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What’s on Arsene’s Mind during a Presser?

Today’s guest post by Varun (@WengerArmy) gives us a possible view of the thoughts in Arsene’s head in a pre-match presser  ahead of Everton.

A lightning rod of pain shot through his head. It was as though he had been speared by…well, a spear. Only, this one was invisible- like ‘Arry’s Cloak.

Press conferences, even on the best of days, were about as enjoyable as watching Tony Pulis picking his nose on the touchline. Today however, it’d be like watching Tony Pulis pretending to be a manager.

As he prepared to face the horde of ‘media personalities’- cause they sure weren’t journalists- a suitable opening remark struggled to find him. The bloody flashes from the cameras didn’t help either. In the end, he decided to go with something simple. “I have a selection headache.”  Nobody got the pun, though. It was partly true. Although Theo and Jack were back and had performed to a varying level of competence in the last game, Rosicky was suffering with his hamstring. Even before Norwich, he would’ve preferred to have continued with the same lineup that had been so good over the last 4-5 games, but you can’t help it if a player is injured or suspended. It’s all about the balance and understanding among the team. How else did people think the Invincibles were made?

They would have all sorts of questions about Wilshere, he was sure. Jack this, and Jack that. Of course he was a brilliant player- heck, there was a reason he was touted as England’s best prospect- but he wasn’t perfect. He often left his defensive partner without cover when he went forward with his driving runs- The covering that was essential, and something that Diaby was very good at. He also lacked a little bit when it came to his final ball and his decision making in that situation-Both of which were essential as a #10, and something Rosicky was very good at. And yet, Jack was everyone’s favourite.

In the former’s case, he supposed it was to do with their style of play. Jack wore his heart on his sleeve and played that way on the field. Diaby appeared to be calmer, almost as if he were a stream carrying the ball. That was what they saw, and that was what they wrote about. Jack had the ‘spirit and desire’ and Diaby was ‘careless’.

What did they know? They hadn’t seen Abou in tears, profusely apologizing for letting him down. The constant battles with injuries, just so he could play. He overcame all that mental and physical trauma to come back, time and again. The guy just wanted to play football. If these ‘journos’ had had even a fourth of those injuries, they would have been gibbering wrecks by now.

Not one of these media people appreciated football anymore. To them, it was all about the shiny silver trinkets called trophies. Football was such a dynamic game, filled with possibilities. Each step a player took ruled out and created options. It really wasn’t about the goal that was just scored, but how that goal came about- how your players functioned as a unit, each playing his own part in that creation. Everyone misses out on those nuances and  notices only the obvious parts.

Giroud labeled a ‘flop’ because he doesn’t score in 8 games. Is a striker good only if he scores goals? No one mentioned his flicks, layoffs and general hold up play which brings others into the game. And he was still in his first season. Like magic, the criticism disappeared when he scored and won a penalty. To them, this was actual football.

A good defender is one who is tall, black, has a face like a mashed potato and makes goal-line clearances. A midfielder is great if he plays incisive passes game after game. He smirked. They were guilty of the very offence they often accused the Arsenal defence of committing- ballwatching. Very few look at the field in totality.

Now that Theo’s back, what happens to Gervinho?” says a pustule from the Daily Mail. “He’s not very good, is he?”

There they go again. Gervinho, or The Forehead as some people call him. A waste of space, they say. And why? Just because he had missed a few chances and fluffed a few crosses. Wenger sighed. Why didn’t they focus on Torres? Torres missed sitters- there was a phase when he was absolute bollocks. Yet, no one says anything since that Russian forked out 50 million for the transfer. Which must mean Torres could do no wrong.
Hadn’t Hazard himself said that Gervinho was the best player he’d played with? He himself had admitted that Gervinho rushed things somewhat, and that would improve as he calmed down- he was one of those players that flourished in a positive environment. The home fans hadn’t exactly provided that.

Just yesterday, he had chanced upon a blog by that PIMP guy. It was brilliant, he thought. He smiled inwardly at the Eurofighter comparison. Gervinho only appeared erratic-like the Eurofighter that was aerodynamically unstable, hard to control and yet it was this unpredictability that allowed it to maneouver quickly in a dogfight. The very people who had mocked him have suddenly begun to praise him. Again, it is perception- he’s assisted 3 and scored 2 in 3 weeks, so he is suddenly a good player. And when the same player does the same things without scoring or assisting, he becomes ‘average’. Add ONE mistake to that and he becomes a scapegoat.

“Gervinho is a great player and he has confidence. Theo will have to fight to get his place back”

As he waited for the next question, Arsene ruminated on the other players that had been mocked by the ‘faithful’. Ramsey for ‘dwelling on the ball’ too much last season. People conveniently forget that it was his first full season after that ‘footballer’ Shawcross had almost ended his career. Also, he was overplayed and had to cope with the tragic suicide of his mentor. For all that, Aaron had never hidden. He came back stronger, and was now enjoying football, particularly as the deep lying midfielder. He’d performed solidly when asked to play in the defence too. Part of this was down to his being played on the wings- a position which had helped Aaron improve his composure and decision making significantly, Arsene thought. Yet he was still criticized for playing him ‘out of position’ by people who simply didn’t realize that they were witnessing the outcome of that exercise with Aaron’s arguably Man of the Match performance against Norwich.

Denilson- once such a bright prospect and now on the edge of leaving, all due to constant heckling by the fans.
Walcott- Once thought of as a waste. Till this season, when he burst into goal scoring form. He then became ‘indispensable’, signed a new contract and hasn’t shone since. And so many others for whom he took the blame- Fabregas, Nasri, van Persie, Hleb etc. when in reality they had betrayed his faith in them.

It was then that realization hit him. Almost all the people who ‘wanted their Arsenal back’ had no idea what they were talking about. They were like sheep, being egged and pushed on by the media who in turn were encouraged to pursue negative angles due to this culture of ‘instant gratification’ that had pervaded society through the Internet.

These days, a Twitter handle knew more than the Club Staff. Why, the person was qualified to become the Manager! On what justification? 8 trophyless years. He wasn’t about to waste his time defending himself because none would appreciate the difficulties the Club and he had faced together. Other clubs would have crumbled. Other managers would have gotten another job. Hadn’t Barcelona, Madrid, Bayern etc wanted him? Not Arsenal, and not him. He was an honourable man and he loved this Club. They would all see the plan unfold in the years to come.

For now, though, he just wanted a break. For now, he wanted to tell them all- the crowd of journalists and the so called ‘supporters’, nay, SING at them You don’t know what you’re doing!”

Putting these thoughts aside, Arsene Wenger sat up straighter in his chair. Smiling, he pointed to the next reporter in line.

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64 comments on “What’s on Arsene’s Mind during a Presser?

  1. these concepts are not difficult to grasp….yet the arsenal fan drowns in a table spoon of water…

    fuck them arsene ..spend nothing in the summer..more tickets for the true fans !!

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  2. wasnt giroud denied a penalty in the last home game…? it evens out over the course of a season .. 🙂

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  3. Christ, that’s s lot off yor chest there hunter.

    Agree with one point (out of so many) is why this sudden rush by the in the knows that we should be going out on spending £70m of OUR money this summer in a market where there is not a lot of quality on offer or value for money. People keep forgetting we have the basis of TWO top class first XI’s in the making already thanks to Wengers astute buying and promoting from within. Why buy some new mercenaries looking for 200k a week paydays who can’t even wait till the season ends in Europe to quit their clubs in public for a sniff of joining the Arsenal. More of the likes of Sami? No thanks.

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  4. Hunter
    Can some one correct me here if I’m wrong but the last time I looked this up AFC got £35m last year for 3rd place ( some trophy!) and another £30m minimum for champions league last 16. That’s not even counting TV rights, sponsorships (must do better) and match day income – which we are over reliant on. Wenger even has been forced to be turning a handy annual profit from player transfers year on year.
    It’s like spending 8 years building a beautiful fully furnished house for your Missus and then she wants to run of with some Portuguese translator who thinks he’s a bit special . Special with other people’s money, his sort are not wanted here.

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  5. someone in f365..right on the money

    “Fickle & Clueless: The Average Fan
    I’m a Newcastle fan who had previously a season ticket but due to an expanding family and other reasons had go give it up. I play football at a half decent standard but what I’ve seen today has made me lose faith in football all together.

    I’ve been to a few matches this season thanks to a couple of free tickets. It made me realise how fickle and clueless the average football fan is. None of them have played football and know better than the professional on the pitch. A professional can have a bad touch, despite the rumour they are human and just because the club you love play them alot of money to play for them they can have a bad game. Also your season ticket money goes nowhere near paying their wage, you can thank sponsers for that. A bad player is shifted out the club a good player is paid even more money so don’t complain about how much money a player on the pitch earns.”

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  6. yes DC i agree ….its like wathcing your father busting his arse working for years to build the family house with all the ensuing sacrifices and us the kids swearing at him for not getting us a bugatti veron to park outside…so that we show it to our friends when we go clubbing…

    and some think that their ticket money pays the wages …ha!…. you know when they were like complingin why wenger was earingin 7 a year..well somone offered that amount to him and besides he makes it back x 8 times minimum with the positions he attains…he wasnt voted number one in money spent/positions won ratio just for nothing.. mou is paid 11m a year and ends the years with a 150-200m loss ( chelsea, inter) ….. go figure.

    and yeah man i dont wont to win with effing goetze..i want to see ramsey lifting it and sticking the finger to all the doubters 😉

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  7. I’d better correct those numbers while George is sleeping:
    3rd place Premier League in 2012 = £56.22m*
    UEFA CL last 16 in 2012 (for arsenal co-efficent) = £22.81m*. Chavs got £48m for winning it which is a double crime.
    This money pays for about half the wage bill.
    So there’s a myth busted – league place is financially more rewarding, but by heck our UEFA co-efficent is the fucking family silver. Thats been hard grafted by Wenger for years and it’s something the likes of City can’t buy. Hence we get a top seed in our groups stages (no i’m not going to tempt fate) and City don’t. 113.39 ounces of pure unobtainium.

    Arsenal before Wenger = annual turnover of £20m = a small club. What fucker want’s that back?? Arsenal Today = annual turnover of £243m** = a world class club.
    When Wenger retires from this club on his 111th birthday they should build him a gold statue the size of the one they have outside Stalingrad.

    *source: sporting intelligence
    ** NB because of clever accounting the stadium debit is deducted, otherwise our turnover would be higher.

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  8. I was privileged (or frightened) to be a part of that twitter convo with P.I.M.P last night. I told him later I felt a bit like I had brought a knife to a gun fight. Wisely, I sat back and let him make his point, which as Shotta pointed out, he did well. To no avail, I’m afraid, as the person to whom it was directed kept making the same points over and over. “CL is not a trophy” “qualifying for a tournament we can never win” “Why should we lower expectations” “so you’re happy we’re at the same level as Spurs and Everton now” and blah, blah, blah. He did finally give up, but I think it was because PIMP just wore him down. And, to be fair, he was nice to me – after he called me a guy. (Insert banned smiley here)

    @ hunter13 @11:42
    “and yeah man i dont wont to win with effing goetze..i want to see ramsey lifting it and sticking the finger to all the doubters”

    I am on board with this.

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  9. Oh, and I was remiss. Fabulous post, Varun. Terrific writing.

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  10. “but by heck our UEFA co-efficent is the fucking family silver. Thats been hard grafted by Wenger for years and it’s something the likes of City can’t buy.”

    thank you george and everyone involved for opening this blog. dc you dont understand how much i agree. the difference in these last 16 years is the difference youd normally expect to find at a football club in a span of a century. and its all nearly paid off already….while making profits and remaining in the champions league…with kids who couldnt shave and chopping every summer and rebuilding and injuries and a deranged ref system plus a bunch of anti pricks in our face critisising non stop..wenger is a hero.

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  11. Excellent post, Varun.

    @Hunter and DC.

    Another meme which has started to make the rounds in doomerland is the one about Arsenal making it into the CL only to get knocked out immediately after getting past the group stage. Never mind that we played a final against the team which would eventually rule Europe for the next few years and faced them at their pomp twice, consecutively no less, in 2011 and 2012. The last time it took a very dubious double yellow on the Dutch boy to get rid of us. But to those who want to make it seem as if Arsenal are on a downward spiral, this doesn’t matter.

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  12. thanks a lot for that brilliant writing

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  13. Excellent post Varun

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  14. Brilliant piece of writing varun!! Absolutely genius! 🙂 keep up the good work!!

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