Should Arsenal be worried by empty seats?

April 7, 2018

Empty seats at a European competition quarter final? – what’s going on? Should the Club be worried about the loss of matchday revenue through advertising and corporate entertainment, as well as overpriced hotdogs and fizzy lager? With a healthy season ticket waiting list, does it matter if some regulars fall by the wayside? 

GoonerB’s take on some of these questions is below. What do you think?

Afternoon all. Went last night as got a late club level offer I couldn’t refuse. Sorry I couldn’t meet any of the guys but I was beholden to the itinerary of those I went with.

I really enjoyed the game and we were very good with the ball last night, but you could still see certain old problems bubbling beneath the surface that a better team would punish.

I know a lot of season ticket holders and meet different types of Arsenal fans all the time, and you do get an insight for the general feelings of many fans. This is how I would perceive it :

There are still some stalwarts out there who will go and support come what may and don’t concern themselves with things like the direction the club has gone in and whether Arsene is the right man. I feel these fans are becoming a very small minority. Many of these fans will probably still want Arsene to continue and feel he is the right man.

At the other end for some staying away has become a form of protest. I know some season ticket holders who refuse to step back inside the stadium till Arsene is gone. They are also still more of a minority for me.

I have to say I feel there are very few that see Arsene as the man now. The bigger group seem to be the ones that feel Arsene should have already stepped down by now and feel he churns out the same old stuff and follows the same pathway even when it proves not to work. In not looking for a manager to improve us, many feel the board are more concerned with sticking with him because he keeps us at a certain level with little outlay required. They feel the club lacks ambition and have stagnated to the point that we are somewhat regressing now.

They have now become apathetic about the club, the football we play, and even football as a whole. Some still regularly attend in their apathy, but others just aren’t that bothered anymore and have lost their love and excitement of it. If there is something else they can do they will likely often do that instead of going to the game, where before going to the game always came above all else.

This is what I feel is the majority group and the club should be worried about this. I don’t think they have been bothered about it, and as GN5 said I don’t think they have been too bothered because they just take the view that there are more fans in waiting to get a ST.

Very dangerous to ignore your long standing fan base though, because there is no guarantee that those newbies in the waiting have anywhere near the long term emotional investment in the club and their support from the terraces that the long standing fans have, and that can have knock-on effects in how the club is viewed in its standing worldwide with all the negative commercial consequences Micky mentioned.

Like the rest of you I feel the remaining EPL attendances will prove an embarrassment to us. Anyone bothering to listen could have seen this coming but there has been a fairly dismissive approach taken towards the majority fanbase, a bit like the attitude towards the public leading up to the Brexit vote. You realise, too late, that you should have listened earlier.

Written by GoonerB

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Why has it been so easy to say Goodbye to Sanchez?

March 14, 2018

Usually when one of our ‘star’ players leaves, it is painful to see them in another team’s strip. I’ve felt none of that angst when watching Sanchez play for the red mancs. Why?

Is it because he’s only scored one goal since moving?

Could it be that we knew he wanted to go to City and collect a Prem winners medal but had to accept the far less appealing move to a lesser team but for more money?

Or because he seems to have upset the balance of United’s side while stopping Martial and Rashford from playing in their best positions?

Maybe his need to constantly be the centre of attention by dropping into midfield and coming deep has ended up disrupting the mancs’ midfield?

Seeing the exasperated look on Maureen’s face is bound to soften the blow of the Chilean’s departure from North London.

The dog banner at the Emirates was all well and good in the Club’s attempts to make him feel wanted, but now that he’s gone, his canine obsession made so public seems a bit noncey.

Looking at it from the other angle, how has his move benefitted Arsenal FC?

Well, getting Micki in exchange seems a huge positive, as the boy looks an Arsenal player and his signing, I believe,  was also a key ingredient in the introduction of the next positive – Aubameyang.

Auba has been finding his feet since late January and the ridiculous Uefa ruling on his participation in the Europa Cup hasn’t helped. However three goals and the positive effect of being reunited with Mkhitaryan are plain to see. Next season could be good.

Reports of the dislike for Sanchez in the dressing room means that his leaving may have lifted the mood of the Arsenal players (though some of our recent results appear to belie that notion).  One thing’s for certain, the disruption caused by him not signing a contract extension needed to be ended (perhaps getting rid last summer would have been perfect but not being able to sign his replacement in Lemar from Monaco was a factor).

Maybe, it being relatively easy seeing Sanchez in a Chevrolet shirt, is down to the simple fact that we no longer invest emotionally in players because we know they are mercenaries, simply selling their services to the highest bidder?

What do you think? Maybe you’re still suffering the loss of your favourite player?

chas

 


What type of Manager would suit Arsenal for the Future?

February 28, 2018

Is it true that the general consensus seems to be that it’s time for a new Manager? It does appear so.

So considering our dressing room current state what do we need? Our main competitors have taken varying routes from employing the best coaches (with a history of trophies) or pinching potentially good managers from smaller clubs when they have PL experience.

The former seems to work well for one or two seasons, especially when it’s just a case of a settled squad that won things recently needing fresh impetus (City, Chavs etc). The latter has worked well for Spuds most recent, but not so great for Liverpool (Rodgers), United (Moyes), and in all the years Fergie was at United and Arsene at Arsenal none have proven successful long term until the last couple of seasons.

Still the chances of Klopp or Poch getting a trophy this season are slim.

So when Arsene leaves, be it summer 2018 or 2019, what are we looking for? I’ve seen TH14 and PV4 names mentioned which is frankly ridiculous, Ancelotti and friends of that generation are not going to take us anywhere new and are best at organising a well paid squad, (Maureen is probably in this bracket too).

So the only option to me is next big thing out of Europe (have no idea) or take one of the smaller teams managers that we like Howe, Pellegrini, Puel, Wagner.

For me, only Wagner would bring enough status to satisfy the likes of Ozil. And that maybe where we have to accept something, if we are going to take an up and coming Manager, we have to accept that there is going to be quite a bit of readjustment.

Written by a Gooner In Exile


Should Gooners support English Teams in the CL?

February 21, 2018

If an English team in the Champions League is facing oppostion from across the water, do you want them to do well and progress or see a defeat of momentous proportions?

Last night one of our illustrious commenters said this…

Anyone gutted Chelsea drew today, I was so rooting for OG?

Now the big Frenchman was a fine servant for the Arsenal, but wanting the chavs to do well so that you can see a big smile on Olly’s face – hmm, not sure about that.

Earlier in the day, I’d seen this tweet from Danny Baker and again I couldn’t quite see how it was a hard and fast rule that all football followers would think the same.

The Round of 16 draw meant that English teams couldn’t face one another. At present 2 are almost guaranteed progression to the quarters, one achieved a good draw away from home, one a knife-edge draw at home and the red mancs are still to play. Does the prospect of seeing 5 English clubs in the last eight fill you with dread or make you proud of the success of the Premier League?

I suppose the further English teams get in the competition the better our UEFA coefficient, but watching Champions League football has to be more interesting if you’re seeing teams that you don’t see play every week?

One benefit of having all-English quarter finals would be the opportunity to see two of the five clubs above us, kicking great lumps out of each other.

Personally my dislike of the spuds, chavs and red mancs is too strong to ever want to see them win any game in Europe. For some reason, Liverpool and Man City don’t stir the same feelings of loathing. Having said that, I’ll still smile when either get knocked out.

How is it even possible for anyone outside red Manchester to want this fella to win a game? Even if he took over at the Home of Football, I’d struggle. 🙂

Anyway, what do you think? Do you agree with Danny Baker that proper English football fans would never support other English clubs in Europe?

Or maybe you feel some pride in Tottenham and Chelsea beating top European opposition?

Then again, you may have the opinion that you want to see the best possible football, so it makes sense to want to see the best teams progress?

Alexander Pushkin 


Arsenal v Basel: a classic risk assessment

December 6, 2016

Fans of Big Raddy are about to be seriously disappointed, although probably not entirely surprised. More than any, they will understand the challenges he faces in being a hippy, and the lasting effects of a life bombarded by cosmic rays and shit like that.

Right, me here, so brace up and deal with it.

We all know what’s going on tonight. We could win. Paris could draw. We could top the group.

As I said earlier, a classic risk assessment is needed. I’ve had a quick gander, and Sanchez travelling gives us a glimpse into the Wenger mind. We could top the group and still get a very tough tie in the next round. For me, we had our chance, didn’t take it, should smell the coffee and lie low.

Having said all that, we could still field a very strong side and gain much, in terms of progressing as a squad. Embedding new understandings and combinations that could serve us well later in the season.

Just so you know, Basel are already 12 points ahead of second placed Young Boys in their domestic league, and steaming towards their 8th consecutive league title. They may well field a strong team simply to take another scalp.

I think we’d all pretty much agree on the players for whom an injury would hurt us the most, so I’d like to see them rested.

Lucas Perez is someone I’d like to see more of, and as striker. He scored 17 goals for a very low placed Deportivo last term. Arsene has so far deployed him largely on the left, and while Ollie is a great option, Perez may be the one to rotate with Sanchez if we wish to keep the same style.

I won’t put up my guess for an XI, and leave that for you lot. I will be interested to see how you’d play things tonight, and of course, ultimately what Arsene will do.

Written by MickyDidIt89


The November Curse – Real or Imaginary?

November 4, 2016

It now seems to be accepted fact that November is always a bogey month for Arsenal.

A calamitous November last season is still fresh in the memory. In the League we started with a drab 1-1 with the N17 miscreants. This was followed by a 2-1 away defeat to the Baggies (they had 1 shot on target); Le Coq was injured early on and Arteta, his replacement, put the ball in his own net before being replaced himself. Santi missed a penalty after some spot-tampering by Olsson. What could go wrong, did go wrong.

The final League game of November 2015 was a 1-1 draw with Norwich in which Santi was injured early in the 2nd half but played the whole game for some strange reason (causing him to miss most of the season) and Alexis was withdrawn with a hamstring after being shoved into a camera dug-out!

In the Champions League, the month had started with a 5-1 battering from Bayern with the only consolation, a 3-0 win over a poor Zagreb side.

alexis-dugout

On the basis of that evidence, it certainly seems as though November is cursed for us, but I wondered just how bad it had been over the past 10 years, so decided to take a gander.

The snapshot below shows both Prem and CL games won, lost and drawn and also details of any fixtures played against our next two League opponents. The bottom row shows our win, draw and loss percentages over the last 10 Novembers.

november

Arsene Wenger’s overall percentages are 57.5% wins, 23.2% draws and 19.3% losses. (Based on 1,136 total games including 653 victories, 264 draws and 219 defeats)

It immediately becomes clear that, in the League particularly, there is an 18% increase in defeats compared to the average. That is huge. In the Champions League the defeat percentage is about average and an increase in draws maybe due to the nature of the CL group stages.

What could be the cause of such a large anomaly in the League?

Injuries? Possibly.

An increase in snood and glove–wearing nambypambyism caused by colder weather? Doubtful.

Excrement happens? Maybe so, but why always in the same period of the season?

Has anyone got any theories?

On a more positive note, November has had some highlights and in some seasons has even been pretty good.

November 2008 saw us beating our November nemesis, the mancs, 2-1. This victory was easier than it sounds. Two goals by the FFBW, one a belter from a snake-like pass from Fabregas, were followed by the mancs getting a late consolation.

November 2012 included the second glorious 5-2 (in one calendar year) against the spuddies. Adebayor, both put them in the lead and then, in true secret agent style, revealed his Arsenal roots and deliberately got sent off a few minutes later.

November 2013 saw us win 3 of our 4 Prem games. A 2-0 win over Liverpool, including a stonker from Rambo, one of the highlights. We also won 2 out of 2 Champions League games that month; one of which, a 1-0 away win in Dortmund, is fondly remembered by two of our AAers and their Ford Focus.

rambodippers

November 2016 started with a fine, hard-fought CL win on Tuesday capped with a goal of rare beauty from our German maestro. Hopefully we can continue to build a head of steam with the NLD on Sunday and our visit to the Old Cowshed the following weekend.

The next two fixtures probably won’t make or break Arsenal’s season, but they could certainly go a long way to breaking the ‘bogey November’ idea and launch us forward into a successful winter.

We’ve recently broken the Swansea hoodoo, let’s continue with this theme and banish another skeleton from our closet.

Written by chas


Ozil is better than Bergkamp. Match Report.

November 2, 2016

Character building, yes, character building is the way I would describe that win and probably the best preparation for Sunday we could have had. What, I hear you say; surely another six-nil win would have been better giving us the chance to rest Ozil and Sanchez after seventy minutes? Not necessarily, there is no way it is going to be a stroll in the park on Sunday and if we go a goal behind we will have had very recent experience in knowing how to put it right. The same goes for if we are two down but I don’t want to dwell on that possibility for too long. What I am saying is that we are in good shape and are now completely prepared to face the knuckle draggers.

Ludogorets looked pretty good in the first twenty minutes at the Emirates and if it wasn’t for a couple of fine saves from Ospina we could have just as easily have been two down inside the first twenty minutes then. Things didn’t fall inch perfect for them in that game but they did last night and they also had luck on their side: the ball was drilled at speed towards Xhaka who no more than turned away but the referee who was poor all night wrongly gave a free kick from which they scored; our defending wasn’t at its best, but it was one hell of a good cross. Shortly after, Gibbs was given a Brazilian by one of their nippy players who played a slide rule pass into our box for another one of their nippy players to slot home. Don’t ask me their names I don’t know and I don’t care.

gibbs

Two down, things weren’t going to plan and we were looking rattled which showed in our hurried passing and unnecessary loss of possession; still, we do not sing that “we are by far the greatest team the world has ever seen” for nothing.

The fight back was on.

Özil of course was involved it was his cross from the byline that was missed by several players in the penalty area before falling invitingly to Xhaka who guided it home and brought us back into the game. The goal steadied the nerves, confidence returned and with it the accuracy of the passing. We were the better team overall but they were still looking dangerous on the break.

giroud-ludo

Enter our two returnees.

Ramsey was everywhere or so it seemed; a tireless engine, superb vision and my man of the match, it was his pinpoint cross that enabled Giroud to bring us back on terms: a well-taken header from the man who seems to push himself just that much more when he perceives his starting place is under threat. Do you remember the last time he was out for a while and Theo seemed to have taken his place? When the FFP did start again he scored something like four goals in four games. Two on Sunday, Ollie, and the world will be a wonderful place.

Chances fell to both teams in the second half and the game could have gone either way, I had resigned myself to a draw and had already persuaded myself that two-two was not a bad result away from home and all that. But Mesut Ozil had different ideas which leaves me in the really bad situation of having to try and put that goal into words; save from a long list of superlatives, I can’t.

mesut2

Goal of the season, yes, one of the best Arsenal goals I have ever seen, yes, I am trying to stop myself from gushing ahhhhh, I can’t, it was fantastic, brilliant, breathtaking, sheer class from the best player I have ever seen play for Arsenal. There I said it; forgive me Dennis, I couldn’t stop myself. lol

Nothing left now but to watch that goal over and over again and purrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Written by LB