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Plan A

Hate-Spurs-Baby-Grow-EBAY_zpsaf6ccac9As Arsenal are weathering the early home pressure and I search for ways to cope with the rising anger at the hapless biased negativity of the truly horrible commentary team, my thoughts drift to The Plan. Some people have called it Project Youth some have seen it as a series of decisions based entirely upon financial straight jackets while a frankly silly minority have attempted (unconvincingly) to propagate the belief that there is no plan. Personally I’ve never thought that The Plan was particularly complex, elliptical nor difficult to grasp. Arsène has always been up front and honest when it comes to explaining The Plan. Put simply, he has striven to build a squad of exciting young talent either bought in or home grown and to blend it with experienced players of international renown. He then adds a dash of stardust seasoning in the shape of one or two truly world class footballers. The over riding criteria being that whether callow or seasoned these players should be inventive, intelligent, clean living and good looking and able to adapt themselves to the wonder that is Wengerball. See? Simple isn’t it? Of course high profile defections in search of money and a sickening spate of injuries have often robbed him of both the older and younger players forcing him to promote, buy and borrow in successive rebuilding operations which have disrupted the personnel but never derailed The Plan.

I feel that the current squad may be the most perfect realisation of The Plan that we have seen. Others would disagree but yar boo sucks to them. This is my turn and I’ll paint the blog whatever shade of red and white that I like. If you take the defensive side of our team for example it really is the perfect encapsulation of The Plan in microcosm. I think of our defensive unit as comprising Szczęsny, Bac, Gibbs, Per, Kos and Mikel Arteta. I include Mikel although the Flaminator could just as easily fit the bill. Either way the midfielder most likely to be found protecting the back four is an integral part of our rearguard. So that’s three young players either bought from obscurity or groomed from a very young age in-house and three massively experienced hugely knowledgeable footballers the whole shebang combining grace, speed, enthusiasm, maturity, skill, anticipation, acceleration, pace and power into a big gumbo of footy loveliness. As I say an encapsulation of The Plan.

One element of The Plan has undoubtedly been Project Youth. I don’t deny the existence of The Project. However this has never been, is not and hereafter never shall be the whole plan. Never ever ever no matter what you may have heard or thought, so clear your muddled head of such zany baloney.  Any sensible well run responsible club will have a decent youth set up and will give very many young sportsman the best possible start in their sporting life and at Arsenal that’s precisely what happens. Some of those youngsters will gain first team experience and some will go on to become first choice. Not many of course but more than you’d expect to see in most top teams. But Project Youth is only a part of The Plan. The reason I highlight it here and the reason I believe our current squad to be such a fine example and realisation of The Plan is this. Project Youth takes time. Buying a player takes a bit of scouting, negotiating and cheque writing it’s true but this is peanuts to planting and growing your own young players. What age were Jack or Kieron? They were still in red and white nappies when they first started for us and it has taken a very long time to get to where we are today. Similarly Theo and Aaron. They were bought in for sure but before they’d done their GCSE’s. Or thereabouts. My point is it took time for them to bridge that boy to man gap. And now we are here. The vast wealth of experience possessed by the likes of Per, Mikel, Podolski, Tomas, Bacary, Santi, is now combined with youngsters who are now actually no longer boys but professional footballers just entering their best years. Look at Aaron. He is merely a junior member of the team. And he’s the best player in the country right now. By a country mile.  And that’s my point. The youth/experience balance is still there but now the young players have enormous experience. Still learning of course but not kids. Not in footballing terms. Not any more.

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57.27 seconds. Aaron Ramsay pulls off a tackle on the edge of our area that Bobby Moore would have boggled at. And then he instigates a counter attack that ends with their keeper making  a good save at the near post from a Jack Wilshere volley. It just happened. At the moment that I finished writing the last paragraph. Kind of proving my point. There’s really only one ingredient missing as far as The Plan is concerned. The players need to know how it feels to win. Not just matches. They know how to win big and important matches. They need to know how it feels to win competitions. To know that together they can see the job through to the end. I see no reason to suppose they can’t do it and that their time is now. And as I typed that Theo banged it into the net. Like we all knew he could. And he also kind of proved my point. He is ready now, no longer a kid. His misfortune in hitting a keeper in fine form on Saturday counted for nothing when his chance came this evening. He is young, quick and a menace to defenders but he is also sufficiently experienced to have patience and perspective. Those precious commodities so transparently lacking in so many supporters and yet so absolutely essential in the psyche of a top professional sportsman.

Well it’s 71 minutes in and I’ve stopped typing so I can enjoy the last 20 minutes of the game. I wonder when Giroud will score. I wonder what will happen if he doesn’t? Will the ravens flee the tower? I wonder if Sky’s commentary apparatchiks ever lock themselves in a cubicle in the gents with their faces in their hands sobbing quietly at having to repeat such Orwellian doublespeak as “Arsenal have always drawn easy groups” and “Arsenal’s squad is looking thin”. I know they need the money, we all have bills to pay, but I’d like to think that if I was called upon to do something so blatantly immoral and clearly wrong in the course of my working day that I’d have the courage to say no.

I suppose if I told you I was wondering just when Aaron would score as the clock approached 83 minutes you wouldn’t believe me would you?

Still sat here concerned about the ravens though.

About steww

Arsenal, books, photography, bass guitar, dog walking, mountain biking, being on the radio, writing, talking too much, failing, making mistakes, buggering on regardless.

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132 comments on “Plan A

  1. Hehehe. Morning STEWW. sorry about too much heat.
    As a group we are insulted on daily basis and we must take it laying down. Yah right.

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  2. Are there any administrators free at the minute? I need help.

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  3. Harry, you are not abused there because you are generally around the middle ground there. On the occasions I have popped up there to see if any semblance of normality has returned, I am always disappointed with the constant negativity. Also, it seems these people are always online and whining. The likes of Loomer, arse_or_brain have been abused for daring to rain on their moan parade.

    This is one direct quote from JJ when he was “discussing” with Moe (I think, not sure): “Who got sand up your vagina?” How insensitive is that to the pain of native american women? not to mention how incredibly sexist it. Even if you ignore all that, how can someone who responds to criticism that way be a person who can be viewed seriously?

    Even Piers Morgan will say that he wants the club to do well, but what has he done to help HIS club? Has he supported the team through difficulties or acted like a spoilt brat? Some Arsenal fans remind me of the spoilt kids who jump up and down when they get an iphone 4 and curse their parents when they dont get iphone5. That is precisely how some of the Arsenal fans behave.

    Wenger is one of the biggest fans if not the biggest fan of this club. He is also universally agreed to be one of the best managers in the world. I personally believe he is the best. No-one is more critical of Wenger than Wenger himself. He has said that every time he loses, it is like a little death to him. That is crazy. That is how much of a winner he is. With the board and a few good people at Arsenal, Wenger has built us to be a club in the top bracket of football for the rest of mankind’s history. That is how ambitious he is. How big an ambition is that compared to winning a few trophies and then going into obscurity? So, even if you dont sing his name, why not let the best man for the job, do the job?

    Support the club. Support the manager and Support the players.

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  4. @ steww September 20, 2013 at 11:55 am
    ha ha

    And just to cheer everyone up, Arteta may be fit and in the squad for Sunday!

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  5. Harry has a good point, but I fear the wrong one. No one should say “no criticism”, or not ask why this, why that, it’s football to be enjoyed and analyzed, that’s half the fun. I love all the tactical stuff. Did we get it right? Who performs where, how? What kind of result. But that’s not the point. The point is to question the motives, and sincerity of supporters who neglected to support at critical moments when club and players needed cheering, and all and sundry were humming that tired old tune “Arsenal in crisis”.

    That ended, pitifully in hindsight, in a mantra inside Arsenal support ranks, predicting anxiously “is this the end of an era”? The epilogue to which goes something like WDWWWWDWDWWWLWWWWW, or whatever.

    No, 18 games with one loss is not a season, a trophy, nor a massive and sustained success, but it is what it is: a visible, tangible trend, the equivalent of just under half a season, that says factually Arsenal emerged as the form team in England from the Munich game onwards and show no signs of abating, despite some injury difficulties.

    The important thing to remember is that trend was achieved by the same group of players often said to be failures, individually and collectively, not too long before; but the manager, whoever he is, stuck with them, believed in them, coached them, and thought they could do well, and so it has proved. So, fair’s fair. Give credit, and support.

    Life is simple.

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  6. administrators? of this site?

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  7. @ ZimPaul September 20, 2013 at 12:28 pm
    Exactly.

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  8. I’m an arts administrator of sorts.

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  9. yes SA .Stew, Andrew,Adi or Ronan to be precise.

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  10. Hahaha. SENSATIONAL, that was me jj was having a go at with the sexist remark. Don’t worry , I set his ass straight. Him and a few of his gang.

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  11. By the way, the illustrious chairman nominated him the best poster of the year. Lol… Seriously.

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  12. I love Harry but please! Let us not excuse the purveyors of bullshit for the past two years. “That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history.”

    ZimPaul put it best:
    “Then what does one call the informed and erudite fan, who knowingly, willfully set out to manipulate malleable, weak minds with outright lies, selective lies, omission of facts, outrageous claims (often dressed up as modest, humble appeals for change and “end of an era”), manipulating and flinging about all manner of base emotions, with the objective to erode team and club morale, it’s achievements, and get Wenger out?”

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  13. Can we not harp on about ACLF and the posters.I am not saying it bothers me,it doesn’t,but it leaves those doing it open it being accused of pettiness.
    Trouble is that they do deserve it.So I am conflicted.

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  14. Sorry GK. I couldnt remember exactly. Thanks for putting him in place. If someone had said such a comment in person, I would have lost my cool.

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  15. Hi Harry

    Don’t be a stranger.
    I thought Hunter made vague sense for once above (IBSF), and I didn’t read that he inferred that the manager is above critique. Zim above writes what I would like to say.

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  16. Also, I find interesting who the failures were said to be, and what happened in real life. Aaron was advised to be loaned out. Form player of EPL 2013 to date amongst a galaxy of stars, at just 22 (and if anyone really noticed this has its roots in the season prior). Giroud was OK, second striker material, not RvP league, we needed a “hot shot”. Form striker of EPL 2013, to date. Jenks was entirely just not good enough. I haven’t noticed this in the current season, nor has anyone else; I think he’ll end up playing for his country. Chewie was a big disappointment. I think he’s looked good this season, and performances so far have been up there with the best keepers about. Gibbs was good enough, but never rated amongst the best. MoTM v Marseilles, and almost not possible not to pick him. Tomas was past-it, injury crock and all that. Well, he played an emphatic role in those 18 games. Theo was good but inconsistent. Really? Look at the stats over an extended period. Per was slow. I think he’s arguably first choice CB now, certainly in the big matches, even with a majestic Kos. Nacho was hardly noticed. So we needed to buy, buy, buy. Then we had a transfer crisis, whatever that is. What did Arsene say, and do? He said, what we have is excellent, my job is to prepare and train them for the coming campaign, that 95% of what’s needed, although we will strengthen.

    OK, then, rant over.

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  17. < Zim & Shotta write what…

    …I'd like to add I came here to get away from having to read the lies being spread (for a long duration) on other forums about the club by people who were committed to wanting the manager out no matter what. Unfortunately Harry that includes people who use the managers emails (written by the PR team – I laugh every time that I read them) to critique the manager, and the club. Poor, poor form.

    Don't darken my door with that rubbish, as the wise Ronan said, something like that.

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  18. I see a meme that many of us have tried to push, that players out for a long time need a long time to recover, is finally filtering down to the hacky slappers. About time that some of them clicked that footballers are athletes, the twats.
    Inverse propaganda. Like with the calculated groaning, simple repetition can be effective. However, seeing as most of hacks this week were referring to St. Jack I have my doubts as to whether this wisdom will be maintained. Progress. it can be slow.

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  19. BTW – George is getting a lot of stick on Twitter for refusing to allow the fair-weather supporters to jump back on the Aaron Ramsey bandwagon without being held accountable for their anti-support when the going was rough. Those snidy know-it-all pricks who declared our squad is weak despite going unbeaten since beating Bayern Munich or their support was conditional on Wenger making a big signing.

    Forgive and forget. Really!

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  20. No apology needed between friends SENSATIONAL. jj is the one who needs to apologize. To women, a few different nationalities and to all true gooners. I had plenty of support there. Everyone except the most gullible saw through his bulshevik.

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  21. I agree a wee bit with Harry.
    We could end up being too piously smug on here.

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  22. Shotta

    It’s not Mangan that turned NB to the drink.
    I will still support Bentner while he is an Arsenal player, I’ve supported naughtier bad boys than him in the past.

    You have a valid point about that blog, sometimes there is a bit of malice behind the cheeky humour.

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  23. There is some irony in people using twitter or blogs to form amateur psychological profiles of people. A demented spectacle. Especially if you consider how many of them were duped by committed wind up merchants spreading rumours all summer long. It’s not as if twitter has a record of hilarity and unreliability when discussing football transfers (see Liverpool last year and the signing of Bornini). To me this is all too funny.

    Almost as funny as the now legendary humbling of Levy. Almost, but not quite! Whatever else happens this season, some events have already entered the history books.

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  24. The humble pie the have consumed is giving the whole lot of them a belly ache.

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  25. new post is up.
    Anyone got a tin hat?

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  26. Arteta fit you say ?? Yeeeeeehah – great to see him back although I guess he might start on the bench and work his way back in

    Who would have thought a few weeks ago he would have to force his way back in ?

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  27. Shotta 1:13pm
    Now that I do agree with wholeheartedly.

    But let’s keep the stocks and public floggings off the agenda till next May.
    The Man will definitely be coming around then.

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  28. @Harry
    I guess your short memory is a blessing in disguise because I do tend to keep grudges (bannend smiley thing). I can remember it when a certain group of negative posters wrote “Wenger out” in the aftermath of the Bardford loss, a poster stating that “Wenger has instilled a culture of losing into our DNA” somewhen this year or, before the Bayern away game someone stating that we could get a result if we had “a solid defence and a sound tactical plan, things we are unlikely to implement”.

    I just find it difficult to see past it now that things are good. I know that those more negative posters are now more moderate in their criticism, instead of accusing Wenger of not knowing tactics and being reluctant to spend, they dish out backhanded compliments in the vein of being glad we bought Özil but mentioning that it’s all down to fan pressure when there is no bloody indication that fan pressure has had anything to do with it. All from the same people who had accused Wenger of being stubborn for years. So now the stubborn old man is getting bullied by a bunch of fans?

    But I also know that those same people will revert back to type as soon as we come across a stumbling block. They will look for scapegoats, try to blame it all on the manager, the well known chorus of 1GK1CB1DM1ST will ring around again in the blogosphere.

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  29. Harry September 20, 2013 at 11:43 am

    “To say someone is beyond critique is so ridiculous that i don’t know how to respond to it. ”

    where/when has anyone said anything like that mate?

    and funny you mention politics cause i doubt the halfwits you’re defending make as much noise or have as strong opinions about politics or real situations that affect their lives as they do about arsenal or wenger….

    and to put it correctly noone said that wenger is beyond critique, but its good to know what and why youre criticising him for and when most our fans havent got a clue what the club has been trying to do the last 8 years it makes their critique immature and stupid.

    its a choice….i choose not to critisise cause i realise i know far less and that they have convinced me all these past years with their stance and their actions that they work for the long term good of the football club.

    others chose this period to moan and hold wenger responsible for not spending or winning titles. you find that logical? correct? decent? something a supporter would do?

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  30. and if its about the right to an opinion then yes every can have one…which essentially means that there will be clever ones and not so clever ones. Saying that Wenger cant coach or spend money or any of the bullshit said the past 3-4 years belongs to the category of stupidity or trolling

    you have to either be very thick to doubt managers like arsene wenger or some troll who is doing it on purpose. you certainly cant consider yourself intelligent having an opinion that he aint good at spending money or at coaching defence or whatever other…

    reporters are serial trolls they do it for money they need the clicks. our supporters blogs why though? are they thick? manipulated? or do they also want the clicks?….

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