Today’s Arsenal players just don’t have the balls of the Invincibles

The Complexities Of Arsenal’s Situation by Neil Watson

For all the armchair experts that throw their opinions into the ring it’s worth adhering to the old saying ‘two ears, one mouth’…..

Today I’m finishing off the last few pages of Ray Parlour’s book ‘The Romford Pele’… I recently read Perry Groves autobiography and in the past also read Ian Wright’s and Tony Adams….in all of them they talk about Wenger and his revolutionary methods of training, preparation and attitude. They all speak glowingly about him in terms to his approach to how we play and how the players are offered the freedom to express themselves.

The above mentioned players were not the finest group to tread the Highbury pitch yet were part of the most successful team the club has ever had and all playing for the same manager we have now.

I think there is certainly scope to criticise Wenger and how the results have been over the last few seasons but in turn you have to look at the personnel that turn out for us. There isn’t one player in our squad, aside from Jack, who has the mettle to be in that squad of Invincibles.

It boils down to attitude. As Ray Parlour discusses what happened after Peter Reid tried to entice him to sign for Sunderland and double his wages for 40k a week, Wenger got wind of it and gave Ray a 10k pay rise. There was no agent intervention, Ray was chuffed and just signed it. All the players had the same mentality.

The game is in free fall now, Sanchez 500k a week, De Gea now wanting 350k a week to renew his deal, even Ozil doubling his own weekly to 350k.

The mentality of the players now is so distorted by agents and money and very little to do with playing the game. That’s not Wenger’s fault, that’s just the evolution of the game and he’s not moved with it.

The common theme that runs through all of the autobiographies of players from our past is that the club meant the world to them. Aside from Jack, who in our current crop honestly gives a shit if they play for Arsenal and what that means? Not one of them because if things don’t work out their agents will simply move them onto to another club where they’ll be paid exorbitant money for doing very little.

It’s tragic. Yet as fans we demand these high profile signings, the latest European tabloid darling to grace the sports back pages.

What is even more sad is so few kids come through the youth academies because players arrive from all over the world desperate to get their hands, not on the iconic red and white jersey, but the salary that comes with being a pro footballer in the prem. Definitely British kids don’t desire it enough to work their way into the game but that’s a totally separate social argument.

When I watched the game today I felt all the pain and disappointment you all felt. How pathetic the fight was and then I remember something Ray said about the Invincibles. ‘We knew how to mix it up, if teams took liberties or tried to outmuscle us, we would give it back to them twice as hard.’ That comes with desire and passion.

The sad truth, despite us having some very talented players in our squad (Ozil, Ramsay, Aubameyang, Bellerin, Lacazette….) they just don’t want it enough and, by enough I mean, By Any Means Necessary.

When they cross that line on match day it’s down to 11 individuals against 11. Wenger, and all the other managers, work is done and the players take on the responsibility. It’s down to them if they are prepared to run that extra bit harder, track that run, put their head in where the boots are flying.

Sadly our boys just don’t have the balls for the fight and a managerial change won’t change that.

Neil Watson


  1. Mentioning this team and the Invincibles in the same sentence is a disgrace to the deepest reserve players who played in that team.

      1. What United paid for Pogma was the biggest waste of money in the transfer market for years and you would give £120, million to get them out of trouble. Are you mad?

    1. Nooo, Xhaka, Ramsey, Mustafi, Chambers, Bellerin… they are all soooo gooood.
      They are still heros for some fans, and bloody Wenger is still an icon!
      Until there will be people filling the Emirates, no, wrong, buying season tickets (Board dont care if someone is attending as long the seats are paid for) despite having Wenger and this lovely handsome players in the club… will be weak as yesterday.

  2. Neil Watson nice article.

    but i think we can all agree that ARSENE WENGER is the problem.
    if this players lack fight..
    then why does ramsey shine for wales,xhaka for switzerland,giroud for france,ozil for germany…..

    thats the problem from 2008-2018.
    and it will still be the problem in 2025 if he still remains.

    1. Not just him, we need to change the spine of the team… CB DM and Ramsey to the Stoke!
      Iwobi back to youth team.

  3. Seriously Neil Watson? How is it not Wenger’s fault? It’s your damn responsibility as a manager to try and up the morale, the motivation of your players if you see that it’s going down. Even if he did it, it’s clearly not working and a change is needed. Perhaps the players no longer want to play for him and that itself is a big problem. Stop siding Wenger really. Arsenal isn’t an old folks’ home. Time to go Wenger. So hoping we screw this season up and he goes.

  4. its all time to go …..time to go home and take a chill pill…

    City up next in 3 days….

    monreal is out, with Mikhi back for selection…Ramsay fitter and Wilshere slightly recharged….

    expect us to lose by 2 goals

  5. Neil I echo your sentiments and in particular your concerns regarding the influence of the maggots of the game, namely the agents.They are destroying football for the man in the street and there will come a time when the ordinary can will finally say enough is enough. Until we cease to buy our season tickets,which for many is akin to taking out a second mortgage, the ludicrous salaries paid to players and Managers will continue to increase.With regard to the present crop of Arsenal players some may lack the guts and determination of the ex players you mention but at the end of the day the problem at the club now is a lack of quality particularly through the spine of the team.Virtually all our fans recognise the need for quality in Goal, at Centre Back and DM.Unfortunately the one man who is in a position to do something about it does not seem to agree with us.

  6. Oh look, another article quickly written to deflect everything from Arsene’s shortcomings. Strong-willed players make managers task easier, TRUE.

    If the players are not strong-willed characters with big ballsacks like Zlatan, who’s job is it to motivate them, make them BELIEVE again, fire them up?

    Or put it in another way:

    Just lost to Östersunds Pub Team at HOME. 3 days until Cup final. Arsenal manager Simeone/Allegri/Any manager with passion, gives them the verdict about the just lost match and tells them how to tackle next Wembley match against City.

    Do you honestly believe players like Ramsey, Özil and Xhaka would’ve been walking and jogging at Wembley pitch, with someone like Allegri shouting at them on the sidelines? ABSOLUTELY NOT.

    Özil keeps strolling on the pitch when we are losing and puts in a sicknote so he can go to a festival because he knows he will be allowed to. He knows he won’t be shouted at for doing so. He knows he won’t be confronted about that by the manager.

    Wenger allows the players to act like they act, because he’s weak and spineless himself. Wenger can’t manage himself out of a paper bag.

    1. I think perhaps you misunderstood my point. I am totally in support of Wenger going and being past his sell by date BUT my point is echoing the sentiment of Ray Parlour which is you’ve got to be up for the fight. The manager can’t give you that. The most talented player in the world is useless if he gets clobbered in the first 30 seconds and then bottles it. It’s all about desire and bottle. Nobody messed with Vieira, Adams, Keown and got away with it. I would rather have seen Ryan Shawcross in our back 4 every week alongside Kos than every other player we have had in recent years. Our current team are simply playing for the money and not the club. You can blame Wenger for buying them I guess….

  7. Oh and regarding this quote:

    “Sadly our boys just don’t have the balls for the fight and a managerial change won’t change that.”

    Why doesn’t our manager have BALLS for a fight? Literally all he does is:

    – complain to the referee
    – blames the referee
    – gives out the same goddamn excuses after every match: referee, cohesion, injuries, physically not ready..
    – lies to us

    Not once, NEVER ONCE has he taken the blame for a defeat, lack of tactics or fielding the wrong players. NEVER EVER has he done that.

    I am man enough to admit when I am wrong, and it takes the biggest pair of sacks to admit that. So why doesn’t our manager have balls to admit his mistakes? Why doesn’t our manager have balls to fight?

    Why are our players demanded to have such big balls when our own manager himself has a pair of pea-sized for wear?

    1. Mustafi queered out on the challenge for the first goal, not Wenger. Mustafi holding his arm up whilst watching aguero run off with the ball was Sunday morning at best. Don’t just blame Wenger :They are all culpable McLovin ;not Wenger, not Xhaka, not Ozil…..all of them. Neither the manager nor the players are up for it.

  8. Basically we’re screwed for the unforseeable….. conceding loads of goals….no one can be bothered to try…. no one is motivated…. no one is earning their money….. and the manager is sat in the dug out fiddling with his zip! The joys of being a gooner right now ?

    1. Like all good things, also all the bad things will eventually come to an end.

      There will be the day when Wenger is out of this club, and we shall all rejoice then.

      No one is bigger than Arsenal, and we will be here long after Wenger is out staining this club.

      1. I can’t wait…. this season is a total train wreck & I don’t think next season will be any better either… unless of course we have a new manager

  9. Wenger has been at Arsenal for so long.
    He is responsible for the “loosers attiude”, that is so apparent not only in the team now, but just as worringly, also seem to be grown into our youngsters.
    Do any of our youngsters show toughness, fight and a winner’s attitude?
    Wenger is also responsible for the players brought in. If we have bought players with the wrong mentality, it is his responsibility.
    You would never have seen the lack of commitment, which we now see on a regular basis, in a Ferguson team. Nor do you ever see it in any other top club (which Arsenal should and could be with another manager).

  10. i have been trying to wright a comment about the game and trying to take positives out of it but apart from getting second place medal there is nothing to celebrate about, we are fast becoming mid table team even do we have core of good players,

    time has come weather you love AW or not for the better of the club we have to work hard and get the right people in no mater the cost, we shouldn’t be after rejects from clubs we should be after their best players and to be able to get them we have to throw huge money at the clubs and one or two top players,

  11. Neil Watson has a fair point about our players not being as tough as those of yesteryear. This is, of course, merely reflecting the truth about todays pampered , “snowflake” generation which is clearly reflected right through society at all levels. The police these days are also far less brave, do not wade into trouble spots willy nilly as in decades ago. The Health and Safety brigade have done our society a deep disservice but I do not want to further pontificate politically on this site(though I frequently do elsewhere). However, this trend is massively exacerbated by this softy “I love all my boys like a Mother Hen” type manager, who constantly makes excuses for them and deflects rightful criticism ,in case it should offend their delicate ears. He treats them like little pre-school age children and is surprised when they display the weakness and lack of physical and mental toughness of young kids. Yesterday he once again refused to accept the clear truth that EVERYONE ELSE saw and once again blamed the ref for the second goal. This (and much, much more in similar vein) once more tells my worldly wise and mature brain that this man is deeply afraid of facing up to lifes reality. He is so in love with the prestige he once, rightly, had in the game and with the power the managerial position gives him to Mother his boys with love, that he is terrified and quite unable to castigate them and face up to the appalling truth. This truth is that almost all of them are so weak, so feeble in mind and in body too in some cases, that they are not , in practice, MEN at all but essentially children; talented in many cases but STILL children in essence. No other manager of a top club behaves remotely in this feeble and oddball way. They are proper, real and tough men themselves and behave as men do and expect and insist their own players do likewise. In essence this is the PRIME, among many others, fault we have with Wenger. I believe that the ONLY REAL MAN, currently at Arsenal is Jack Wilshere and surely that is obvious to anyone who has lived through many decades as I have, and who has the consequent ability to closely compare todays Wenger “snowflakes” with the likes of Frank Mc Lintock, Peter Storey, Bob Wilson and many other tough players . Men well before even George Grahams teak tough men and The Invincibles, when Wenger was still a male himself (in effect) and before he ” evolved” into a Mother Hen. To cure our club this Mother Hen NEEDS ITS NECK WRUNG, TODAY PREFERABLY and a proper , in touch with lifes and footballs reality at top level, manager installed in his place.

  12. fixing arsenal’s problems would also mean spending a ton of money. Nobody in the midfield should be starting besides Ozil, a player who cant even get it up for a big game. Defense, personnel doesn’t matter as long as coaching doesn’t improve. And attack, Arsenal have no wingers outside Iwobi and Welbeck, major additions needed there too, and top players don’t come cheap. And lastly all of these player changes will be wasted if that useless excuse of a manager is still there. WENGER OUUUTTTTT

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