62 Comments

Why Can’t Arsene Just Spend The Money?

spendthemoney

How hard can it be?

Come on Arsene, just spend the money!

You’d think from the views of some that this should be the easiest thing in football.  But interesting recent remarks from ‘Swing’ in the PA comments section regarding Chelsea’s former defender David Luiz made me think further on the subject. Swing eloquently highlighted how Luiz appears to be thriving since departing these shores from a team (or a team set-up/manager) that was evidently ill-suited to him.

One of the more almost endearingly simplistic traits of our Goner friends is the tendency to hop from player to player in a kind of footballing flavour-of-the-month perpetual merry-go-round of helpful suggestions of those who might strengthen our squad and whom Arsene has clearly, albeit inexplicably, so far not spotted. Trouble is, it’s a bit of a kiss of death as a disproportionately high number of these ‘helpful suggestions’ go on to see their careers dip and in some cases dry up altogether in the months and seasons that follow.

There are two reasons I found Swing’s comments particularly interesting.

Firstly, in how they might apply to our own Lukas Podolski, a lovely guy with first class PR and disposition, 118 caps and 47 goals for Germany since 2004 but who carries a faint aura of disappointment around with him when it comes to his AFC career (55 appearances/19 as sub and 28 goals) since 2012. Very roughly, he’s appeared in approximately half of the games played and scored in half of those.

It’s not really for me to judge how successful Lukas has been – certainly not a disaster for Arsenal (not to mention a Germany mainstay) – but the frequency of his 70th minute substitutions only contribute to the vision of a player who appears past his ‘bedding in’ period but who is still not slotting in seamlessly to the squad. Could Lukas, like Luiz burst more fully into footballing life in the ranks of another club?

Secondly, and using LP as a very crude example, this is precisely why AW can conclude a summer’s transfer window with apparent gaps in the squad – Arsene knows he could well have picked up x, y, or z player – we had the funds, clearly, although it’s by no means a given that all potential buys would want to come to the club given the appalling reputation our own fans have earned for themselves. So Arsene might have adopted a robust buying policy but what if he had not had the confidence all the newbies would slot in in the way that, say, Chambers and Debuchy have?

Players may well grow on trees and the buying process might indeed be very simple (as we are repeatedly told by the ‘just do it’ brigade) but make the wrong purchase and you will have a player on your hands who will sit somewhere on the spectrum defined by the Chelsea version Luiz at one end (laughing stock) and Arsenal’s Lukas at the other (decent but ‘enigmatic’).

Start to fill your squad with such purchases and the resulting mixture can give you a team on a second spectrum defined, perhaps, by Newcastle – ‘laughing stock’ – and, say, Spurs, theoretically challenging for honours but always falling well short of their targets (and laughing stock). We’ve seen time and again what happens to teams attempting to stuff themselves with new players – Liverpool and Man u being current examples following on from 2013’s epic big spenders, Tottenham. The Suarez swag, like the Bale bundle before it, has proven to be a double edged sword. An ephemeral cash weapon which, in the wrong hands can prove to be a blunt – and potentially ineffective one – at that.

So, Arsene – just spend the money (but go easy with it, eh?).

***

So on to tonight – and on the exact 18th anniversary of the start of Arsenal’s golden era with Arsene celebrating in his usual low-key fashion, a tough game awaits us against a Turkish side likely to be very well supported and also in urgent need of three points.

As well as reeling from the loss of Ramsey and Arteta, but with the safe squad return of Jack, Arsene knows the Turks’ main threat may well come from Burak Yilmaz breaking on the counter. This will be no walk in the park for either team but should prove one of the more watchable – and enjoyable – of the week’s European encounters after yesterday’s dull affairs involving Chelsea and the misfiring City.

Up, as they say, The Arsenal – and congratulations, Arsene!

18 years to the day of outstanding service and so many incredible achievements.

Here’s to many more.

99 Comments

Stop Moaning, Arsenal Weren’t Half Bad.

A guest post by Double Canister (stolen from the comments section)

 

All I heard last night from leaving the stadium to the pubs was whispers and guesses slowly becoming cast iron established facts as the pints went down and the tweets and blogs self referenced each other. ‘ 1-4,1-4 formation ain’t work in’ ‘Alexis should have come on’ xxxx player is shit for arsenal’ . I hardly heard a word about Arsenal’s attacking play constantly ripping apart the spuds, nor anything about the effectively Josesque game plan from the spuds. Nobody gave Arsenal any credit for having to change the whole game plan when our two leading midfielders were forced out of the game so early on.

Anyone who thinks or says that the game wasn’t a complete rout for the Arsenal is talking bollix. The goals didn’t go in, that’s the only thing, and a keystone kops episode at the back cost us all the points. Szez needs to wake up, a terrible pass out to a man in danger, who then passes it to the next player – also covered by a tottenham player. There is no point going overboard about this yet, there is a myth doing the rounds that Arsenal have one of the weakest defences in the league – in truth it’s far from it. We have conceded 7 goals in six games which is not ideal but a look at the table shows that City, Tottenham and Chelsea have also let in 7 with Liverpool and Man Utd. Have shipped 9 each. Early days of course, but it is only Arsenal’s title credentials that as are being written off.

Arsenal’s only real ‘problem’ at the moment is in goal scoring, we have yet to find the most effective way of combining our new attackers with the usual direct drive-on play from our midfielders. This I’m sure will come together soon. We had 16 shots on target most of which were snatched at, weakly scuffed or straight into Lloris’s hands. I’m also beginning to think defending teams against us deliberately kick the ball out for corners when under pressure; such is the poor quality of execution from Arsenal, and never mind the usually inevitable sprint counterattack. The Spuds conceded 15 corners and had 30% of possession, most of which was from very slow kick outs and restarts.They had 6 yellows and only the ref can explain why he didn’t hand out a red. It a frustrating to drop points and especially so when your neighbourly team’s only intention was to limit the damage to themselves.

If Giroud was playing instead of Welbeck, we would have destroyed Tottenham. No offence to Danny but he doesn’t do the same runs to the near post our attack system needs.

Watching Adebayor last night shows that the spuds are going to be in real trouble, what a lazy overpaid disloyal (to his current employers) nicking a living useless shitehawke that he is.

120 Comments

Are Uber-Fans Trying To Destroy Arsenal? Parts 1 and 2

Football has always been about opinions.

In the olden days we would sit around in small groups and moan about certain players. We might also blame the manager for poor form. It was always thus.

Now though we have taken moaning to new levels. There are those who have taken to attacking everything at the club to professional levels.

There are those that write blogs, tweet and podcast that have large followings and they have become Uber-Fans.

Based on what?

You might well ask!  Well in most cases it’s based on no more than their mistaken belief that they are experts on err, umm err… well, everything really.

If you listen to podcasts, follow twitter or read blogs, they’re full of annoyingly pretentious ill-informed pillocks seeking to impress the gullible and the equally ill-informed. They pontificate from a position of ignorance on all matters relating to the club.

So now instead of it just being a few of us moaning about what our eyes have seen, it’s thousands moaning about things they know bugger all about.

These Uber-Fans are like contestants on The X-Factor who are prepared to make absolute idiots of themselves simply to become a celebrity. They seem intent on showing how smart they are at the expense of the club.

The problem being – they are not that smart at all. They are just loud.

Of course, I don’t want to tar everyone with the same brush. There are those who know a lot and talk a lot of sense. Every week I look forward to reading The Tim Stillman (@LittleDutchVA) column on Arseblog. Tim offers ideas on tactics, players and the manager that I find both interesting and even educational. However, he does not preach or insist that his ideas and opinions are definitive. In short, he doesn’t profess to be a know-all. I might be wrong, but it looks to me that he also understands that he has a responsibility to be balanced. There are others, but they are thin on the ground.

The tone of many bloggers, tweeters and podcasters is provocative, snide and almost bitter. You might think winning the FA Cup, signing the likes of Sanchez and Ozil, or even the appointment of a new fitness supremo would have mellowed the tone of these uninformed experts, but no, none of it. Everything from tactics and formations to the timing of substitutions and how many sugars Doris is putting in the tea, is savaged and rubbished.

Here are some words from our own Arsenal Andrew:

There is an irony not lost on many of us here in having a man with the brilliance of Wenger hounded by the likes of those for whom the lights may appear to be on, but who quite clearly, are no longer at home.

The genius of Wenger is conversely offset by the rank stupidity of a noisy band of barackers, modern-day hecklers who long ago forgot what it meant to support, who today visit upon the club as disconnected strangers sadly oblivious to the maxim of supporting through thick and thin.

Together this limp collection of disbelievers rally together with the single hollow bond of those claiming to love the club to the ends of the earth, but who in reality, as Bergkamp memorably observed, love merely the version with trophies.

They lightly skip, trip and stumble over what they would have us believe are the issues of the hour. Meanwhile the club grows and develops, moving purposefully and with grace, ever forward towards a goal and a destiny born of breathtaking ambition.

A destiny in which we, the fans, had just one job.

We just had the one job.

I was hoping that the fight was over, that the clear and present improvement of the club would allow us to just get on with that one job.

Seems I hoped in vain.

hadonejob

By pedantic george aka @Blackburngeorge

 

 

Now. Part 2 from Andrew @anicoll5

What used to be bizarre to my sight to the approach of the Uberbloggers and their flocks of credulous sheep was the incessantly changing targets of their dissatisfaction. As Tim has rightly said above yesterday it was Stan paying £3m out of funds of the club he owns, in relation to work he is entitled to for services rendered, into another business that he owns and which performed that service. The day before it is something else, the day before that some new perceived calamity that Arsene or the cub or some poor unfortunate player has maliciously heaped on the poor suffering fans, blah, blah, blah.

Gaze backwards a few months. The Uber bloggers whine was “Spend some farking money’ “Sign a farking forward” ” that Giroo is farking useless” “that Thomas Vermaelen is deadwood – get rid ” Their sheep baa’ed the message they had been fed loudly across the digital world, the phone in lines buzzed with self important discontents.

But we know the club gets on with its business buys and sells players. The strikers are bought, damn fine players. Do we hear any jot of pleasure or contentment from the Uber bloggers and the flock ? Not a bit of it. Now it has moved on to “Sign a farking central defensive beast” “Sign a farking defender’ “Why did you let Tommy V go for fark’s sake” etcetera etcetera etcetera.

I won’t bore you by taking you through fifty other examples of whining about commercial revenue streams, sponsorship, players signed, players not signed, deadwood kept, deadwood not kept, we have to win a trophy, oK we won a trophy but that don’t count. It is a constantly changing target of unhappiness and dissatisfaction. Nothing Arsenal football club does is ever good enough, there is no joy or contentment in these people’s lives. They live to moan.

And then the mists cleared and I understood.

Now I suspect there are some Uberbloggers who are literally farmers of this discontent, and who understand that they can make a living by peddling material that attracts hits on their websites and £k’ching in their accounts. In a sense I admire them. They have identified a market and have devised, over time, a service product that satisfies and earns them a reward for work undertaken. They supply the sheep with a constantly changing themes of the wrong that Arsenal football club is doing to their fans, a daily diet of alleged crimes to top up their grievance levels. Peyton and Le Grove etc are service providers.

And the sheep themselves, this great baa’ing credulous mob prepared to turn on any player, any manager, any fellow fan who fails to join their abuse of the Club, who engage in strange clothing rituals of black scarves, like some form of jihadist sect! Who are they ?

Well I suspect a significant proportion of them are suffering from a mild form of a condition called “dysphoria”. That is a state of mind in which the individual is pathologically unable to enjoy or to even gain contentment with their circumstances in life, or in this case with the football cub they believe, and probably sincerely believe, they “support”. Those suffering dysphoria externalise the mixture of anxiety and depression they experience. No matter what changes in the external world however, how their personal circumstances might improve materially or emotionally, they will not be happy because that healthy psychological response is not open to them. Even if a long term demand is satisfied today, by tomorrow morning a whole new set of dissatisfactions will have been created, or as I explained above, been provided by the “service providers”.

So no George these people are not out to destroy Arsenal , the people are sick.

34 Comments

Are Uber-Fans Trying To Destroy Arsenal?

Manchester City v Arsenal - Barclays Premier League

 

Football has always been about opinions.

In the olden days we would sit around in small groups and moan about certain players. We might also blame the manager for poor form. It was always thus.

Now though we have taken moaning to new levels. There are those who have taken to attacking everything at the club to professional levels.

There are those that write blogs, tweet and podcast that have large followings and they have become Uber-Fans.

Based on what?

You might well ask!  Well in most cases it’s based on no more than their mistaken belief that they are experts on err, umm err… well, everything really.

If you listen to podcasts, follow twitter or read blogs, they’re full of annoyingly pretentious ill-informed pillocks seeking to impress the gullible and the equally ill-informed. They pontificate from a position of ignorance on all matters relating to the club.

So now instead of it just being a few of us moaning about what our eyes have seen, it’s thousands moaning about things they know bugger all about.

These Uber-Fans are like contestants on The X-Factor who are prepared to make absolute idiots of themselves simply to become a celebrity. They seem intent on showing how smart they are at the expense of the club.

The problem being – they are not that smart at all. They are just loud.

Of course, I don’t want to tar everyone with the same brush. There are those who know a lot and talk a lot of sense. Every week I look forward to reading The Tim Stillman (@LittleDutchVA) column on Arseblog. Tim offers ideas on tactics, players and the manager that I find both interesting and even educational. However, he does not preach or insist that his ideas and opinions are definitive. In short, he doesn’t profess to be a know-all. I might be wrong, but it looks to me that he also understands that he has a responsibility to be balanced. There are others, but they are thin on the ground.

The tone of many bloggers, tweeters and podcasters is provocative, snide and almost bitter. You might think winning the FA Cup, signing the likes of Sanchez and Ozil, or even the appointment of a new fitness supremo would have mellowed the tone of these uninformed experts, but no, none of it. Everything from tactics and formations to the timing of substitutions and how many sugars Doris is putting in the tea, is savaged and rubbished.

Here are some words from our own Arsenal Andrew:

There is an irony not lost on many of us here in having a man with the brilliance of Wenger hounded by the likes of those for whom the lights may appear to be on, but who quite clearly, are no longer at home.

The genius of Wenger is conversely offset by the rank stupidity of a noisy band of barackers, modern-day hecklers who long ago forgot what it meant to support, who today visit upon the club as disconnected strangers sadly oblivious to the maxim of supporting through thick and thin.

Together this limp collection of disbelievers rally together with the single hollow bond of those claiming to love the club to the ends of the earth, but who in reality, as Bergkamp memorably observed, love merely the version with trophies.

They lightly skip, trip and stumble over what they would have us believe are the issues of the hour. Meanwhile the club grows and develops, moving purposefully and with grace, ever forward towards a goal and a destiny born of breathtaking ambition.

A destiny in which we, the fans, had just one job.

We just had the one job.

I was hoping that the fight was over, that the clear and present improvement of the club would allow us to just get on with that one job.

Seems I hoped in vain.

hadonejob

By pedantic george aka @Blackburngeorge

68 Comments

Whengar’s A Lunitic And Our Club Is A Joke

 A guest post by Seebs  @arse_or_brain

Apparently, according to many ARSENAL fans on twitter, our 3-0 win away at Villa was just a blip and we will soon be back to losing ways. Quite how despondent people can be after a good win to a team having only conceded one goal in a good start to their season amazes me and so I thought about what really is their logic.

In 2004 we won the league without losing a game, a considerable feat, the year after we won the F.A. cup and then in 2006 were unlucky to lose the final of the Champions’ League after having a player sent off at the start of the game and only conceding at the end of the game.

I believe it was around this time Arsene lost his mind and lost all football knowledge.

So 2007 until now we have been failures, the story goes, but how many fans and teams have bettered us and how many would switch places?

Well in that time we’ve won one cup, come close in the league a few times and been consistent in qualifying for the Champions’ League. So the only teams domestically that have done better than us are Chelski and the two Manc clubs. All three massively funded beyond our capability and so you would expect them to do better unless they were underperforming by a large margin, considering it cannot be us that has overachieved.

We have built and self-funded a new stadium. This has not been achieved by any other club in this time and so any arguments about how much money we have is largely dispelled as this handicap, along with the arrival of the sugar-daddies makes the spending argument largely irrelevant as whatever we forked out, the other clubs would still be able to find more.

In these failure years the likes of Alex Ferguson have said ARSENAL would have won the league if it wasn’t for injuries; so that blows the ‘tactics falling out Arsene’s head’ theory out of the window.  I’m pretty sure even the most ardent wobs would admit you can’t win the league without tactical knowledge. This is backed up by the great Johan Cruyff who thinks Arsene is a great tactician, although the critics do have Piers Morgan in their corner.

This brings us to those injuries. Again, Arsene’s fault apparently, as his training methods are to blame. Incidentally these are same methods that brought us the doubles and invincibles, although we still do well at the end of games and seasons, so fitness can’t be a problem, surely a more logical reason would be the style of play we use draws more fouls both punished and unpunished and a build-up of these leads to injuries. This is just an assumption of course but then no one knows the reason behind the larger than usual amount of injuries we suffer.

  • So in summary only 3 clubs have bettered us in the failure years.
  • All three clubs can outspend us on the pitch and behind the scenes
  • We are still servicing a debt and the fund comparison with the other clubs makes the argument about our cash reserves irrelevant.
  • Injuries have impacted on our success.
  • All of the above makes the tactics argument a myth
  • I haven’t mentioned we consistently played the best football in the league

So what are people groaning about? Well could we have achieved better in the last few years?  Maybe.

Could we have bought better?  Maybe.

Could we have set up better in some games and even made better subs and tactical switches? Maybe.

But all those are assumptions and even if they were correct, would that make our manager a lunatic or our club a joke?

Quite clearly not.

But it does call into question the metal astuteness of anyone who suggests this is the case.

85 Comments

A Stroll In The Villa Park

mesutthumbsupjpeg

Great, so I’m a genius again …

I watched the game on a Spanish stream. All I could make out were the players’ names.  This was quite an eye opener.  I had to make my own mind up how we were playing. It was up to me to see how the team was set up and who was playing where, let alone who was having a good game. It was in fact a very good way to watch the game. If Stew Black is reading this, you were right all along mate.

The first 25 minutes or so seemed pretty even to me, although the hosts had the best chance with a close range effort, excellently saved by our young keeper.

Then in five minutes Arsenal fired a three-goal broadside and the Villa were sunk.

The contest was over. We dominated the remainder of the half. After the break the hosts seemed happy to take a football lesson as long as it didn’t turn into a spanking. And we seemed happy to give it and coast to the final whistle.

It was the most comfortable half of football I’ve ever seen. Lovely jubbly.

The team appeared to set up with Ramsey sitting deeper to help Mikel. A lot of the time he was behind the skipper. That allowed Mesut to be more forward thinking.

Here though is Ozil’s heat map:

ozil heatmap

Looks familiar?

Now, that looks dangerously like his every other heat map.  So don’t tell me he was playing in the hole behind Welbeck as a traditional number 10.

He played well because he played well. Perhaps the security of Aaron and Mikel helped him, or perhaps he just played better. Who knows?

I felt Aaron had another sub-par performance.  Is it because he is being played out of position? No, because he isn’t.  He is just off form a little.  He is not a bad player or anything other than a great player having a dip in form.

Just as Mesut was!

Anyway, that’s what I saw. It’s up to you to tell me if I am right or wrong.

Go on then …

 

You can become a part of George’s own heatmap on Twitter @Blackburngeorge

 

63 Comments

Villa Will Be Very Hard

A guest post from Andrew @anicoll5

 

Good morning Fellow Positivistas from a grey East Anglia morning with Autumn firmly camped across the land.

By land and sea, by air and digital pulse, our thoughts turn to Villa Park today. Even with the Holte End spoiled by seating, still a proper football ground full of long-suffering locals. We’ve not lost a PL game at the stadium this century, eight wins and seven draws, and even the bookies have us on very short money to win at 5-6 with Villa at an enticing 4 to 1. If I gambled I might be tempted to lob a shilling on the home side, disloyal though that would be. Surely you say “the points are in the bank?”

An oddity today as we kick off the game of association football at 3 p.m. on a Saturday afternoon!  It is the ‘traditional’ time and day for the contest based no doubt on an 1872 FA agreement among fishmongers and hat makers in Sheffield. I admit as we move into Autumn and Winter there is something comforting about football in its proper place on a Saturday afternoon. Mellow fruitfulness.

So unusual was the Saturday at 3 p.m. kick-off however that I looked up the last time we avoided being rescheduled for the convenience of the global TV dollar and saw it was the game at the Britannia on the 1st March this year. By complete coincidence no doubt, the man with the whistle that grim day in the Potteries, referee Mike Jones, is on duty a Villa Park today.

It is lucky I am not a man given to heeding signs or portents.

On to the game however. The Villa riding high and I have no doubt their fans as surprised as everyone else that Lambert has managed to manoeuvre what is still a fairly young and inexperienced team to ten points from four games and a spot just behind Chelsea in the table.

Toward the end of last season Villa were shocking and getting worse so, with Benteke a long term crock, and without any noticeable recruitment beyond the much derided Phil Senderos, it is difficult to explain the turnaround. (Personally always liked Phil as I do any player prepared to put his head in where the boots fly, but I accept he had his limits). They don’t score much but have a good defensive record, three in four clean sheets in PL games.

The media seem to ascribe Villa’s improvement to the arrival of Roy Maurice Keane and the papers have had a few puff pieces this week about the young Villa players “inspired” “terrified” “in total awe of” the Irishman. Hmmmmm. The fist waving, eye rolling and the glaring might work for a little while with the kids Roy, but football managing is a little bit more complicated than that, as you know from your time with Ipswich and Sunlun. No doubt Keane’s presence has put the wind up Lambert a treat though but not a word of that anywhere.

For ourselves, as we touched on yesterday, I expect a few changes in the side and across midfield with Jack and Aaron rested, perhaps Sanchez too and the Ox. Tomas and Santi coming in.  I see the changes as mixture of fatigue from some hard games over a short period and the fact that if you have a large squad you use it.

I do not anticipate a ‘hangover’ after our defeat in Dortmund and a night of some disappointing performances.  I do however anticipate a difficult contest.  A narrow victory and a solid performance would do very nicely.

Talk to you later.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 10,037 other followers