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Self Censorship at The Arsenal?

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It’s hard being a contrarian on Arsenal Twitter these days. Like any strict, self-regulated community, there is a stridency among a majority of posters that demands and enforces conformity. It punishes dissent via the block, unfollow and mute buttons for committing any of the following heresies:

  • Not vocally supporting the new manager
  • Criticizing any of the mooted new signings

Instead of summer hostilities between the former WOBs and AKBs, which usually reach boiling point during transfer season, both sides for their own reasons are currently wishing and hoping for the new manager, Unai Emery, to succeed, bigly. Obviously the ex-WOBs are delighted that their bête noir, the cheapskate, deluded, out of touch, omnipotent (choose your epithet) Arsene Wenger is now gone. Should Emery succeed, it will be a ringing endorsement of their long-held claim that the club was being held back by the former manager.

On the other hand, it seems to me, the so-called AKBs are on the defensive, not wanting to be seen as mindless acolytes of the old gaffer, fearing they will give credence to the years of repeated taunts by the anti-Wenger crowd that they support Arsene FC rather than Arsenal FC. They too are just as wishful and hopeful that the new manager, who seems to be as modern and progressive as the old, will be able to overcome all the external and internal obstacles that held the club back.

WOBs, AKBs and the Middle-Of-the-Roaders

Strange and as incongruous as it may seem, former WOBs and AKBs are now locked together, singing the same tune; leave Emery alone and he will succeed.

Let us not fool ourselves. While there appears to be two extremist camps in the Arsenal fanbase, there is definitely a large, if not larger, middle-of-the-road contingent which often takes one side or the other depending on results. It wasn’t that long ago, for example, we had the experience on the opening day of a new season at the Arsenal stadium, with the transfer window still open, that a majority were in uproar demanding the club spend some “facking” money as the club was losing to Aston Villa. The fact that Arsenal eventually came 3rd or 4th that year, qualifying for the Champion’s League, at a time when it was still struggling under the stadium-related austerity, stands in sharp contrast to the £200 million spent on transfers these past two years while coming 5th and lately 6th in the Premier League.

So conventional thinking has concluded that leaving Emery alone, rather than the relentless attention to the every move and statement made by Arsene Wenger, is now a guarantor of success. The underlying assumption is the belief that the Wenger years, particularly the most recent, were a failure which Emery must avoid. The problem is this hypothesis is not fully supported by the facts.

Note the “unbiased data”, on which we should rely, is diligently avoided by the mainstream media and most of its cohorts on twitter and in the blogsphere, who are now bloviating with optimism and goodwill towards Emery.

Take a gander, below, on some key performance metrics for the last 11 years of the Wenger era.

Year Played Won Drawn Lost  GF GA  Win % Loss %
07/08 58 36 15 7 113 52 62.1% 12%
08/09 61 33 16 12 113 55 54.1% 20%
09/10 55 33 8 14 116 63 60.0% 25%
10/11 58 31 13 14 113 55 53.5% 24%
11/12 54 31 9 14 96 67 57.4% 26%
12/13 53 29 12 12 105 60 54.7% 23%
13/14 56 37 8 11 99 57 66.1% 20%
14/15 56 35 11 10 109 53 62.5% 18%
15/16 54 28 12 14 91 59 51.9% 26%
16/17 55 35 8 12 121 65 63.4% 22%
17/18 57 30 10 17 108 70 52.6% 30%
Mean 56 33 11 12 108 60 58.0% 22%

Main points:

  • Wenger achieved an average win percentage of 58% across all competitions never falling below 51.9% and going as high as 66.1%.
  • 52% was good enough to qualify for the champions league up to 15/16. But in 16-17 a 63.4% win rate and a FA cup was apparently not good enough for some in the club hierarchy as evident in Wenger’s 2-year contract, which in retrospect was putting him on notice.
  • In 17-18, the win percentage was 52.6, not the lowest historically, but it was marked by the highest ever GA, a total of 70, compared to an average of 60 GA over the 11-year period.
  • Wenger’s loss percentage while averaging 22% increased by a dramatic 8 percentage points between 16-17 and 17-18 coinciding with the highest ever GA of 70 in the latter year.

The GA seems to be the key. As Finsbury, a long-standing and frequent contributor to Positively Arsenal has repeatedly argued, Wenger’s biggest challenge in 17/18 was maintaining or recreating the defensive stability he had achieved during the four year reign of Mertsacker-Koscielny, which was one of the premier central defensive partnerships in club football. The 2016-17 season-long loss of the BFG and his subsequent relegation in 17-18 to a mere squad player combined with Koscielny’s well publicized chronic Achilles injury coincided with a growth in GAs from 59 in 15-16 to an unheard of 70 last season and the dramatic increase in losses from the average of 22% to 30% over the last two seasons.

Based on the facts as presented, surely it is reasonable and necessary for us to ask Mr. Gazidis and his rising number of busy-bodies (Mislintat, Sanllehi and a Marcel Lucassen who is to become Director of Football Operations on August 1st) the following questions:

  • How will the signing of Lichsteiner, a 34 year-old injury-prone right back, improve and stabilize Arsenal’s central defensive partnership?
  • In a world where a Virgil Van Dijk costs £70 million, how do Arsenal plan to replace the retired Mertsacker and an ageing injury-prone Koscielny?

At a time when mainstream media, Twitter, Facebook and Google are doing their best to censor and block non-conforming points of view, it is frightening the level to which Arsenal-twitter has engaged in self-censorship to not rock the boat during this transition to new management. Apparently Ivan and his team are now omniscient and omnipotent. They have free reign, without any challenge by fans, to give Emery any players they deem necessary, because, to paraphrase managerial genius Tony Adams, coaching is over-rated, what matters is the director of football and those who do player recruitment.

So “keep schtum”. Don’t rock the boat. It will all work out in the end. Hmm.

87 Comments

Arsenal: Study the past, if you would divine the future

@foreverheady ponders the rippling pool

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Managers come and managers go, but the Arsenal dance goes on forever, as Pete Brown almost said back in 1970. By and large though, our managers spend longer looking good on the dance floor than most, with just four men, Chapman, Allison, Graham and Wenger setting the playing style of the club for over half its long history.

Can we expect a similar length of tenure for Unai Emery, or will Arsenal now follow the example of most other top clubs and change the boss every few years or so? Most commentators seem to think that the latter course is more likely, although should our new man prove a reasonable success history suggests that he too might be in for the long haul. We’ll have to wait and see, and one day no doubt time will say nothing but I told you so.

The last few weeks have been interesting ones for Arsenal fans: whether you were Wenger in or Wenger out his resignation came as a shock, greeted triumphantly by some, occasioning grief for others. But whatever camp you were in and however you reacted to the emotional final goodbyes it soon came down to the king being dead, long live the king.

As Robert Frost so succinctly observed, “they, not being the ones dead, turned to their affairs.” and so it is with us as we debate the style the new man will adopt, predict the players he will move on, the ones he will keep, and the ones he will usher in. There is a delicious sense of being confronted by a whole series of known unknowns, and Tom Stoppard gets it about right in his play Arcadia: “It makes me so happy. To be at the beginning again, knowing almost nothing…. A door like this has cracked open five or six times since we got up on our hind legs. It’s the best possible time of being alive, when almost everything you thought you knew is wrong.”

Arcadia of course promises us a blissful release from the labours of the day, a promised land where we may rest a while, and this to me is what Saturday afternoons bring (OK, I know that most matches don’t happen on Saturday afternoons any longer, but you get what I mean) and the thought of a new side playing in a new way with a new man in the dugout has certainly piqued my interest.

But as Shotta warned us last week, perhaps remembering Poussin’s shepherds, however luxurious the promise of paradise, disappointment is also an ever present in Arcady.

Who knows, but what might be interesting is to pause for a moment and think about what a manager – or Head Coach as they are more fashionably known these days – actually does. And this is another thing that most of us who have never managed a Premier League team don’t know – but it certainly doesn’t seem to stop people from having very strong views as to just what the manager should be doing. Actually I think I am a very good manager: I watch most of the European Leagues, scout extensively on YouTube and pay great attention to the tactical breakdowns on Monday Night Football. I know just when to bring on my subs and have no truck with players who give less than a 100% for the shirt, knowing as I do just how heavy the cannon is.

What perhaps I am less good at is getting my ideas across to players who do not speak English as well as I do, given that my grasp of French, German, Italian and Spanish is sketchy, whilst my Dutch, Russian and Swedish is non-existent. I find it hard to know just when and how my tactics need changing because the opposition manager has altered his in an unforeseen way. I am not always at my most confident when I need to factor in the risk/reward quotient of making substitutions before the 70th minute given the medical advice I have received that two of my players are likely to tire in the last quarter, or when a substitution has been forced on me in the first half and three of my players are already on Yellows. I am not very good at keeping the right balance between stick and carrot when dealing with a player who has just discovered that his Mother has cancer, and despite plenty of experience still find it tricky to keep the egos of 20 young alpha males appropriately in check and balanced, especially when the agent of one of them finds out that another player is on more money than his. Or that a rumoured new signing is likely to see a regular starter move on to the bench.

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And I have still not quite worked out why players have good days and less good ones, or why a player won’t pass to another one, or why the presence of the most obviously talented member of the group seems to inhibit the form of the rest of the midfield unit. So maybe this managing business isn’t quite so easy after all, and a bit of me feels for Unai who I see is already being criticised on account of various transfer rumours that fans either approve or disapprove of. It seems that whoever we buy is either too young or too old, too expensive or too cheap, too little or large. He is not as good as Arsene or is much better. He has too much authority, or not enough; he is a maverick and doesn’t understand the Arsenal way, or is an embarrassing yes man only too willing to bed down with mediocrity. Who knows? I certainly don’t, but find myself already wishing away the summer that I have been looking forward to for so long. And it’s a china orange to the whole of Lombard Street that just about every true Arsenal fan is feeling just the same way as the long countdown to early August begins.

85 Comments

Arsenal And The Big Mess It’s In !

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Are Arsenal as bad as everyone is making out, are they in the mess we are constantly being told they are? 

On average to win the PL you need 87 points, Arsenal last season finished with 63 point which on the face of it is miles behind that total, but let’s look at the games Arsenal lost :-

Liverpool away 

Stoke away 

Watford away*

Man U home 

Man U away 

City away 

City home 

Spurs away

Swansea away*

Newcastle away*

Brighton away

Leicester away

Bournemouth away*

*lost from winning positions

Drew :-

Chelsea away

Southampton away

West Ham away

Liverpool home*

West Brom away*

Chelsea home*

*drew from winning positions

So from those results can Arsenal pick up the 24 points they need. If and yes it’s a big IF, if Arsenal can hold on to winning positions in games then they are looking at 18 extra points. Okay I accept that you can’t always hold on so if we say in 2/3rds of the games that’s 12 points.

That leaves games in all honesty they should not be losing, Stoke, Brighton and Leicester all away, if you are looking to win the league these are game Arsenal should be winning, the last two loses near the end of the season we more of an issue with out woeful away form and a lack of confidence. Stoke was down to appalling officiating was it 2 or 3 penalties we could & should of had?  So that is another 9 points, that leaves three points needed to get to the 87 points, I know it’s all ifs and buts, but are we not capable of gaining those results with the squad we have?

Are we in the mess that everyone is saying we are and has Wenger left us in a bad position? Confidence away from home ,as seen above was a major issue, for all the mental strength Wenger used to bang on about in his press conferences, we lacked that last season away from home. With a change of manager can he improve that confidence, it will be interesting to see how he handles the inevitable bad decisions Arsenal get (stoke & Watford away for example)?

Going forward Arsenal are as good as spurs, 74 PL goals each last season and that was good enough for them to be in 3rd. Emery needs to improve the defence, but allow the attack to continue scoring as it is and by the sound of the rumour mill defenders and a defensive midfielder are high on his shopping list. 

We have also been accused of being a mess behind the scenes, but over the past 12 months we have seen

Sven Mislintat – Head of recruitment

Raul Sanllehi – Head of football operation

Huss Fahmy – Contact negotiator

Darren Burgess – Head of high performance

Jens Lehman 1st team coach

Sal Bibbo – Goalkeeping coach

Per Mertesacker – Academy boss

Lee Herron – Academy football operations manager

Richard Allison – Performance Nutritionist

Tom Allen – Lead sports scientist

brought in, plus  Emery and whatever backroom staff he is bringing in with him.

To me that looks like the board have had a plan and are executing that plan to make Arsenal less reliant on one man (Wenger) and creating a proper structure to the club from top to bottom. Does that sound like a club in crises or a mess like Wright, Morgan and the rest in the media are saying. 

We were accused of being in a mess around the appointment of a new manager, but again this was more to do with the media creating headlines because they didn’t have a clue what was happening. In business is interviewing all available candidates and then having a second round of interviews not showing organisation and planning does that not show due diligence and responsibility to the club and fans? 

So are we a mess, are we as bad as our league position shows? 

I don’t think so, but I do always try to have a positive outlook on Arsenal and as we know it’s negativity that sells and creates headlines. Some prominent bloggers/vloggers are already laying the foundations to criticise the board if things do not start well with transfers, but if we look at the club from a positive angle, we are not as bad as everyone is saying.????

@Swales1968

329 Comments

Arsenal Fans: Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid

Emery and Wenger

In the midst of all the giddiness and joy among Arsenal fans at the prospect of a brand new, literally shiny, high profile manager taking over the reins of management from that wizened, grizzled old grand-dad we had all gotten used to, something just doesn’t ring true.

Don’t get me wrong. Although am a well known partisan for Arsene Wenger, I have nothing against Unai Emery and wholeheartedly welcome him to the club and truly wish for him all the success possible. He is young and handsome, a very telegenic face, around which the PR people at the club can only drool. Apparently, when unveiled to the media, he said all the right things which had the hacks in rapture as they pounded their keyboards, oiled their tongues for radio or were dabbed with makeup before video recording the usual clichéd segment for TV. Most of all he has a brilliant CV, starting in the boondocks of Spanish football taking a couple of clubs to promotion, excelling at Sevilla with 3 Europa League titles and, prior to Arsenal, managing one of the biggest-moneyed clubs in Europe ending with a quadruple of titles. Surely he is the perfect man for the job.

And that is what triggers my contrarian instinct. The script is just too perfectly written.

By the way, we all have a contrarian streak genetically coded into the deep reptilian recesses of our cranium, the one that tell us: “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is”. But too often, most of us get suckered by our emotions, based on narratives fomented by the mainstream media, and forget to listen to our brains, not our heart.

Something is “too good to be true” with the narrative we are now being sold. According to almost all the usual suspects  Emery will save us from the washed-up, stupid, old fool who only managed an Invincible year as part of 3 league titles, 7 FA cups and kept us in the top-4 for 20 out of 22 years:

Emery will get Arsenal more organised than they have been”. (BBC)

“What they will be getting is a coach who is fully committed and, in his approach to preparation, a startling break from what they have been used to. If Wenger’s twilight years at the club produced a team that often appeared under-coached, then the reign of Emery will be the exact opposite.” (Independent)

“Where Arsène Wenger’s teams may have descended into the painfully one-dimensional, Emery’s outlook is one of nuance and precision, which may well suit Arsenal’s developing team rather more than the entrenched, haughty collection of Parisian stars.” (Guardian)

Disorganized, Under-coached and One-dimensional

So less than two weeks after Wenger’s final game the football media takes off the gloves; no more of the hypocrisy, flattery and lofty odes to one of the greatest managers in English football. His teams, in their own words, were disorganized, under-coached and one-dimensional. Thus the need to hire Unai Emery who it is predicted will bring glory to north London, apparently the type experienced by Sevilla and PSG.  Mark you Sevilla last won the Spanish league title in 1945-46 and PSG has not even made the Champions league final since gobbling up hundreds of millions of the best oil money the sheiks of Qatar could throw at the club over the past 7 years.

Apparently things were so bad under Wenger, Arsenal’s last trophy of worth was the FA cup as far back as May 2017. Moreover, things were so bad in the 17-18 season, they had a mere 14 home-wins, the second highest in the league.

This is the same media (as well as most bloggers and podcasters) who choose to ignore the fact that since 2005, Wenger has progressively been outspent by three clubs in the premier league. In fact one news media, in their effort to downplay the magnitude of the disparity, characterized Arsenal as the 3rd strongest club financially in England. In other words, this liar and misleader, was suggesting Arsene should be consistently averaging 3rd in the league because of the financial resources available.

Clearly the new manager, who is currently being feted and glad handled, is already being setup. He is expected to outperform Wenger’s average 4th place finish over the past 12 years at a time when United and Chelsea are desperate to make up the difference with City, there being a gap of 19 points between 1st and 2nd at the end of last season. Moreover as was reported in sputniknews.com, Abramovich recently had his Tier I visa held up by the UK government, a privilege to freely travel back and forth which is tied to volume of his investments in the country. It doesn’t take an expert to predict he will make another handy investment in Chelsea in the next transfer window to prove his bona-fides.

Why this elaborate set up?

Why are we being sold such a grand story of failure by Arsene, so much so that the club needs a savior, a metaphoric David to rescue Arsenal from the Philistines? Isn’t it amazing that in 2 years, Arsene moved from being the most powerful man at Arsenal to being a has-been. Be reminded that the 16-17 season started with great optimism, the club having acquired Mustafi, Xhaka and Lucas Perez to supplement the group who came 2nd to Leicester the prior year.  But at the start of the season and Mertersacker, one of the cornerstones of the central defensive partnership, suffers a season-ending injury. The new Koscielny-Mustafi or Koscielny-Gabriel partnership is unable to replicate the level of the old-firm. In October, Santi Sazorla, the mastermind of prior year victories over United, City and Chelsea also suffers a season-ender. To this day the combined ‘expertiste’ of the media makes no connection between the injuries to two of Arsenal’s best players and the club coming 5th that season. Instead there is a massive blame-game on Wenger. When he was offered only a two year contract, it was self-evident his future was in doubt.

What is most striking is how this was the opening for the chief executive, Mr Gazidis, to seize power away from Mr. Wenger. In the summer of 2017 we are informed the CEO has moved his offices from Arsenal House to London Colney, the training ground. In relatively short order Mislintat becomes chief scout and Sanllehi as head of football relations. As a famous denizen of this blog tweeted there are now 5 people doing the job Wenger performed by himself.

But while the corporate office has grown bigger and surely more expensive, Arsenal suffered on the field with points lost not only due to player inconsistency (at least 8 first team players from 2016-17 are gone) but also from a pattern of poor and biased refereeing by the PGMO. If the CEO and his team were campaigning for VAR in the executive suites of the Premier League it was a “silence of the lambs”.

The Coup

What convinced me that the Emery appointment may be just one big show is a piece in the Guardian by one David Hynter which suggests he was ordered to do a PR piece on behalf of Mr Gazidis. They are quick to highlight the following:

  • Gazidis is responsible for signing Ozil
  • Gazidis is, first and foremost, a football lover.
  • Gazidis has long advocated a management structure that does not rest on a single point or employee because, when it fails, there is the potential for the whole thing to collapse. He has wanted a broader coalition of talented specialists greater than the sum of its parts and, for so long, his efforts were frustrated by Wenger, to whom the club’s majority shareholder, Stan Kroenke, was in thrall. Wenger had a hotline to Kroenke and he could shape or veto Gazidis’s ideas.
  • Gazidis wanted a director of football but Wenger pushed his friend Dick Law into a position of executive-level authority.
  • Gazidis wanted greater expertise in data and contracts and hired Hendrik Almstadt only for Wenger to say he did not want him.
  • Gazidis oversaw the purchase of the data analytics company, StatDNA, but Wenger was not a fan.

Hynter concludes with a flourish:

“It was a meticulously orchestrated coup and Gazidis carried it off while showing all the respect in the world to Wenger, who has watched virtually all of his people leave the club. It has felt like a plot-line from Gomorrah, the Neapolitan mafia drama. Gazidis was not always the favourite to outlast Wenger. Now, his position looks stronger than ever.”

I could not have said it better than Mr Hynter. The evidence clearly points to a coup. He says it in triumph but I am disgusted by the lowball tactics that have been employed.

As an aside, while I arrived at a similar conclusion, by taking the available facts to their logical conclusion, because yours truly does not write for a big mainstream newspaper,  I would be accused by the charlatans in the media (as well as the bloggers and podcasters) of being a conspiracy theorist for calling out Mr Gazidis for being Wenger’s Brutus.

Unfortunately, most coups fail because they are based on lies and the golpistas (Spanish) rule without the consent of the people. That is why I fear for Emery. He may think he is a big-time Charlie but he is just a chump in a giant con being played on Arsenal fans. The new manager will find the Premier League is made up of several merciless sharks; mainly the three clubs with giant financial teeth whom he cannot compete in the transfer market, the other big one being the PGMO whose job is to protect the big boys from being upset as the PL needs the external money to keep flowing.

I wish Emery all the best but the signs aren’t good. He is on 2 year plus one contract suggesting he is a placeholder, a short-term appointment. Does this mean Arsenal has ended its tradition of managers being long-term appointees with time to build a team that can compete for titles without busting the bank?

Am not predicting the future, but as much as most fans are optimistic that under his management it could get better for Arsenal, I am duty bound to warn my readers that odds are even and it could get worse. Be afraid, be very afraid.

130 Comments

Arsenal Plan And Execute Managerial Appointment Perfectly

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By and large I try not to feel sad for people, but I do feel slightly sad for all those outraged at the appointment of Emery. The concept of a management team maybe putting together a job description, employing Headhunters, compiling a long list, inviting applications, holding interviews, possibly then moving on to a second set of interviews before making their final decision – and then the HR and Legal Teams working out exact details of contracts and remuneration before the decision is made public is clearly alien to them. That all this has happened seemingly so quickly – remember Arsene only announced his resignation a scant month ago – suggests to me that the process, far from being the panicked rush that some claim, has actually been carefully managed and orchestrated.

Arsene’s announcement – the eloquent tributes already in place, the talk of the future and his replacement (and don’t forget all those other appointments made this year), the magic final match, celebrations and presentations, the secrecy since then, the poignant pictures of Arsene leaving Colney for the last time – and then only hours later the bombshell announcement from Ornstein. Impressive work, I reckon, and a sign to me that the club from Kroenke down have made some cold-blooded and logical decisions with the express aim of restoring Arsenal to its position as undisputed leaders of London football – and exceptionally well-placed to mount a serious challenge to all clubs, both English and further afield.

Tim Head

@foreverheady 

227 Comments

Arsenal and the Brave New World

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@GoonerReverend ponders the hereafter this morning and the Great Leap Forward

Football waits for no man and as recent events at Arsenal have shown the show always goes on no matter what is happening or who is leaving the game that is the English Premier League. Arsene Wenger & Arsenal have parted company after 22 successful years and the club is much stronger & much better positioned than when this partnership started back in 1996. The King is dead “Long Live the King” but now we have to prepare for the next chapter in the history of The Arsenal Football Club. Replacing a manager is never easy replacing a long serving manger is nigh on impossible and you only have to look at Manchester Utd to truly understand the scale of the task facing the powers that be in the Arsenal board room. Everyone has a view on who should be Arsenal’s next manager but at the end of the day the only opinion that matters is that of the Arsenal board members designated to choose Wenger’s successor.

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The future is both exciting and frightening at the same time because nobody really knows what is going to happen when the new man takes over. Arsenal supporters all have their ideas on who should be the next manager with many demanding the appointment of a high profile manager like Max Allegri or Luis Enrique but the reality is that Arsenal have never been a club that appoints this type of manager in their entire history & are more likely to appoint a young manager with ties to the club as they feel that appointing a manager that fully understands and believes in the Arsenal values & principles will be of far greater benefit to the club’s stability than employing a short term fix that may or may not bring instant success. Fans have always been good at spending money that is not theirs because they don’t need to worry where this money is coming from and it is no different with the forthcoming appointment of the new manager.One of the fan favoutites & Juventus current manager. Max Allegri reportedly wants to know how much the Arsenal board will give him to spend on new signings & has supposedly said he would need to bring in up to 5 new players to make the team competitive. Now this is all media speculation as Arsenal never publicly divulge any discussions they are having or may have with candidates they have identified, The other alleged issue is that he is unsure if he can work within the new management structure implemented by Arsenal. Ivan Gazidis has now taken a hands-on role with the football club and moved his office to the training ground to be closer to the action along with Raul Sanllehi Head of Football Relations and Sven Mislintat Head of Player Recruitment.

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This new structure is not going to suit everyone and Gazidis stated that he is looking for a manager that will be similar in his philosophy to Wenger’s along with the clubs philosophy of developing young players while working within the club’s self sustainability model. In this current climate of spend spend spend the Arsenal manager position may not be as attractive to some big name coaches as many Arsenal fans would like to believe it is. Luis Enrique has reportedly priced himself out of the position which is very believable when you look at Arsenal’s spending policy. Joachim Low has just extended his contract with the German National Team & despite the numerous rumours and many Arsenal fans insistence that he is coming Allegri is still contracted to Juventus and they will be very reluctant to let him go. If you believe the British press former Arsenal mid-fielder and current Manchester City No.2 Mikel Arteta is the red hot favourite to be the next manager of Arsenal. Sure there are a number of reasons why Arteta is not seen by many fans as the ideal replacement for Wenger as they believe his lack of managerial experience counts against his ability to transform the current squad into a title contending squad.

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Some Arsenal fans had convinced themselves that the board would plump for a big name coach no matter what the cost but if you look at Arsenals history there is nothing to indicate that they were ever going to do that. Bertie Mee 1966-1976 Terry Neill 1976-1983 Don Howe 1983-1986 George Graham 1986-1995 Bruce Rioch 1995-1996 Arsene Wenger 1996-2018. Arsenal prefer managers with some connection to the club as they feel that if the manager has an intimate connection with the club they are more likely to respect the values of the club. Arsene Wenger was a left field appointment with no connection to the club but over the next 22 years became the focal point for the clubs values that he enthusiastically embraced and championed. Should Arsenal appoint Arteta as many are predicting it will clearly be a gamble but it will be a calculated gamble because they will be appointing a manager that clearly knows the culture and values of the club as well as many of the key stakeholders and football club staff and players he will be working with. There has been some negative comment about the possible appointment on social media but that is to be expected because everyone has their personal favourite and social media is the focal point for voicing disappointment.

Many fans believe that only a top coach with a history of winning trophies can manage Arsenal and turn them into a championship winning team but if you look at the growing influence of Josh Kronke you will understand where the club is possibly heading. In 2016 the Kronke’s fired Head Coach Jeff Fisher from their Los Angeles Rams football team and replaced him with 30 year old management rookie Sean McVey. This was a calculated gamble which has proven to be a good decision and it has become clear that Josh Kronke was central to this decision. Arsenal have always been a club that do things their own way and Josh Kronke is also a man who is very much his own man who likes to do things his way and is not adverse to taking calculated risks. There is no guarantee that the Arsenal board will appoint Arteta as their next manager but its even more doubtful that they will spend 10-15 million pounds a year on a high profile manager trying to buy success. Whatever happens and whoever they decide to appoint it is exciting times for Arsenal supporters because changing manager is a leap into the great unknown. No one really knows how it will turn out and in todays football world every new managerial appointment is a calculated risk. If Arsenal are going to take a gamble on a young manager with potential and give him the time & support to grow into the role we really are heading off into a brave new world and in the process we could be creating a new era of sustainable success for our grand old club.

147 Comments

I Come to Bury Wenger, Not To Praise Him!

Friends, Gooners, football fans, lend me your ears;

I come to bury Wenger, not to praise him;

The evil that men do lives after them,

The good is oft interred with their bones,

So let it be with Wenger…The noble Mainstream Media

Hath told you Wenger was not ambitious:

If it were so, it was a grievous fault,

And grievously hath Wenger answered it …

Here, under leave of the Mainstream Media and the rest,

For Mainstream Media is made of honourable men;

So are they all (journos, bloggers and podcasters); all honorable men.

Come I to speak in Wenger’s funeral…

He was like a friend and mentor; faithful and just to me:

But the Mainstream Media says he lacked ambition;

And the Mainstream Media are all honorable men….

He hath brought many trophies to Arsenal,

Whose glories did the general coffers fill:

Did this Wenger seem not ambitious?

When the gooners have cried, Arsene hath wept:

Surely his non-ambition should be made of sterner stuff:

Yet the Mainstream Media say he was not ambitious enough;

And the Mainstream Media is made of honourable men.

You all did see that during the barren years after building the new stadium

He was often offered bigger jobs at bigger clubs,

Which over and over he did refuse; was this loyalty or lack of ambition?

Yet the Mainstream Media says he lacked ambition;

And, sure, they are all honourable men.

I speak not to disprove what the Mainstream Media spoke,

But here I am to speak what I do know.

You all did love him once, not without cause:

What cause withholds you then to mourn for him?

O judgement! thou art fled to brutish beasts and to the Mainstream Media,

And men have lost their reason…. Bear with me;

My heart is in the coffin there with Wenger,

And I must pause till it come back to me.

Shotta’s heart was in the coffin with Wenger but has now completed his passage through the seven stages of grief and looks forward to the reign of the King being followed by the rule of the Prince, el capitan, Mikel Arteta. All who agree, say Aye!