What’s Arsène worth? – Debunking an Arsène Wenger Myth.

May 31, 2011

How many times do we read of the size of Mr Wenger’s wage packet? Some have said that our leader benefits from the profitability of the club which they proclaim accounts for his penchant to buy small and his insistence of selling big. Thankfully, this nonsense has been rebutted and rarely raises it’s ugly head, even in the most anti-AW sites.

We know that Mr Wenger is paid £6m a year. A huge wage. Is he deserving of it? Does this affect his performance insomuch as he is guaranteed his wage whether the team performs or not? What is your opinion?

Here is mine. Let us assume that Arsène has been earning an average of  £3m a year throughout his AFC tenure (probably conservative). 13 years adds up to almost £40m. Take away a lump in tax, say 50% = £20m in cash, in the bank. This is without the inevitable increases a man of his financial abilities will promote. Furthermore, a few years as Head Coach in a League winning Monaco team and a couple of years in the highly paid J League  – both of which were tax-free – would mean he was a wealthy man even prior to his AFC calling.

In other words, this is a man with a probable bank balance of in excess of £25m. A rich man, no let me amend that, an enormously rich man.

What would you do if you were 61 years old and had more money than you could ever spend? Would you go through the frustrations of trying to satisfy an insatiable Arsenal fanbase? Would you take the insults aimed at you from the blogs and terraces? Or would you say, “Enough. It is pipe and slippers time”?

My point is that it is totally irrelevant how much AW earns at the moment. It has no impact whatsoever upon his efficiency as Arsenal manager. He does it because he loves AFC and believes he is the best man for the job.

In my opinion, to suggest that Mr Wenger stays at Arsenal for the money is a nonsense, but if you know better …………

 

Written by Big Raddy


What should Arsenal fans realistically expect us to achieve next season?

May 30, 2011

Today is going to be a very slow news day on the blogosphere. The transfer rumours are only just gaining momentum and most expect Arsenal to either take second pickings behind the big spenders or to sign players who would not be targets for other top clubs.

Following on from yesterday’s debate, I thought it would be interesting to have a benchmark at this point to refer back to at the end of the summer, or at the same time next season.

The question I would ask is…. “What should Arsenal fans realistically expect us to achieve next season?”

Our happiness or disappointment is simply a measure of how the outcome compares to our own individual expectation.

For Arsenal to have progressed next year I would expect the following:

1. Top 3 in the Premiership

2. Top of our group in the CL and reach the quarter finals

3. To win a cup competition if we choose to put out our strongest side

4. To have shored up the defence

5. To have a strong finish to the season

These are just talking points, but it would be interesting to see how the expectations of the ‘cup half full’ers’ compare to those branded as being half empty. Paradoxically, the level of expectation is likely to be inversely proportional to the level of optimism.

What would be the least you would be happy with as an Arsenal fan at this time next year?


Man Utd Flops Show That Arsenal Can Dominate English Football

May 29, 2011

If you ask Pep Guardiola which team were his most difficult opponents en route to winning the Champions League, I can guarantee that his answer won’t be Manchester United.

It will, of course, be Arsenal.

In yesterday’s final at Wembley, United were clueless and gutless.

They scored with practically their only attempt on goal and for the rest of the game were chasing shadows. In the final half an hour it was clear that they had given up. They had been beaten on the pitch and beaten in their heads. It was almost embarrassing to watch their lame capitulation.

If the referee had been the same card-happy Swiss dipstick that we got for the second leg in the Nou Camp they would also have been down to 10 men long before the end.

Rooney blustered around the place with his familiar “you spilt my pint” expression. He took his goal well but otherwise was completely ineffectual. If he’s the best that English football has to offer it’s no wonder we’re so bad in international tournaments. He’d be lucky to make the bench for Barcelona.

Valencia might as well have been IN Valencia for all the good he did, Giggs looked more superannuated than super injuncted, Carrick and Park spent the game chasing shadows and I had to check the team sheet to be sure that Hernandez was playing.

The fact that Vidic and Van der Saar had good games was all that kept the score respectable.

And as for Evra… well, watching it in North America, there was a great moment towards the end of the game when the Fox Channel co-commentator said: “It’s men against boys.” (Evra, you’ll remember, made the same gloating comment about us last season).

When the cameras cut away to the claret conked Caledonian after the third Barca goal he looked as utterly defeated as I’ve seen him since the Invincibles used to dish out regular drubbings to his teams. He knew there was no chance of repeating the flukey 1999 win this time round: for one thing he could see that his players had no fight in them.

From an Arsenal point of view it just made me angry.

This is a very ordinary United side and certainly the weakest English champions for a very long time. If Arsenal had had a little more maturity and composure this season we would have won the league at a canter.

Contrast yesterday’s game with our recent matches against Barcelona.

This season we deservedly beat them 2-1 at The Grove. And at the Nou Camp we were well on the way to knocking them out until the aforementioned Swiss conehead sent off Robin van Persie in what looked then and still looks now like a premeditated act of vindictiveness or corruption.

Up until then Barca had hardly had a clean chance on goal. And even after the sending-off we were only one Bendtner touch away from putting them out of the competition. With only 10 men. In the Nou Camp.

At the final whistle Guardiola looked as relieved as you’ll ever see him.

Last season they absolutely outplayed us in the first half at The Grove, but unlike United we didn’t give up. We came back at them like tigers in the second half and earned a 2-2 draw from 0-2 down. We were well beaten in the second leg because we were bereft of half the first team through injury.

So – and I apologise for the delay – it’s time to return to the message of my headline: how the United defeat yesterday offers hope for Arsenal.

In the Arsenal Arsenal comments after the game I noticed this statement from TotalArsenal: I reckon that over the next few years only Arsenal(‘s style of football) will have a serious chance to beat Barca in the CL. Come on Arsène, buy us a few decent players and we can do it!”

I have no great love for Barcelona. They tarnish their brilliant footballing reputation with cheating, diving and simulation. But they play a brand of football which is quite mesmerising.

It also feels absolutely modern, a turn-of-the-wheel in how the game should be played (and yes, I know its roots go back to Total Football and beyond to the great Brazil side of 1970). United’s play, by contrast, looked unsophisticated and old-fashioned.

I agree with TotalArsenal: In the EPL only Arsenal have a footballing philosophy that can hope to match the Catalans.

Which is why there are grounds for optimism for Arsenal. Our end of season collapse was pretty dreadful, but I don’t buy the argument that it was our system that made it happen. In fact it was our system that got us to a point at the end of February where we were in a cup final, we had beaten Barcelona, we were still in the FA Cup and we had a serious chance of snatching the league title.

What happened subsequently was, in my opinion, about a lack of maturity among the team in general and about a lack of quality in some of the players. Both these failings can be put right by letting some players go and by bringing in some more experienced personnel. Arsene Wenger has said that he will be doing both these things this summer.

Arsene’s experiment is not just about trying to win things with young players. It is also about trying to win things with a Barcelona style of play. This season I believe he has finally realised that the existing squad can’t quite pull it off, but his response will be to create a squad that can do it. And he’s right to try and do so.

I expect more up-and-coming coaches to start to emulate Barcelona’s style. This is the new wave and we need to surf it or get left behind in the doldrums, which is exactly where United are heading.

There is considerable talk of us slipping out of the top four next year. Some of our more negative supporters even have us finishing mid table.

But they’re wrong. I firmly expect us to come much, much closer to being champions next season than we have done for six years. I believe we will dominate the league with the same, modern style of play that has led Barcelona to dominate Europe. And then we’ll beat them too.

Saying that you trust Arsene these days is exposing yourself to ridicule from many quarters. I don’t care. I do trust him, and I will enjoy the humble pie that his critics will be eating this time next year.

RockyLives


Arsenal’s Season in Headlines – Part 1

May 28, 2011

With the last game out of the way and a football-free summer upon us (unless you get turned on by the Under 21s), I thought it might be a good idea to examine our season through the prism of the headlines that have accompanied the daily post here on Arsenal Arsenal.

With a new post every day and a long season, I’m breaking it up into sections, starting today with August, September and October. The remaining months will be covered in two more posts over the coming week or so.

It’s an interesting exercise: some headlines now seem prophetic (“As the Transfer Deadline Approaches Are We Really Strong Enough?”), others seem full of pathos (“West Bromwich Preview: Unbeaten & On The Way To Invincible”) while others still are plain bonkers, which accurately reflects a certain portion of the AA DNA (“I Am An Arsenal Supporter and Windows 7 Was My Idea”)..

You can also always spot an international break – that’s when the nostalgia pieces start coming out!

Read on if you can bear it, and relive our Season 2010/2011 (and of course, feel free to link on any of the pieces and dip back into the excellent prose that has kept AA such an enjoyable destination all season long)…

August

Pool – Arsenal in at the Deep End

Losing Would Have Been a Very Bad Start

Sack Wenger; Win Something

Almunia: Dead Man Walking? ….. and the Real Stats

Money to Burn

Exploited Gooners – the Final Fanshare Straw?

Blackpool Rocks….

Arsenal Crush Blackpool 6-0

The Arsenal Transfer Mystery?

Arsenal’s Dodgy Centre Halves

Tomas Rosicky – Little Mozart Is Playing The Right Tune

Doomer vs AKB: Decoded

UEFA’s New Financial Rules Will Benefit Arsenal

Blackburn ….. Would You Risk Cesc?

Arsenal Were Stronger, Blackburn were Blackburn

As the Transfer Deadline Approaches, Is Our Squad Really Strong Enough ?

Today’s the Day

September

Almunia Stays As Number One So Let’s Move On

Szczesny, Come on Down and Save Our Season

Peter Simpson Remembered

Arsenal Programmes Before Programs

Arsenal Players We’ve Missed – and Some We Haven’t

September 6th, a Landmark Day in Arsenal’s History

Jagielka, Cahill and Hart ….. a Glimpse of What Might Have Been?

So Far So Good Part 1. The Defence

So Far So Good Part 2. Midfield and Attack

Arsenal Supporters, Look to the Cookie … and Other Things I’ve Learned

Coyle’s Conundrum

Thunderbirds Are Go

The Magic of Highbury …. Lest We Forget

Cahill’s Ban Should Be Extended

You Know We Will Win, But….

Six of the Best ….. the Cesc and Jack Show

Van Persie on the Bench for the Champions League Final

Cesc Happy with Cattermole’s Ban. Sunderland Preview

Wenger is Asking Too Much of Wilshere.

Goodbye Denilson

Into the House of Darkness – WHL

Arsenal 4 – 1 Them Lot: Spurs Are Such Nice Hosts Aren’t They?

Arsène Outwits ‘Arry

Wenger is Not Very Clever……..

West Bromwich Preview – Unbeaten & on the Way to Invincible

One Day Chicken, Next Day Feathers

2010 Arsenal Embarrassed ……. What Went Wrong in 2005?

Partizan. Fabianski to Have a Quiet But impressive Game

Arsenal Back To Winning Ways

Song’s Position In Question

RockyLives


Wenger : The man doth rotate too much

May 27, 2011

Written by Gooner in Exile

On Monday 27th December Arsenal took on and beat Chelsea at home. I was very content as finally I had seen our team in blistering form, moving through the gears during a ninety minute display against a major rival that many of us had not witnessed for some time.

Many fans including me proclaimed thanks that finally Arsene had identified his first team, who could argue, with Jack and Alex holding down centre midfield, Theo, Cesc and Samir causing all kinds of problems and Robin up front our team was looking frightening going forward. With the defence coming together also things were looking rosy for the second half of the season.

Following that game we travelled to Wigan away, Arsene proclaimed that there was little to be gained from rotating one or two players but that rotating seven or eight is okay as it causes less disruption (another piece of Arsene logic that I think is best left undiscussed). The side that ran out to play at the JJB was a shadow of the team that played against Chelsea. At the time I defended our manager for his decision, knowing we were amidst a busy festive schedule and approaching a succession of cup games in the near future, I felt he was right to send out the team he did and that the team should have been able to win that game, it failed.

Arsene instead of making eight changes in that game could have made two or three, and then for the next match two or three again.

I admit I have changed my mind, I hope Arsene does too, it has been clear to most of us that a gulf in quality has emerged this season between the first team regulars and the squad players. Sending the likes of Eboue, Denilson, Gibbs, Rosicky and Diaby out to play together does nothing for any of them, they are all capable players, they are not our best players and for me they would benefit more from starting alongside the majority of the first team regulars, rather than amongst players of similar quality.

Also by making these wholesale changes Arsene is inviting the opposition to up their game, by making eight changes Martinez was given an easy job for a team talk “who do this lot think we are, they think they can send out their reserves and beat us….lets show them who we are make them respect us”. I imagine both Leeds and Leyton Orient managers would have given very similar team talks.

Most of our “poor” performances in January and February featured many of these squad players, I believe that these results with the accompanied dissatisfaction from the fans had a significant effect on the confidence of these players. So much effect in fact that they all became virtually unusable as the season reached the business end. Partly due to reaction to their selection from pundits and fans and also because the players themselves have been on an apparent downward spiral.

I will leave you with a brief comparison.

In the last nineteen games of the season Arsenal started 25 different players, 15 of those players started 5 or more games, 11 started more than 10 games.

In the same nineteen games Manchester United started 24 different players, 20 of those started 5 or more games, 8 started more than 10 games.

There is a subtle difference, their squad players were brought in and out during the run in, as a result the whole squad feel part of the team, I fear that the squad players at Arsenal have become like the last kid to be picked in the playground, only wanted because there is no one else. With that mindset and the reality that they will be dropped when the absent player is fit or back from suspension why would they give all they can on the pitch or try and prove the manager wrong.

So enough of the wholesale changes, two or three players every week, to freshen up the side and legs. We as fans may have to be patient too, no hissy fits because X or Y is in the team, rotation works, if Carrick, Evans, Gibson, and O’Shea have been able to win Premier League winners medals it must do!


My rant about everything Arsenal, by GunnerN5

May 26, 2011

Written by GunnerN5

Part 1.

Home Crowd – When, oh when, will they learn just how important it is for our players to have their supporters fully behind them?  Our home crowd seem to be stuck in the thinking that the team needs to entertain them in order for them to show their real support, whereas I believe that if they gave unabashed support throughout the game then maybe the team would react positively instead of reacting negatively to the silence followed by moans and groans and boos.  Oh, how I dislike hearing the moans and groans and especially hearing the boo boys!

My goodness, all you hear from the attending dissenters is that it’s the person sitting next to them that’s  the problem and not them – or it’s Elvis or the acoustics or the stewards etc, etc, – BS at it’s worst – let’s blame it on anything or anybody but me!

Then they show their true colours (black) by demonstrating and threatening not to renew their season tickets as we don’t win trophies – frankly who gives a  damn.

Fair weather fans for sure and “supporters” we can do without.

If you are a home attendee then please understand that YOU are the problem and not someone else –   if you believe you are NOT a part of the problem then at least (next season) spread your passion to the people around you – maybe the atmosphere can be changed one seat at a time.

Whatever happened to the supporters of old who would freeze their nuts off to stand in rain and snow just to watch their beloved Arsenal, I guess now they sink into their red seats and wait for something exciting to happen.  |God forbid they make a noise in case they wake up the person sleeping next to them.

It’s embarrassing to say this (in fact, I hate saying it) but the 16, 000 home fans of Stoke City show more passion than our mob, who have been spoilt by the good times brought to us by Arsene Wenger.  Stoke fans show an unreserved love for their team (and they show it) while ours only love positive results, blaming others or, of course – silverware.

Away Supporters – It’s a joy to both see and hear the level of support shown, they are vocal and passionate and show just what it means to truly support the Gunners and they are among the highly valued minority who cheer at the Emirates.

The only thing black about them is the black looks they give to the home “supporters”

Part 2.

 Captaincy –   Does anyone else remember the picture of Tony Adams standing over and glowering down at Alan Smith, Smith was lying in a heap on the ground after being felled by Adams, he was an 18/19 year old cocky upstart with Leeds United and earlier he made a bad tackle on Adams – Tony put him in his place.

My friends, Tony Adams, (Mr. Arsenal) was a Captain personified and he created the textbook for future Captains, sadly it’s very apparent that only Patrick Vieira read the book the rest have been mere pretenders.

We need a Captain that takes no prisoner’s, who has nothing but a winning mentality, whose heart is so big that it won’t fit inside his chest and someone that refuses to rationalize the reason for losses and ties – in his mind they are simply unacceptable.

He has to be the vocal on field General, organiser and motivator; he needs a dynamo for his engine, he needs to show by example how to play the game and he will never – ever give up.

Stand up Thomas Vermaelen.

 To come..

Part 3 – Heart, Desire, Commitment, Passion, Pride

Part 4 – Entitlement vs. Reality

Part 5 – Size and Physicality

Part 6 – The team

Part 7 – The Management

Part 8 –  2011/12

Part 9 – Arsenal through the decades

Today marks the anniversary of our amazing 2-0 win at Liverpool in 1989 which secured the title and led to great celebrations amongst Gooners. Last year we published an article written by BigRaddy to mark the occasion, it’s a timeless masterpiece, read and enjoy http://arsenalarsenal.wordpress.com/2010/05/30/a-belated-happy-birthday-and-the-renaissance-of-football/

Happy 26th May to all.


Goal of the month? Of the season? Is our passing game killing us?

May 25, 2011

Written by WiganGooner

When we look for markers during the summer to show us where we went wrong I think we should consider the lack of true quality we have shown up front this season.

Playing one up front has stifled our attacking threat to a point that when we do bomb forward to try and press home advantage and nick a goal (because that’s all we seem to do now) we leave ourselves open on the counter. How many times have we seen it this season?

We are the only side that employ a defensive midfielder, give him the job of being that said defensive midfielder and then let him roam forwards with impunity, leaving a less-experienced, but perhaps more eager player in Jack Wilshire to stay back and try and mop up.

That’s getting away from my point though, this season we haven’t achieved a single “Goal of the month” on Match of The Day. Not one. Every year for the last fifteen-odd years we’ve always had at least one entry, not this year. We haven’t shown significant quality to do it. Why? Because going forwards we aren’t as creative, as clever or as swift as we used to be.

The Premiership has got quicker and we’ve got slower. We try to play a continental passing game, but in this Formula 1 Premiership it is too easy to defend against. It’s too slow! We even changed formation to try and play this way. We can’t play that passing game in a 4-4-2 because there aren’t enough triangles, enough combinations of players close enough to the ball, so because it doesn’t work in a 4-4-2 we’ve changed to a 4-2-3-1 to accommodate Cesc and this passing game.

This Barcelona-esque passing game is no use to us in the Premiership, in Europe it can work as it’s a more tactical game. In the Premiership it’s about pace, power and penetration. We can’t play our passing game like Barcelona, be it down to personnel, technique or opposition we haven’t been able to boss teams and score 5 goals.

The passing game is the true experiment and it looks like it has failed. Project Youth still has time to prove itself, but the Barcelona effect has to stop. Or we will struggle again.

WG


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