Arsène And The Power Of The Ten

Something is not quite right, I just cannot for the life of me shake the feeling that something is not quite right. I don’t know what it is but the Arsenal universe is out of kilter but what is it…? Got it, there, THWACK! The nail is being hit firmly on the head; there is not whining, whinging or complaining being done; whooping and howling is being left to Cumbrians on the dancefloor. To claim serenity is prevailing would be as daft as, well, claiming Arsenal will win the title on the basis of four unbeaten games played in August and September.

I have no issue with optimism and my joy is has shaken its bridles with the results and performances so far. I have hope that we are going to witness a great season but let us get to troubled times and see how we deal with them first before we lodge any claim on silverware. Even the manager whose job, let’s face it, is to be the public face of optimism at the club, is urging caution,

We will know after 10 games. I think we have a chance to develop well and keep our attitude. At the moment I don’t know how strong our opponents are.

Curiously enough, our tenth game is on November 3rd at Old Trafford; ten is not the random or convenient number plucked from the air as it might have seemed initially. It means that Tottenham will be the only club from last year’s top four that we will not have played. In other words, the toughest tests will have been endured.

The players are quite rightly confident, their performances merit such an attitude. Since Lukas Podolski opened the scoring at Anfield, Arsenal are entitled to ask, “Robin who?” and still have Olivier Giroud to find his scoring boots although it is noticeable that the Frenchman’s second season at a club is usually a lot more productive than his first. Too much expectation was the reason given – or one of them anyway – for his absence from the starting line-up on Saturday. If Lukas Podolski continues his vein of scoring form, I would suggest the pressure on Giroud ought to ease but perversely, he will suffer by comparison. The slings and arrows of ill-fortune offer no hiding place although all the while results are good, such issues can be camouflaged.

Positives are in clear sight. Thomas Vermaelen has been performing at the level seen prior to his injury. The responsibility of the captain’s armband no doubt requiring this but also, as he acknowledged, a better disciplined and organised team makes defending easier, for want of a better word,

All the team has worked together. We have only conceded one goal and ­Southampton did not have a lot of chances. This means the shape of our team is okay. Steve Bould was a centre-back and he has a lot of ­experience. We have done a lot of tactical work and every day we are working on our shape and organisation. You can see this on the pitch. It is something we need. He brings a lot of experience and has a lot of ambition – you can see that on the training pitch. He puts a lot of effort in.

Indeed it is better and there is no way that this can be denied. You feel that the return of Bacary Sagna can only improve matters, with the full back having been the most consistent defender over the last five years. Young Jenkinson has played well but is still learning his trade; plenty of reasons to believe he will be the Frenchman’s successor nor should there be any worries about him dropping in at right back as needed in the meantime.

The real key is Vermaelen’s observation about the team, it’s shape and working together. The balance of the team at the moment is better than last with Podolski offering cover defensively, leading the forward line by example and Oxlade-Chamberlain on the right giving more protection to the back four from the front. It was an observation I made regularly last season; we were not particularly good at defending from the front. If you look at the personnel and their style of play, that is not hard to see. That change has negated the need for an outright defensive midfielder, why Arteta has been able to drop back into the deeper-lying role seamlessly. Or one of them anyway, the Spaniard is just a very good and intelligent player which is the principle reason.

Optimism is compounded with Jack Wilshere’s progress, the October timeline for his return to footballing action is seemingly well on course and the apparent riches of selelction will then become a headache for the manager. At the moment injuries have not yet taken their tollen masse as they have in the past. We will then see how deep the squad is, how good the team is when pressure is on them. Until then, I am going to enjoy the serenity…

’til Tomorrow

340 thoughts on “Arsène And The Power Of The Ten

  1. Looking forward to the opening of our CL campaign tomorrow – very much hope Giroud gets a start.

    I expect us to fillet them, even though I know less than nothing about the French league, because we are on a roll. Three away goals ought to sort it, and Vito to keep a clean sheet. (Am feeling confident enough about this squad to make an actual prediction, having suspected we’d put a sizeable number past Southampton – scary stuff.)

    @Andrew: what on earth is going on at RM? They seem to have lost the plot as far as internal cohesion goes – the rumours last year about the Spain vs Portugal camps within the squad look as though they might be true. The whole thing is nuts. I fully expected them to win the CL last year, but they couldn’t do it. And now look at them.

    No idea what CRon could possibly want at this stage of his career, but what does concern me is that Maureen will end up back in the Premier League, to take over from Sir Ferg, next season.

    Aside from Sahin, the only RM player I want we’d never get: Ramos, who is shaping up to be club captain, and captain of Spain, once San Iker retires.

  2. when you look at it, we have basically played the same games as city so far. liverpool and stoke away, soton at home. we beat liverpool 2-0, they drew 2-2, they beat soton 3-2, and we beat them 6-1.

    so i think we are their litmus test. 😉

  3. Aman, when Carl scores his first goal I will come in my pants,shit and piss myself then vomit everywhere-I think this whole chairman thing has gone to my head.

  4. Clerkenwell – no idea what is happening at RM but, like you, find the whole situation there fascinating. One assumes the whole thing will settle down, yet with Ron and Maur involved you have two of the biggest egos on the planet so I guess anything could happen.

    Good game going on at Everton altho Fellaini had a great goal wrongly disallowed for a phantom offside a few minutes back.

    We’d be going nuts if that happened to us …

  5. And Everton get robbed a second time as what should have been their third goal isn’t given.

    FFS – get the effing technology into the game, Christ’s sake.


  6. It all wrong that the officials strike more fear into us,on Saturday ,than the league champions.

  7. Paul – well I guess it’s because every sport technology has so far been introduced to has clearly been ruined by it …

  8. Paul N ,we cant have fair results now can we .I mean that would cause ructions in Manchester.

  9. It’s also all wrong that the failure to govern the game with the tools made available to most other sports angers me more than pretty much any other aspect of the game.

  10. George and Andrew, I forgot about United and how getting it right has seen various sports decline.

    These people are jokers!

    Talking about United, I see Young has tutored Welbeck in the fine arts of diving.

  11. Talking about diving .Bale may hurt himself on landing ,now he has lost his air brakes.

  12. We have been the better team in every game we have so far played. Big tests are ahead and there is not much point in second guessing those, but discipline, self belief and composure could take us to a very good position in the challenge for the title by the end of those 10 games.

    We have got the skill.

  13. With all the Hype and money these young rascals make we forget that it was Wenger that discovered many of these players and brought them to us.

    However sad it is to see these heroes go, to us, he is worth the sack full of all of them.

  14. Not posted for a couple of weeks and everyone formed a clique without me 🙁

    However, I’d like to applaud bob’s post @ 1.28pm. I’ve read this blog for far, far longer than I’ve commented on it. I actually know some of you better than I know a few of my extended family (not saying a whole lot….)

    Ateeb’s attacks on the club, the team, the board, the manager and us are repulsive to most of us because they are opinions not held in good faith, like Shotta’s are. His aim is to sow discord, like an Usmanov groupie. He doesn’t care which topic causes it, he just wants to get a negative vibe going.

    Given Jonny’s penchant for breaking everything, I wouldn’t be surprised to find Ateeb was a bastard son. (-8

  15. here cumz d invincible 11’s in de makin. Scenzny sagna kosiceny vermerlean santos arteta wilshere carzola poldoski giroud charmberlain. Gun for your european glory boy

  16. ‘Ateeb’s attacks on the club, the team, the board, the manager and us are repulsive to most of us because they are opinions not held in good faith’.

    And so you prove my point. Contradictions really escape you. I am not arguing for a faith based analysis. Ha ha. I am looking for an objective analysis of our failures and it’s links with our transfer policies. I love the team much more than you, because team means players, who grow under us and should be kept together. It’s clear to a lot of people now that under the rubric of ‘good management’ (Austerity)-which should be read profits-our best players have been sold. Our youth has been sold, which has also to do with the wage structures, which needs to change. I don’t know how you equate that with an ‘attack’ on the club. The only attacks going on are by dogs who refuse to use their brains and be driven by faith. Faith also in city and united going bust, offering us a chance to win. Laughable.

    As for attacks on the club, to argue that Robin should be playing a CF with us right now, instead of United isn’t an attack on the club. I think most fans wanted that. And we didn’t keep him because we didn’t want to pay him the going rate.

    If you think selling our best players is good transfer business, than you mustn’t have found anythiing wrong in the last 7 years. I find a lot of things wrong. You’re alright with us failing on and off the pitch, I am not. If that’s an attack to the ‘percieved identity’ to the blog than so be it. It’s my opinion. Different from yours. And you can’t handle that hence your attacks. You also find me threatening this blog for some strange reason. As if I am trying to play with the homogeneous mentality. Why are you so afraid? Don’t read, move on. There are a lot of people I agree with on this blog, especially the current team. What’s your fucking problem with that? You’re going to decide what others should think about Arsenal? That any criticism should be met with violence to suppress other’s opinion, under the rubric of methods? Stop responding to me. I am not interested in talking to you at all. You don’t have to come to aid of the others you think are threatened by my vile views that will contaminate the perceived identity of the blog.

  17. I find there being a massive contradiction between saying “I love the club much more than the next person” while at the same time vehemently supporting a player that openly disrespected club and manager, lying to fans and all that.

  18. And Arsene hadn’t lied to the fans about trying to keep him, when he had already bought replacement. I think he did the right thing by coming out with that statement, which most fans figured as an attack on the club. It was an attack against the management and the board, related primarily with the cub’s policies of selling it’s best player and not paying them well. Just as Sagna made these suggestions. People like you consider it an attack, but it’s far from this simple. Has sagna stopped loving the club? Anyone who disagrees with the way the club is run, has stopped loving the club? What’s with this fundamentalist way of thinking about things.

  19. So AW is a liar and RvP was right – come out and admit you want Wenger sacked because that is the implication of your post.

  20. Aww Arsene lied to me! Boo hoo, I am so sad.

    While RvP is a courageously brave and selfless lion. Yay for him.

    I know its coming up to pantomime season ateeb, but seriously man.

    Can’t you do better than this tired shit?

    Lets recap;
    1) No one supports the club like you. You, lest we forget are the one true super fan.
    2) The board are evil and take millions from the club (even though they dont)
    3) Wenger is asset stripping the club by selling our best players.
    4) We should pay our best players whatever they want, even if the “going rate” is set by a club that doesnt have to worry about trifling matters like, erm, breaking even, etc.
    5) This blog which you clearly hate so much you cannot keep away, is run by a free speech despising despot and inhabited by deluded gullible fools who think Wengers shit dont stink and he and the board have never ever ever made any mistakes.
    6) No critisim is permitted, no sirree Cbob. Ddespite the fact this blog has more debate about player virtues, talents etc than at any other time. In fact since such a time as some sanctimonious dweeb would jump on any fucker who so much as dared suggest Denilson wasnt the illigitimate love child of Beckenbaur and Vieira.

    Does that cover it?

    I do hope so.

    Can we move on now?

  21. Yogi the fundamentalist warrior,

    ‘So AW is a liar and RvP was right – come out and admit you want Wenger sacked because that is the implication of your post.’

    It’s funny how you like others, tend to distort my posts, and reduce them to a bare minimum. It’s called manipulation and propaganda. But really you’re only fooling yourself in the end, I don’t think bar the watch dogs that you keep, anyone else would agree with the fact that ‘sacking’ Wenger is my ultimate objective. In fact, I think we can wage a much better struggle for titles, if Arsene is allowed to keep his best players. The message that you draw out from my post are just to reduce the other person’s opinion into trash. Just as Evil and ffs tried to comment, that by questioning the board and the management, I am not showing love to the board. Which is a funny way of drawing out implications from my posts. For that matter, Sagna and even Cazarola have shown disrespect to the club. The former was dismayed by the transfer policies, and the latter suggested that we would need to replace Song and Robin. Which we didn’t. And yesterday you were talking about rationality while moderating people’s posts. Right.

    I was about to post on the new post, but I thought I save you from some morning embarrassment. Or be drawn to an argument all day long. Have a good day!

  22. Ateeb

    A strange view of the world you have. A manager who you accuse of being a liar yet you wouldn’t sack him? I am not reducing your comment to trash, merely understanding your POV. It’s inconceivable that having told the world that Wenger is dishonest that you would not sack him. The only reason why you would not state that is because you know there is no support for it and it would leave you more isolated.

    Fuck what the board think – you well know I don’t hold truck with them, less so with KSE and even less with R&W. People’s opinions of the board are irrelevant.

  23. Yogi,
    ‘ It’s inconceivable that having told the world that Wenger is dishonest that you would not sack him. The only reason why you would not state that is because you know there is no support for it and it would leave you more isolated.’

    I think Arsene is possibly the best manager at finding talent and nourishing it. And an awful manager who sides with the board, when it comes to keeping them. His comments about Sagna being a mere employee of the club were disgraceful. If he’s just an employee well, heck, why do you cry like a baby when they demand to be paid as well as others players around the world. I think Wenger is at fault, when it comes to keeping his players, and if we can change that, we can have a dominating team.

    Yeah I know what you think, your views have been changing which is fair enough. You were more with the stan group rather than Usmanov, because of stupid fears that he would kill the club. In fact you’ve always supported the board in an indirect way by putting profits over players, when you argue that a break even or profits have to be made every season, than you’re arguing against giving our players better contracts and doing out best to keep them. Your ambiguous views regarding player wages is your tactic of having faith in the board. You comment that the wage structure needs to change, but only if we can break even or make profits. Neither can you make sense of the valuation of the club, finances, etc as such. TO you we need to balance balance and that’s about it. We’ve hardly invested much money into this team, without having to sell our best players. It’s a viscious circle that you support, knowningly, because to you a club has to BALANCE. Well we’ve not won shit through that approach and neither had any success in generating more revenues. You can only do that, once you can keep your star players and win titles. Which unfortunately isn’t what this club is all about. How we went into the last season was an utter joke, for a club of our stature. We had no intention to challenge for the title, but only for the 4th position. This year, we’ll be riding our luck with injuries and expecting new players to perform a miracle if we are to win. A better alternative would have been to pay 10m a year to Robin and kept him. But we don’t invest in the squad, we invest in property development and the real estate.

  24. Ateeb

    I’ll deal with your second paragraph first, you knew I would…but it shows you haven’t understood the position I have with the board. It’s simple:

    1. I don’t rate the old guard, they were good for the club in the past,
    2. I don’t rate Kroenke either
    3. I think even less of Usmanov
    4. Re-read the posts and you will find I support plurality of ownership above being a rich man’s toy.
    5. I and no other supporter can change the board’s composition or ownership. If we could, it would have happened years ago.
    6. I do agree with being a self-financing entity

    I am above all else being pragmatic about the club. I cannot change things, nor can you. I could spend my life railing against them and achieving nothing but an ulcer. My view is that the situation is what it is and working within those confines is more constructive than doing little more than complaining. That’s my view on life in general: if I can’t change it, have no hope of changing it then I will work within the confines I have. If there is an inkling it will change in a manner that I believe in, go for it. But Arsenal FC is never going to be run in the manner I would like.

    A manager who opposes the board should either resign or be sacked. You cannot work in an organisation and be consistently opposed to its aims. His comments about Sagna can be applied to any player, to himself. They are employees nothing more. Wenger accepts the financial constraints but the policies are changing but this takes time because of the contracts which exist. I know they are an inconvenience but they are there and until the players are gone, there is nothing anyone can do about it. Interestingly quite a few who complain about the ‘deadwood’ offered no objections when contract renewals were made.

    van Persie decided to leave last year when his contract entered its final year. This had nothing to do with the meeting in May, he had already made up his mind and the fandance which went on before his move was just United trying to call the club’s bluff. You’ll remember that I advocated keeping him for the last year of his contract rather than selling him.

    Wenger’s salary is an interesting subject and one that I think I will deal with in a post in the next week or so.


  25. Well apart from you not putting leash on your dogs I don’t think there is much I disagree you with. Except that I do think that we can make a change. Even you realise that this ‘blind faith’ and uncritical support, really has an effect on the management of the club. The fans have no say at all, at most they’re kept in this delusion that this is exactly how the club can and should be run. I do see your point about the deadwood on salaries. We can only hope that the management has learnt from his lessons-although we can’t forgive them either for fucking project youth (Yes, Part one of that got fucked-though was decent nevertheless). What needs to be done is that as fans we can put pressure on the club, on changing the transfer policies and wage structures. If you’re agreeing that players are nothing more than employees, than you should also realize that we will have to pay these employees the salaries that they would command at the top clubs in Europe. We can manage with 2-3 world class players, which I also think Arsene is quite capable of finding and nourishing. The key is to keep them, and not feed them over the rest of the world under the rubric of balancing the books. If it means paying 2-3 players 150k-200k so be it. We can only generate more revenues if we have a ‘product to sell’ on the world stage. Our good thing has been the way we play, but due to different reasons we haven’t won anything. If we had been winning in the last couple of seasons while playing how we were, we would be competing with Barcelona rather than Tottenham. I think Arsene is great at finding the right players, but he’s got a calculator in his hand all the time, which should be handed over to someone more capable. What though as fans we can do for now, is to put pressure on the club to keep him. Even if it means paying him 20-30k more than we think. (I always think that fans fond of balancing books don’t keep up with the changing footballing environment-or the inflation over the last few years so to speak).

    Can you imagine that how we would be right now without Cazarola? We gave up the chase last season. We don’t know why. Although we only got him for £2-3m less than Malagna. We got really lucky with that situation. One can only wonder how many players Arsene had to let go because of the ‘misguidance’ of last few years-where a lot of people made profits. One can also wonder, if we had £50-60M debt due to players purchases and wages, if that would have effected the valuation of the club!? I don’t think it would have mattered much, in fact if we had been winning, which I think Arsene is much capable of, the club value would have been greater (and the usual economic links to advertisments, commercial etc).

    Wenger’s salary? Well given how much profit he makes for the club, wouldn’t hurt to pay him a couple of more millions more.

    Alternatively, are you as concerned as me, with regards to the sort of ‘failure’ we’ve had with our youth project going through academy? Apart from Wilshere, Cole and Gibbs, I don’t think anyone stepped up the grade with us. We bought quite a lot of players who eventually didn’t make the grade. But we’ve found raided good young talent from elsewhere, Southampton in particular.

  26. What though as fans we can do for now, is to put pressure on the club to keep him. Even if it means paying him 20-30k more than we think. (I always think that fans fond of balancing books don’t keep up with the changing footballing environment-or the inflation over the last few years so to speak).

    ** By him I meant Theo. He’s essential. Non footballing brains don’t see his value. When the world’s best team says they are shit scared of him than we should believe it. His 12 assists last season was a good return. And last season was first when he was not injured.

  27. OK I think the self financing thing is much more than balancing books. I do think the biggest reason for our failure was this obsession with self financing. Which funnily enough, we were never doing because we had debts related to the stadium and real estate business. Nevertheless, I mean even if we manage a £30-50m debts, (let’s say for better wages)-which would mean keeping our best players-I do think that’s in the best interests of the club, the players, the fans, and the profit makers(who can rejoice with increasing valuation of the club rather than ability to balance books).

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