidable for around the 5 years they played together ,also bearing in mind that Campbell was a free and Toure cost 150k,that’s our average players weekly wage these days .
    Yes Wenger inherited a great defence but he also went one better and took that defence to new heights and built it for a pittance

    Campbell-free
    Toure-150k
    Lehman- 3 m
    Lauren -9m
    Cole -youth

    One of the finest defences ever seen in the PL all for about 12 m.

    1. Peter Benson says:

      That defense also hold the record for the least goal conceded in single UCL campaign by a team that featured in a UCL final.
      No other UCL finalist have broken their record.

      1. Highbury Hero says:

        They also hold the record for most consecutive clean sheets in champions league history. No other UCL finalist have broken their record

    2. jon fox says:

      Campbell only played for us for 4 NOT 5 SEASONS AND TOURE COST £500K NOT £150K. I see the Invincibles defence as markedly INFERIOR to the famous back four from George Grahams day , inherited by Wenger. As for money, the Graham back four was far cheaper to build but that is beside the real and relevant point

      I QUESTION WHETHER YOU ARE OLD ENOUGH TO HAVE SEEN ADAMS AND BOULD IN THEIR PEAK ERA.

      1. Dan kit says:

        Well Jon yes I was seeing I’m 41 years old ,(do your own maths )
        If you believe adams and bould to be better than Campbell and Toure then I would have to question your football knowledge buddy .
        Football completed changed in the early 2000s and has good as GG defence was I don’t belive they could have kept up with the new pace of the league

        Campbell joined in 2001 -2006 = 5 years and also rejoined in 2010 I believe so not sure where you got 4 years from

        Toure signed for 150k or 167k depending on if you go do youre research properly ,not sure why your splitting hairs over the odd few thousand.

        I QUESTION WHETHER YOU ARE YOUNG ENOUGH TO REMEMBERED THE INVINCIBLES

        1. jon fox says:

          SO YOU WERE ONLY AROUND NINE WHEN THAT BEST EVER DEFENCE OF OURS WAS AT ITS PEAK. Just as I thought!. QED!

          1. Dan kit says:

            Ah yes a nine year old can’t remember his favourite football teams players growing up being obsessed with football ,would say their peek would have been 93 anyway seeing they only started playing together in 88 I’m not sure they peaked 1 year later ,but there you go I’m not an argumentative prat am I .

          2. ken1945 says:

            Jon, please explain your “markedly inferior” quote.

            I would change just two players from the Invincible over GG’s defence.
            David Seaman over Jens Lehman and Tony Adams over Toure… but JL and KT would be in my squad in a heartbeat.

            The facts that fans on JA come out with, warms my heart (Peter Benson and HH) and I am sure you will acknowledge that Dan kit Can remember things at the age of 9…you have often told about your early memories.

  5. Stephanie says:

    Wenger stubbornly didn’t want to get good defensive midfielders. He even said that he didn’t believe in getting defensive minded midfielders.

    This is what separates him from Sir Alex and many others

    When you focus on attack you will let goals in

    1. Chris King says:

      I’m pretty sure this is false.

      Besides, Arsene had an eye for attacking talent. Nobody remembers the board rejecting Arsene’s request for a certain £16 million french 15 year-old attacker. That french attacker went on to win the world cup and his name is Mbappe.

      Fans were so furious blaming Wenger for not spending money and this allowed Gazidis (thanks for nothing) takeover the signing of players. We got Lucas Perez the year Arsene wanted Lacazette (that was Lacazette’s best season of his career). There was the 40 million and 1 pound scandal. We sold Giroud for no reason when Lacazette wasn’t getting in the team. And finally he hired Emery right before ditching Arsenal for Roma when he realised that our finances were taking a hit due to the absence of Wenger to guarantee profit season after season.

      Do you really expect me to believe that Arsene wanted Xhaka ahead of French international, PL team of the season, PL winning, most tackles, most interceptions, best defensive stats in PL Ngolo Kante?

      Gazidis has just hired Mourinho at Roma after he was fire by Tottenham. That tells you everything about the man.

      Wenger was not stubborn, he was a victim of his own capability. He had bosses who were enjoying his hard work without investing in the team. Living in fantasy land that all they needed to do was let him coach average players and blame him when they don’t win anything.

    2. ken1945 says:

      Stephanie, could you give a reference to that quote please?
      Thanks.

  6. ken1945 says:

    Thanks Davi – one thing I did notice was the fact that I had inadvertently said the second term was better in every area!!!!!
    Of course, it was the opposite!!!!

  7. Phil says:

    @Ken1265- once again a brilliantly compiled article that shows the FACTS that are indisputable, however the REALITY is a different story altogether.
    While your facts are not questioned, what is indisputable is the simple reality that AW failed dismally in the last 6-8 years of his tenure, and not all of this is down to the reasons you have suggested. We bought some very bad players, at a time when finances was very tight. Mustafi for £35m against Jonny Evans, who is still performing very very well for Leicester would have cost us £7m. Allowing a very talented Schezney to go, when a disciplined approach was needed, and recruiting a fast fading Petr Cech on huge wages. Other teams proved you could still but talent at good value, ( Leicester City) but Wenger was responsible for recruitment and never learned.
    So Ken, while your facts are never to be questioned, and FOUR FA Cup wins were a very welcome reward, the reality is we went backwards in league position, European challenges, and this is mainly due to poor recruitment and very poor coaching and management.

    1. jon fox says:

      To Phil (and to Ken who I hope will be reading this post). I concur with every word in Phils post What he says shows that mere stats alone, even when accurately used, as in KENS DILIGENT ARTICLE, can and often do give a false picture.
      TBH no proper fan needs stats to tell him or her that Wengers last several years were a mssive regression on his glory decade. Kens reasons are all pertinent . But I think what was NOT mentioned is of more importance and that is that Wenger abandoned his pursuit of powerful, tall players in favour of skinny ball playing but often physically frail players and that sheer physical and,it must be said, MENTAL difference caused a massive slide in both determination and in staying free from injury.

      Simplu put, I believe thatWenger altered , for the worse, what he had done so successfully in that first decade and became a disciple of tippy tappy football a la Barca but had not the players to make it work, with a few exceptions.

      I’d like to see a comparison in height, weight and player character and determination between the first and last decade.*

      That would show us the marked difference and would show the TRUE reasons for the slump between his glory decade and his last decade.
      (* I of course realise that such a comparison is impossible to research now).

      1. ken1945 says:

        But Jon, the heights, weights etc are just stats aren’t they?
        Would you say that Cazorla or Fabregas were hindered by their height?
        Your personal appraisal of a player’s character is just that… your opinion.
        Your allegiance with Phil at the moment, completely differed with regards to a certain UE, MO and MA wouldn’t you say?

    2. AndersS says:

      Some facts are overlooked, though.
      The fact is, Arsenal have only been outspent by Man C and Man U over the past 10 years.
      So despite, Wenger actually did have funds to spend, he didn’t manage to make us competitive. Instead we started a slide in his later years. And the numbers above actually do show, our problem was mainly defensively, yet most transfer money were spent on attackers.
      In contrast to a club like Liverpool, who had defensive issues. They sold arguably their best player, Coutinho, and used the money to strengthen defensively with Van Dijk.

  8. Grandad says:

    Another well compiled article Ken.Without going into a lengthy debate on why we are now a mediocre mid table side, I think Phil is correct when he cites poor recruitment as one of the primary reasons for our decline.Even the best coaches cannot turn water into wine so I feel poor recruitment is a classic symptom of mis management which has unfortunately been evident during the past decade.My main concern for the future ,at least in the short term, surrounds my doubts as to the calibre of Edu and what appears to be a penny pinching scouting set up driven by relationships with certain agents who are mainly interested in lining their own pockets.I hope I am proved wrong.

    1. ken1945 says:

      Grandad and Phil, I don’t disagree with your comments regarding recruitment’s… the proof is in the pudding as they say.
      I tend to disagree with Phil’s point regarding coaching and management, simply because despite the bad recruitment process by AW, he was still able to maintain top four etc etc.

      As I have ALWAYS said, AW wasn’t a Saint by any means, but looking back at the claims made, he is being judged by a false narrative – the goals scored proved that point.

      Having enjoyed doing this, if the majority of fans on JA would like it, I’m prepared to do a breaks of AW’s results versus City, pool, Chelsea, Utd and spuds… let me know.

  9. Goonster says:

    Who are we comparing wenger too here? Is it Arteta, Emery or the likes of Fergie, Mourinho, Ancelotti, Conte, Pepe etc?

    I just love it when people just come up with stats like we all weren’t here since 2005.
    I was a “Arsene Knows Best” until 2015. But to try to convince ourselves that he had not gone stale / stagnant etc is wishful thinking. He over stayed here, stayed too long and left us struggling in 5th then 6th. The trend was clear for anyone to see.

    We were a very poorly organised side, hence why we struggler since the invincibles. We played some of the most beautiful football I have ever seen between 2005-2010. But defensively compared to all the other serious club we were an easy team to beat.

    Time to move on. Stats out of context are a joke. It’s like possession, shots taken, passes completed etc. Meaningless out of context.

    This reminds me of the Ozil Stats monsters era.

    Wenger had become a joke before he was sacked.

    1. jon fox says:

      Goonster Well said, esp on the over reliance by so many on stats alone. Properly and sensibly used, in context, stats DO have a place. But so many, who are mostly young and unthinking at a serious level, prefer to trot out stats as if they are definite proof.

      They never are such proof. They are merely a guide, though often an unreliable one and are merely one of many tools that an experienced and wise fan uses to get to the real and correct picture.

      1. Goonster says:

        It’s flipping tiring. Since about 2010 when this stat nonsense was made available to all of us armchair managers, pundits and amateur statisticians. You can never have a serious conversation with anyone nowadays without them pulling the “But this and that Stat” says otherwise..
        This out of context stats thing went overboard the moment Ozil moved here. “But this stat and that stats. But this and that stats says he is doing us a favour even being at Arsenal”.

        We have lost our sense of personal interpretation of football. It was much nicer back in the olden days when your own eyes in each game was the best way to go.
        But since 2010, Stats monsters galore. We have turned into lazy robots that just spew out “computer generated talking points.

        You watch Mustafi absolutely having nightmares nearly each game. But then at the end of the season the STATS show that he was one of the best Defenders in the EPL. And I remember even on this site, an article was posted that confirmed that Mustafi was one of the top EPL defenders since he moved to Arsenal, something like that.

        We saw how wenger was absolutely struggling to maintain 4th place for the majority of his second half as Arsenal manager. We became a 4th place is a trophy club since 2006. For more than 10 years 4th place had become some sort of trophy. Each and every season you knew where we would up. Just making up numbers in the EPL and CL. The whole think had become so predictable, stale and stagnant. Even 4th place had become too difficult for Wenger in his last seasons. We finished 5th and 6th consecutively but we still have revisionists digging for irrelevant out of context stats just to sooth their nebulous wenger love.

        Most of us still respect wenger, we have a very soft for him in our hearts. But what some of us won’t do is to be told how amazing wenger was for the second part his time as our manager. I was one of those that kept deluding myself that wenger would stop his stubbornness and try to get with the times. Football was moving so fast but our wenger always kept deluding himself that he could remain stale and everything will work out.

        Just thinking about his stubbornness back then get me all frustrated. We had such good players in the Cesc era, each and everyone (Pundits, former managers, ex players, us fans etc) all kept asking for 3 positions to be strengthened. A commanding CB, a commanding DM and a mature experienced Keeper. Seriously I felt like we were so close with that Cesc era team. Just better signing in key position and it could have worked for us.

        But as always wenger would regurgitate his tired catchphrase “We have a good squad. We still have RVP, Rosicky, Diaby, Wilshere, Vamaelen to come back from injury. We will only sign players that we believe will improve us”.

        “We will only sign players that we believe will improve us.”..
        But with all that rhetoric, we were constantly struggling to hold on to 4th place each season.

        Don’t even make me cite the Ozil stats monsters

        Don’t even remind me of that time. It just irritates and frustrates the life out of me.

      2. ken1945 says:

        Unless, of course, the stats back your views up, eh Jon?
        Of course, this exercise was about how Arsene Wenger hadn’t got a defence, despite the fact that he finished in the top four etc etc, it was about the number of goals conceded during his tenure as our manager.
        Like it or not Jon, the goals against show a small difference between his first eleven years and his second.

        Yesterday you were willing to discuss such figures…. now that it seems those figures are not supporting your views, they become irrelevant?

        So tell me Jon, are you also saying that the league positions are not relevant and could we then argue that, in actual fact, we were PL champions from 1998 to 2018, just because we don’t like the facts and they don’t tell us what went on during the season?

  10. David Rusa says:

    Ken never tire to confront people with facts because that is the only way you can prove your point beyond reasonable doubt. Only intellectual cowards fear to face facts! If you don’t use verifiable data how else will you resolve disagreements? Through mysticism, sorcery, wishful thinking or what? I feel it is honourable to accept facts when they are presented to you because they are independent of our likes, dislikes, needs, desires and other subjective issues.
    It is very erroneous to just argue for the sake of it without any intention to learn from the argument and correct your earlier held wrong views. It is wise people who change their opinions when they are presented with facts that contradict their belief. Those who lack wisdom will persist in their ignorance and will never learn anything knew!

    1. ken1945 says:

      Again David I thank you.

      What I find so puzzling with regards to Jon’s apparent dismissal of both goals for and against, is that they actually happened!!!!

      One could argue about how they came about, but the FACT is that all the goals were scored, recorded, decided matches and have become part of our history.

  11. The-Real-Vieira-Lynn-4ever says:

    Ken, all you have to ask yourself is do you even think Wenger himself would agree with what your hypothesizing? Even with his abject stubbornness and propensity to always positively skew anything Arsenal-related, I very much doubt he would be so obtuse as to try and compare these two distinctly different eras…well, at least, privately…as we both know, if this question was posed in a public forum, he would likely agree with your sentiments to appease both his inflated, albeit fragile, ego and those within the fanbase who still want to desperately believe that he’s somehow infallible…so even though I enjoyed your more balanced approach in this article, it matters little, as these numbers, like the one’s provided yesterday, fail the all important “eye test”…at least we still have our admiration for Dein in common

    1. ken1945 says:

      What have I “hypothesised about?
      The goals for and against, the games lost and the league positions are all factual and provable… one just needs to take the time to check them out.
      I have given my opinion on these facts… based on these facts… plain and simple.

      1. The-Real-Vieira-Lynn-4ever says:

        So, let me get this straight…you’re actually suggesting that you had no agenda whatsoever when you chose to provide this easily accessible information? If that was the case, you probably could have saved yourself a lot of time and energy by simply letting any potentially interested parties know where they could find these “facts” without any of the subsequent editorializing…btw I know someone who would definitely agree with me in all of these matters, David Dein

        1. ken1945 says:

          First of all, I agree with you that these facts are easily accessible buy it was YOU who claimed that they were wrong, when stating that the goals had dried up during Wenger’s latter years – you seem to have forgotten that!!!

          So, as they were easily accessible, why did you make a false statement?
          I believe that it was YOU who had the agenda and I just showed you were wrong.

          Now on to David Dein – have you taken the time to find out what he has said about Arsene Wenger?
          The man, his character, his style of play, what he brought and gave to The Arsenal?
          It’s easy to source and I suggest you go and find out more, before telling me who you know.
          Come back when you have read what he has said about AW, or even better, why not include it in your article?
          You could add it as a footnote, as said article has, we are told, been ready for a while…..

          1. The-Real-Vieira-Lynn-4ever says:

            I’m just glad to know that I’m such an inspirational figure in your life…the only truly tragic part of this whole endeavour is that you had a perfect opportunity to provide a more balanced narrative regarding the whole Wenger saga, yet instead, and much like the unbalanced tactical naivety of our former manager, you simply stayed the all-too-familiar course and attempted once again to defend the largely indefensible…as such, this could only result in one misguided conclusion, that an exceedingly large contingency of fans and almost every pundit alive were all wrong when it came to their assessment of Wenger’s latter years in charge…now of course not everyone arrived at the same conclusion at the same time, but when the dust settled a pretty overwhelming consensus had been formed

          2. The-Real-Vieira-Lynn-4ever says:

            on a side note, I would be interested to know who, if all rostered players were available, you would start in today’s EL semi…please include your preferred formation…Cheers

          3. ken1945 says:

            You see, once again you try to ignore the factual evidence (which as you rightly say is easy to access, but which you choose to ignore) and go on about my views and opinions!!
            As you seem reluctant to find out exactly what David Dein said about Arsene, here are some of his quotes for you to digest :

            “A star has dropped out of the sky… His legacy will last forever and he has made his mark on English football.
            His legacy will be for global football, his style of play, the way he has conducted himself, his integrity, his honesty, the way he has handled players, what he has done for the club is immeasurable, he will go down as the greatest Arsenal manager ever, we’ve built a fantastic training ground, sensational stadium. – it was all on the back of the Invincible team of 2003/04 that we managed to get financing for the stadium.”

            Now I know you will use these in you upcoming article, as they are the words of a man we both respect and I, personally, have more time for him, than any media reporter or fan who thinks he knows better than David Dein… wouldn’t you agree?

          4. The-Real-Vieira-Lynn-4ever says:

            come on Ken, we both know that Dein was simply coming to the defence of a man that was facing considerable criticism and was on his way out…good on him for delivering a “glowing tribute” to a close friend at a time when some feared that the increasing toxicity might tarnish his legacy…as you surely noticed, most of his comments were directed at Wenger’s accomplishments leading up to the the building of the Emirates, which is so savvy in that he was likewise giving kudos to himself for having the foresight to bring a relatively unknown manager to North London…furthermore, he made sure to make the all-too-familiar claims about how all the big clubs were so desirous to acquire his services, of course we all know how that panned out…btw, where’s your lineup response?

          5. ken1945 says:

            It really isn’t worth debating with you, when you don’t even respect the honesty of David Dein.

  12. Joe. S says:

    Reading the above comments, I think the biggest set back for Arsenal was losing Ashley Cole. It was a stroke of genius by Chelsea to pinpoint him and stupidity by Arsene to allow it to happen. Compared to what we have now Clichy was a great full back but Cole was a once in a generation player. I have never seen so many masterclass performances as those which he produced in Chelsea’s run to the European Champions league, particularly against Barcelona and Bayern the two best teams of their era. He is definitely a future candidate for the hall of fame, whatever that means.

    1. ken1945 says:

      Agree 100% Joe. S…. yet again it was all down to money and we lost, probably, the best LB ever to wear the shirt… at least in my lifetime.

  13. Jah son says:

    Ken just keep on schooling them.

    1. ken1945 says:

      👍👍👍

  14. David Braithwaite says:

    The latter Wenger years clearly indicate a failure to appreciate a players worth. The fact that Wenger “tried” and failed to sign Kante is one of the worse things ever. The fact Wenger indicated that he “tried” twice is even worse. Money was undoubtedly a factor by the time Kanye went to Chelsea but “stats” have also been quoted to suggest that Xhaka is the better footballer. I feel that for a long time Wenger had lost much of the ability to judge a player’s potential value to a team.

    1. ken1945 says:

      But if he tried twice to sign him, how can you say he lost the potential to judge a players value to the team?

      1. David Braithwaite says:

        The point about value relates to how much you are willing to pay for that player. Arsenal paid ~ 35 million for a player like Mustafi. Leicester paid ~ 6 million for Kante after Arsenal “tried” to sign him.
        Arsene no doubt recognised Kolo was a good player but his valuation of him was questionable.

  15. AndersS says:

    @Ken
    Correct me, if I am wrong.

    First of all I read your stats as we in the seasons from 98/99 up to and including 2006/2007 had an average of 33,5 goals against, whereas we in the seasons from 2007/08 up to and including 2016/17 had an average of 43,3 against.
    Doesn’t that in itself prove our defensive record dropped dramatically? !0 goals a season on average?

    But IMO there is a serious flaw in your stats. You have included only 9 seasons in the fort par and 11 in the second.
    If you instead make it 10 seasons in each, it will actually mean 2007/08 will be included in the first half and not in the second, and as it is actually the season with only 31 goals against, it would mean a significant change:
    The first 10 years from 98/99 will have an average goals against of 33,5.
    But the following decade would show 44,6 against. More than 11 goals worse in Wenger’s last 10 years.

    1. ken1945 says:

      No Anders, both groups have eleven seasons each and they are divided thus, because that is when a section of fans believe AW should have left – the 2007/08 season.

      As far as the average is concerned, I did say that all three were better in the first section – GA / Games lost / League position… but we DID score more goals during the second section.

      1. AndersS says:

        I apologize. There are 11 in each, as you say.

        I am not aware the 2007/08 is exactly where some fans think AW should have left or should have been let go.
        But i is my belief, he stayed too long, or was allowed to stay too long, and I think the signs were there at least the last 6-7 years.

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