Arsène, Tin Hats, Financial Doping & The Future

So there you have it; Chicken Little runs the world. As a shareholder in a tin hat manufacturer, I am looking forward to the next dividend payment; it’s going to be a stonker.

Sack the manager! And the coaching staff! Sack the board! Get more football people on the board! Get Tuchel! Or Allegri! I’ll still be supporting the next manager while you’re still moaning! No you won’t, you’ll be supporting another club! 

Get help.

None of this can happen, of course, because everyone’s been sacked. Arsène was fashionably late meeting the press, which was nothing unusual but I suspect that the Arsenal website had far more viewers of the live feed than is normal.

Headlines deplore the club’s decision for allowing the players to have yesterday off, despite only touching down at Luton at 1am on Thursday morning. They got their reaction with photos of Alexis flying to Barcelona (not Italy) with “a friend” (for a court case) but he’s expected back at training tomorrow. Photos will be scanned in case he’s got a shiny new Juventus/Barcelona crest tattooed on his biceps or calf. Of course, going back is never a good thing and there’s no suggestion on my part that he’s doing anything other than getting his backside kicked by the Spanish taxman.

Wenger is already focussing on Monday’s trip to the Surrey commuter heartlands and the team he fields will be “normal”, which frankly tells you nothing. Per Mertesacker will presumably come in to organise the defence for an hour by which time you’d hope we’d be out of sight and any subsequent collapse will add nothing more than a touch of respectability to the scoreline.

I know you like to put things into perspective. Was that the worst performance during your time at the club?

The questions must be asked, of course, given that the club curtailed the midweek post-match presser to just three minutes. And I think we’re forgetting that after the initial brain-freeze from Coquelin, the players responded in exactly the manner we wanted, pulling themselves into contention with the equaliser and spurning the opportunity to take the lead through Mesut Özil. The German’s agent felt that he was taking too much flak for the defeat. “There were ten other players on the pitch you know”, was the general thrust of Mr20%’s comments.

But there weren’t ten others who cost £42m, missed what was a fairly routine chance before half-time and nor are many of the other ten players holding up contract talks to see what happens with the manager’s future or who replaces him. That’s why he’s getting flak; that and not being as overwhelmingly brilliant as he was for the first half of last season. Even then, most of the criticism of Özil has been grounded in the team selection, underlining that he and Iwobi are a luxury that we can ill-afford in the big games.

Precious is a word which sprang to mind reading the comments, and not in the Lord Of The Rings sense either.

I will decide my future in March / April

Yes, Arsène confirmed that those words passed his lips this week. Of course, much depends on the rest of the season; lose on Monday night and the answer to the previous question changes.

One thing he has stated, is that he will be managing next season, “whether it is here or somewhere else”. It’s not a “real problem”, but Wenger has no intention of retiring. That solves one problem at the club; he won’t cast a shadow over the new manager nor will his successor be “Arsène’s Puppet”. Things change, we know that; Stan could change his mind but Arsène would have to as well.

When Tottenham went down that route, Wenger spoke out vociferously that he would not accept that circumstance at Arsenal. If he manages elsewhere – in Paris most likely although Barcelona is being mentioned as a possible destination, he goes into a structure where the sporting director is an ingrained part of the culture and he will have to put up with the inconvenience for another couple of years.

It does put “Arsène FC” supporters in a bit of a pickle though. If he goes to Paris, they will have to delete the thousands of vituperative tweets about football doping rather quickly…

Dad’s Jukebox

The playlist for 1991 is still alive and kicking, Situation No Win was quite a popular lyric that year. I lifted it from BAD II but Thousand Yard Stare also used it in 0 – 0 AET.

’til Tomorrow.

85 thoughts on “Arsène, Tin Hats, Financial Doping & The Future

  1. Morning,

    Thanks for another great post.

    I was putting something up just as the new post came out, so thought I’d repeat it:

    Just repeating a quote that Andy put up which I think shows how Wenger tries to focus everyone on one game:

    “We need to take care with the consequences a disappointing result can have on everyone’s spirit and we need to bounce back.”

    He never makes any attempt to address concerns over the team’s continued failure. I can’t believe that no one would ask him why the club has learned nothing since losing 5-1 to Bayern last season. Clearly the journalists have been prepped to stay away from certain subjects.

    He says that Arsenal will not win every game in the future, even if he goes. Well, of course not, but by making it sound like that is what is expected of him he deflects from the real issues. Its very clever manipulation of the situation. He should think about moving into politics because he never addresses the issues. Unfortunately, I think he may actually believe some of the things he says in press conferences.

  2. ‘Thousands of vituperative tweets about football doping’, Yogi? Did you mean ‘financial doping’?

    I never read tweets – I am not a twit person – look what happens if you do allow tweeters to feel their mainly vacuous garbage has an audience. But did you really read thousands of them? Or was that just poetic licence? 🙂

  3. Goodness, Wavey, we are not going to go thru another day of mutual navel gazing and repetitively saying Arsene Out, Out, Out.

    You all agree with each other already, surely! 😀

  4. The comment abut managing here or elsewhere next season seems like an ultimatum, but he already has a contract on the table if he wants it. I guess its more of an ultimatum to the fans, “if you don’t want me someone else does”.

    I can’t really imagine him going anywhere else than Paris, as other clubs will be looking for someone who can win the big trophies and its been a long time since Wenger did that.

  5. Wavey,

    I think you know that I have never objected to you, or anyone else, expressing your opinions, and I have said I understand why you do so.

    I was only trying to help you cut out the middle man and get straight to the chase. 🙂

    For the umpteenth time, I suppose I had better repeat that I think it would be in everyone’s best interests, (perhaps with the exception of Stan the Man) but especially for the many of the fans, if Arsene retired gracefully, with dignity and respect at the end of this season.

    Well, after this morning’s presser, retirement is on the back burner, of course – but I see no reason to change my mind on the best solution for Arsene, Arsenal and the fans.

    Many a time I have also said while arguments are raging between Bill and C about who is the best or worst Arsenal player and why, that in my opinion the whole squad should have to prove they are good enough for us, and I believe a large number of them are not – and should go.

    A new manager would do that anyway, if AW agrees he has done all he can, and it could make very interesting transfer movements in the future.

    We will all know by the end of April — altho I suspect AW and Kroenke (he is the only one who matters on the BoD) already know. Can’t wait — well, I will have to — bugger it!). 😀

  6. Good stuff Yogi.

    Can’t see Arsene at Barca, for a man who likes to be in control of things, he would have little to no control over players, contracts, transfers or really anything other than who gets picked on match day and how they train but Barca is like Bayern, things are already in place and you have to accept things and adapt to them not them adapting to you. Its why Barca since really Cruyff have always in some form or fashion had a “Barca” man at the helm or at least somebody that believed in their way of playing. Can’t see him in Paris either, Emery was brought there to push them forward in the CL, surely even the PSG brass would have a look and think to themselves, “Well Arsene is a good friend and while we want him, how the hell would we sell to the supporters pushing Emery out.”

    Side note, if PSG were to push Emery out, I would gladly have him at Arsenal. Bayern beat us because our tactics allowed Tiago and Xabi to boss the match and find their rhythm while Emery decided to mark both Busquets and Inesta out of the match so Barca couldn’t find theirs. The little things in futbol make the biggest difference

  7. Morning, C,

    I am touched that you worry so much about Arsene hypothetically going to Barça because of the problems he would face. 🙂

    He might yet stay for another 2 seasons after this one — and at 70 years old I doubt any top club would have him. Which is a circumlocutory way of saying that was a hint he will go at the end of this season. Maybe. 🙂

  8. The other thing about his presser that I found interesting is when he said:

    “It will be a Normal team, I gave a chance to [some young players] because they deserve to play, it’s a good opportunity to show they can do well.

    “One or two might have an opportunity to show that they can play every single game now.”

    To me that sounds like some of the players that he has stayed loyal to or haven’t been performing will no longer get that chance. The question I have is who is he talking about? The feeling I get it Ox, Iwobi, Le Coq, Gibbs which means we will see more of Adelaide, Maitland-Niles, Elneny, and presumably Welbeck and Perez.

  9. HenryB,

    Figured I would discuss something other than Arsene for the first time that I can think of talking about managing another club as all to often he immediately shoots down any of that speculation.

    Please don’t be touched, just wouldn’t want to see an old man thrown to the lynch mob they call Barca supporters and media even if he is slowly (along with the cunts on the BoD, Silent Stan and the players) destroying my club. Nope, just keep him around Arsenal until March or April and he will continue to be tarred and feathered.

  10. C,

    I actually thought that Ox hadn’t done too badly in the middle and maybe he could resurrect his Arsenal career in that position. He was pretty shocking again back on the wing and was getting plenty of grief from Alexis for not pushing up. His brain fart for Bayern’s fifth goal was very poor from a top class player, but his ‘new’ midfield role doesn’t normally see him sitting right on top of the CBs so hopefully he wouldn’t be in that ridiculous of a position in the future. With the Santi role still up for grabs, Ox probably has good a shout as any for getting the nod there between now and the end of the season. The other stand out candidate for that spot at present is probably Elneny, but Wenger seems to have him penciled in as a player to switch in and out with Coquelin. Sometimes he goes with the pair of them when he thinks he needs to be very defensive (not sure why he didn’t do it against Bayern). I’m not really seeing how either Ramsey, or Xhaka fit at the moment as neither is having much of a season. I know its a new experience for Xhaka in the PL, but he should have been more familiar up against Bayern and he looked lost.

  11. C,

    Does a normal team mean the type of team he would normally put out for an FA Cup tie? That usually means a mix and match of youth and experience. I can’t really see Alexis starting, but he will probably be on the bench begging for the last 20 minutes.

    I hadn’t realised he was off to Spain for a court appearance, so fair enough. I would like to think that there would be some kind of post mortum of the Bayern game on his return, but I’m not convinced there will be. It seems more that its regarded as done with now, so on to the next game. If the team are not reviewing how such things happen on the pitch, they surely can’t learn what needs to be worked on.

  12. C,

    You should know my humour by now. 🙂

    I was not being serious about your ‘concern’. He must know the brickbats he will face if he stays at Arsenal, and another same old, same old season will inflame many of the more excitable fans.
    Rather him than me.

    If he goes at season end, then he must have been approached already by a ‘suitable’ club, otherwise he would not have time to find a club, do all the preseason with them, and recruit/sell the players of his new employers. Not going to happen.

    It’s why I think he will go, because the contracts must have been provisionally agreed, and a list of the players he wants to buy given to the new club etc, etc.

    That would tie in with all the rumours in the media about Arsenal approaching potential replacement managers — that has not happened in previous years — except by you and Bill. 😀

  13. C

    I took it to mean a ‘normal’ cup team although the way the question was framed was exactly how we should be thinking. No matches for a fortnight or so, play the strongest team as a punishment!

  14. Wavey,

    In many of the papers, Kozzer is reported as saying the players were stunned about what happened at Bayern, and there was a bit of a dust up in the dressing room.

    AW said that did not happen — but of course he would say that.

    I do not see the point of a players post mortem as you call it — they will all blame the other guy. They were outclassed, beaten mentally and physically and showed no team spirit — how does that get sorted in a team meeting.

    The manager [AW or A. N. Other] will have to look at them and swing the chopper and bring in fresh faces — and no mercy extended.

  15. Yesterday I said I felt sorry for Wenger, and I meant it.

    That said, I failed to account the Friday presser would work wonders in dispelling most of the sympathy. In years gone by I’ve thought Wenger and the club on a slippery slope, but at this point it’s morphing into some kind of Bizarro World.

    Wenger is so poorly equipped he cannot step outside of himself and see the situation for what it is. I no longer give a crap if it stems from denial, delusion or sheer obstinacy.

    As for managing another club I repeat what I’ve said before- Wenger would immediately expose himself as a confused, inept manager and not last a second season. If that really is the exclamation point he wants to end his career on, feel free.

    Another reason that sympathy waned – Perez admitting he wants out (which I had missed yesterday when posting).

    Good for him.

    I’ve repeatedly tried to underline there was something petty and personal in Wenger’s treatment of Perez (a credible podcast noted Perez was being bad mouthed from inside the club as not ‘fitting’ weeks ago). It’s Campbell redux, Wenger really does not like the fans calling him out on players.

    Perez- hat trick in the CL, 8 goals and five assists in 17 appearances (8 starts).

    His reward? Over 17 total appearances his average game time has been around 22 minutes.

    I have said before- take into account how squad members feel about seeing the likes of Perez being ignored. Imagine players being given the team selection on Wednesday and asking themselves why Welbeck or Elneny were not on the team sheet.

    Wednesday was a debacle, but try to imagine how so many aspects of Wenger’s management undercut confidence and positivity.

  16. It’s strange some Arenal fans want big signings again and again. Now i understand: they can be scapegoats for anything that happens. Mesut’s agent didn’t say Mesut was great and if you think it is easy to beat Neuer, then ask Sanchez about his initial miss! Mesut didn’t cost more than many other players and is the 12th wage in the PL. If you think this is not deserved and then he can be harrassed day by day… then i think that he MUST leave right at the end of the season.

  17. Good afternoon YW excellent post.

    Hello Henry and C hope you are both well.

    This mess that AFC is currently embroiled in is depressing, whether its on the field or off it.

  18. Wavey,

    I do think that Ox has looked much better centrally and sure he wouldn’t normally sit right infront of the CB’s like that but that gift he gave to Bayern is still there and that is the one thing that has always troubled me with Ox playing centrally. I still don’t understand why Elneny can’t get a run in at that position, he might not be spectacular but we don’t need spectacular in that position, we need solid and consistency (but obviously Elneny has the ability to make “that” pass). I think the whole team looked lost and I know most supporters are giving Xhaka grief (don’t get me wrong he hasn’t been up to it and adapted as quickly as I thought he might) but I think he is being asked to be a different player than what has made him so successful. Arsene from day one seemed to want to have him in that box-to-box role as opposed to sitting deep. His best performances came when he was sitting right in front of the CB’s and being the last man in midfield while being able to dictate from deep. His problem currently is getting used to players playing in space in the PL. I would actually prefer to have one of Ox or Elneny next to Xhaka which would suit all parties: Xhaka to sit deep because he is really good at reading the game and his range of passing is there while allowing Ox or Elneny to be the “busy” player.

  19. HenryB,

    I do know your humor that’s why I went the tarred and feather route if he stayed.

    I actually agree with all of that, even at Arsenal where the strange is normal and normal doesn’t exist; the recent chatter and smoke about replacement managers and all has grown louder than even last season when it seemed that DT and his merry men were set to burn down the Emirates .

  20. YW,

    A normal cup team but like you, I read the question and it seemed like the strongest team with some players like Ox, Iwobi, Gibbs who have played and didn’t perform will be swapped for Elneny, Perez (if fit), Mert returning and quite a few changes.

    Can’t see Sanchez playing but would be interested to see which GK gets the nod, will Ozil start, and who partners Mert.

  21. Ras,

    Good Afternoon Ras (though its just 8am here), I am well; hope you are as well.

    It is depressing because it was always no matter what happened off the pitch or the scoreline we at least watched beautiful and entertaining futbol.

  22. Wavey,

    This was the article on the dressing room bust up.

    The Sun claim the Bayern game was the final straw for Sanchez.

    After the drubbing, the report suggests Sanchez tore into his team-mates and had a row in the dressing room. The angry scenes, it is believed, saw Arsene Wenger’s No.2 Steve Bould throw a water bottle against the wall to stop it.

    Sanchez is currently the Gunners’ top scorer, firing home 17 Premier League goals.

    AW denies there was a problem, but ………

  23. Great post Yogi

    Arsene’s statement about not retiring and managing somewhere next year pretty much seals the deal and he will sign the 2 year contract on offer I suspect. May be I am wrong but I just can’t see him moving to a new situation.

    I suspect the line up for the FA cup game will be similar to the one that played at Southampton. I certainly hope the first team players who have not been getting a lot of minutes will start, Welbeck, Perez, Elneny, Giroud and perhaps even Walcott if he is no longer part of the starting 11. We might need any of those players in case of an injury to one of the first 11 and they could all use the minutes.

  24. He has just told everyone he has no intention of retiring. As Wavey says, it’s a threat to the board and his disciples. he’ll expect the wengerites to come out fighting now. Which they will. He’ll stay.

  25. Whilst I believe Arsene wants to stay (like his teams , he has no plan B) if the season disintigrates as looks entirely possible, even he will have to pull the pin.

    The dressing room may well ultimately decide their manager’s fate …& by some accounts that’s not the happiest place right now.

  26. I think the more important part of the conference for me is Wenger stating that Bayern were a much better team and that they have great players.

    Partially, this is true….If you compare player by player against Bayern players, you will find that we don’t measure up, for example Gibbs vs his opposite number, or Gabriel vs his opposite number, Iowbi vs his opposite number, you get the point.

    But my question to Mr. Wenger is: Knowing what you knew about Bayern team superiority, the horrible past results you had against them, and the frailties of your own team, what did you do about it?

    You went with the same plan as years before, like a dear staring at the headlights of a 16 wheeler truck and you got obliterated, AGAIN.

    The fault here Mr. Wenger is the arrogance of knowing that you’re facing a team much better than you, yet you have done nothing tactically or otherwise to try to get a different result.

    Let’s face it, many of us also knew full well that Bayern are better than us even in their worst times. So, I would have accepted a 2/1 or even a 3/1 defeat which gives us a slight of hope in the 2nd leg. But no, you and your team made sure we have no freaking chance in hell.

    Someone said in a post couple of days ago ( Sorry, don’t remember who) that the 2nd leg will be more ridiculous than the 1st where we probably will beat Bayern when it doesn’t really matter or it won’t affect the outcome of us getting kicked out. That’s absolutely true, I remember beating them when it didn’t really matter.
    ====

    He has done it again, basically what he’s saying is: Accept 4th, accept getting kicked out of the CL in the round of 16, accept Mediocre because it’s all what you going to get. Barcelona didn’t qualify for the CL every year in the last 16 years, but we did.

    Well, Mr. Wenger……That is true, but how many times Barcelona won the CL in the last 16 years?

    Maybe fans shouldn’t watch or go to games anymore to avoid the eminent humiliation and just watch the games on replays * If we win?

  27. C

    Xhaka has been sitting deep rather then being a box to box player even when he plays with Le Coq. He does not play like Cazorla or Ramsey and move up and down the pitch. When those 2 play together they are the double pivot you always talk about and we don’t really have a box to box player. I doubt that Havard Nordtviet was a true box to box type so I suspect that Le Coq and Xhaka would be a similar double pivot set up to the one he was used to in Germany. I don’t think your idea that he is being asked to play differently really fits. Clearly Arsene thought he could be an important player or he would not have spent that much money. At least so far he has been underwhelming and I hope your idea that its an adaptation issue is correct.

  28. C,

    C
    Paris or Barca as you say don’t think either of them would suit his style of management.

    Arsene is on record in an tv interview many seasons ago saying than when he retired from elite football management that he would like to be involved in developing football in a disadvantaged country

  29. Buckagh,

    I would be interested to see that, I guess he could with his “name” and being still well respected attach futboling people to help him.

  30. I know Xhaka has a couple of eye catching long diagonal passes per game in his locker but its takes a lot more then that to be an effective deep lying playmaker for a top of the table and top 10 in Europe team. Hopefully I am wrong but from what I have seen so far, I am not sure he can really thrive in that playmaking role with a team whose goal is to win the PL and go deep in the CL. He does not strike me as the cerebral type of player such as Xabi Alonso, Pirlo, Xavi, Cazorla who have been successful in that role in the past. Xhaka strikes me more of the bull in the china cabinet type who could be the team enforcer. May be a watered down less athletic version of Michael Essien

  31. Hypothetical, for consideration:

    If Arsene announces he is staying but doesn’t sign immediately, and subsequently, Ozil and / or Sanchez leaves, should the board withdraw his contract offer?

  32. Bill,

    We know he was after Kanté, now at Chelsea, but are you sure he would have the same impact here that he has at Chelsea. You see, in my eyes Wenger is shit when to structure up a defence and the double pivot is very much part of that.

    I am getting more and more convinced that he lucked into a well coached defensive setup when he arrived at the club and that has in fact guarded him from being exposed for a very long time. Adams and Keown pretty much dictated the defensive setup the first 8-10 years of his reign and we havent been close to that excellence since.

  33. YW,

    It looks to me that more than those 2 have stopped playing for him. Looks to me like several players are going to the motions and waiting to see what happens.

    Özil is claimed to have said he will only stay if AW stays, but it sure doesnt look that way right now.

    The board is scared shitless and they dont really know what to do, so they will most likely stay with status quo. They are slowly realizing that the only person with some football knowledge at the club is Wenger, so they they have 2 choises really. Stay the safe couse or go fresh with the knowledge that it can potentially blow up in their fase if they get the wrong man.

    I think no matter what happens they will stay the safe course and prolong Wenger for another 2 or 3 years eventhough its clearly time to move on and restructure the club

  34. Raven

    We signed Xhaka in mid – late May and Chelsea did not sign Kante until more then 6 weeks later in mid July and we spent as much or more for Xhaka then Chelsea spent for Kante. The number of players that Arsene has said he tried to get but missed has reached well above triple figures so I am not really sure what that means any more. Its just my guess but I suspect that Arsene really wanted Xhaka because he viewed him as adding more technical skill to his midfield. Time will tell which team got the better deal.

    CBob at 1:13

    I have been saying for years that AW will be our manager to the end of this decade.

  35. I know, Bill and I have always agreed with you.

    As for you, YW, you old stirrer. What do you want us to say?

    Most of us wanted him gone a long time ago.

    The Board, would not in any case, withdraw the proffered contract.

  36. For an experienced and successful manager like Arsene Wenger, he has a difficult decision to make at the end of the season.
    A proud man, jealous of his reputation, he will not regard the 2016/2017 with much satisfaction. Unless of course we win the EPL or the FA Cup.
    If he decides not to renew his contract, he will leave on a bit of a downward spiral.
    If he continues the status quo, what lies ahead? More of the same? Can he turn things around? Is he too set in his ways to change? 😉

  37. Bill,

    I know that, I was trying to make a point about his inability to incoorperate players with different skillset at any given position.
    I think for Wenger Carzola is the perfect storm as one of the players in the double pivot, just like Arteta was before him. When that player needs to be replaced with a player with a different skillset he doesnt adapt his tactics for that. Instead he tries to put that new/other player into the same role eventhough its clearly not working.

  38. HenryB,

    When I say post mortem I don’t mean a blaming session where they pick out all of each others faults. I mean an analysis of the game to address the issues. Without seeing where they go wrong and then working on it how do they ensure the same thing doesn’t happen again? There again, as it seems to time after time maybe they don’t review previous games at all.

  39. Raven

    Your point is very well taken. Kante has been excellent for Chelsea but I am not sure if he would have been as successful with Arsenal.

  40. Raven

    Cazorla is not really a true double pivot player. He does not sit deep the way that Xhaka and Le Coq tend to do. His role is more dynamic and his ability to move with the ball at his feet and his ability to pass made him more a double threat and more of true box to box player.

    I agree with C and I am not sure that Ox is really a great long term option in the “box to box” role because he struggles against better defensive teams but I think part of the reason Ox can thrive in that role against mid and lower table teams is his ability to move forward with the ball at his feet brings something different. I have said this dozens of times but long term I really think that Iwobe needs a couple more years of experience but he has the skill set to be good in that box to box role for us.

  41. Wavey:
    HenryB,

    When I say post mortem I don’t mean a blaming session where they pick out all of each others faults. I mean an analysis of the game to address the issues. Without seeing where they go wrong and then working on it how do they ensure the same thing doesn’t happen again? There again, as it seems to time after time maybe they don’t review previous games at all.

    You were quite clear in the initial comment, and I understood what you were saying.

    My response remains the same. The team members themselves would be unable to be objectively analytical, in my opinion, as they are/were all too involved. The guys to lead that conversation should be the manager or the coaches – but immediately after a gross game like that was too soon.

    If the newspaper article I referred to above is true, a team ‘finger-point’ after the game descended into a bun fight, when one member (Sanchez) slated the others, and they told him to ‘eff off’ and the melee had to be broken up by big Bouldy smashing a bottle on the dressing room wall to get control.

    I seem to remember a post-mortem or two just like that myself. 🙂

    You disagree, but that’s OK.

  42. “I know you like to put things into perspective. Was that the worst performance during your time at the club?”

    V Sheff Utd (A) 30th December 2006

  43. If we are going to use Cazorla as the model then I think we need dynamic and really good midfielder on the pitch. If we keep Ozil and continue to use him in his current role he is actually more of a forward does not really count as a midfielder. Le Coq and Xhaka are more deep lying ball possession players.

    IMO, Elneny is a good player but he is more of the steady as she goes pass and move to the a position to receive the next pass sort of player who is very similar to Arteta and not really someone who with be the dynamic box to box player. Elneny’s steady as she goes might be the best option we have right now especially against better defensive teams that can close down our midfield the way Munich did. However, I would like to see us give Ox a few more chances and may be he can surprise us. I also hope we move Iwobe back into the midfield depth chart and may be give him and Ox a run in the midfield against Sutton

  44. HenryB,

    Hello Henry qui j suis bien merci.

    As I noted earlier totally fed up and pissed of with this situation.The game v Bayern I guess was the final straw that broke AWs back. Just the thought that he may extend his contract does not bode well with me.

  45. C,

    I promised you something a little different and after that farrago of a performance against Bayern this might give food for thought.

    I have been critical of Arsenal for a number of reasons, but a key one for me is our players’ lack of physicality against other teams, and seeing Le Coq, for instance, being shrugged off the ball against Hull, or over-powered by Bayern made me think of another manager who took a crumbling team and changed it from a bunch of flops to overnight success when he took over.

    I am talking about Rugby Union and their then new manager. Four years before he became England’s manager he met a Spanish exercise physiologist who has previously worked extensively with Jose Mourinho, while at Chelsea and Madrid. The Special One [in His Own Mind] was the reason I hesitated to recount this tale. 🙂

    Jones’s meeting with Alberto Mendez-Villanueva was a defining moment both for his own coaching philosophy and was responsible for England’s remarkable transformation since the nadir of the 2015 World Cup.

    This new training philosophy enabled players to withstand the most exacting periods of pressure during the game and to remain in contention near the end of games, even when being outplayed. [Sound like we could use it?]

    This training revolution was critical to England’s ability to withstand even the most draining and intense physicality thrown at them in every match since it was adopted by Jones.

    The methodology was taken from the above-named soccer physiologist, and used for years by Mourhino, and it is called ‘tactical periodisation’.
    The way it works is that each day the team are trained in a specific parameter of the game.
    On day 1, there are intensely physical sessions where far more running, jumping and tackling is done than would be expected in a game.
    On day 2, there is pace training where the team train at least 60 per cent of the session at above the normal game speed, but without any extra fitness work being done.
    as a result fitness and speed improved enormously.

    There are “four moments” of tactical periodisation:
    — offensive organisation,
    — the transition from defence to attack,
    — defensive organisation and
    — the transition from attack to defence.

    The whole aim is to help players rapidly alter their on-field behaviour according to the tactical context of the match and what is happening in front of them. This becomes ingrained and is second nature to the players. Something that just does not happen with Arsenal players.

    This methodology has become know an “Jose’s Secret’ as the Spanish physiologist was sworn not to reveal it while he worked for Maureen.
    When Arsene first came to to Arsenal he was credited with revolutionising the training regimes and dietary behaviour of English football, as well as improving warm up and warm down procedures claimed to have extended the playing careers of the older Gunners like Adams and Winterburn.

    He has now become eclipsed by much younger coaches – but I am sending him, this afternoon, the ‘secret’ training methods mentioned above, so that we do not get squished by the other top teams! 😀

  46. Hi ya, Ras, 🙂

    Good to hear you are OK.

    My gut feeling and based on an analysis of likely outcomes, linked to the words Aw used makes me pretty sure that he has decided to leave. He will not want to, as despite everything he really does love Arsenal.

    Life has a habit of moving on – for everyone – and in 3 years time you will look back and wonder why everyone was so worried and fed up. 😀

  47. I just heard M Wenger’s statement on the wireless. Sounds like he’s set for the long term.

    This will be ‘fun’!

  48. HenryB:
    C,

    I promised you something a little different and after that farrago of a performance against Bayern this might give food for thought.

    I have been critical of Arsenal for a number of reasons, but a key one for me is our players’ lack of physicality against other teams, and seeing Le Coq, for instance, being shrugged off the ball against Hull, or over-powered by Bayern made me think of another manager who took a crumbling team and changed it from a bunch of flops to overnight success when he took over.

    I am talking about Rugby Union and their then new manager. Four years before he became England’s manager he met a Spanish exercise physiologist who has previously worked extensively with Jose Mourinho, while at Chelsea and Madrid. The Special One [in His Own Mind] was the reason I hesitated to recount this tale.

    Jones’s meeting with Alberto Mendez-Villanueva was a defining moment both for his own coaching philosophy and was responsible for England’s remarkable transformation since the nadir of the 2015 World Cup.

    This new training philosophy enabled players to withstand the most exacting periods of pressure during the game and to remain in contention near the end of games, even when being outplayed.[Sound like we could use it?]

    This training revolution was critical to England’s ability to withstand even the most draining and intense physicality thrown at them in every match since it was adopted by Jones.

    The methodology was taken from the above-named soccer physiologist, and used for years by Mourhino, and it is called ‘tactical periodisation’.
    The way it works is that each day the team are trained in a specific parameter of the game.
    On day 1, there are intensely physical sessions where far more running, jumping and tackling is done than would be expected in a game.
    On day 2, there is pace training where the team train atleast 60 per cent of the session at above the normal game speed,but without any extra fitness work being done.
    as a result fitness and speed improved enormously.

    There are “four moments” of tactical periodisation:
    — offensive organisation,
    — the transition from defence to attack,
    — defensive organisation and
    — the transition from attack to defence.

    The whole aim is to help players rapidly alter their on-field behaviour according to the tactical context of the match and what is happening in front of them. This becomes ingrained and is second nature to the players.Something that just does not happen with Arsenal players.

    This methodology has become know an “Jose’s Secret’ as the Spanish physiologist was sworn not to reveal it while he worked for Maureen.
    When Arsene first came to to Arsenal he was credited with revolutionising the training regimes and dietary behaviour of English football, as well as improving warm up and warm down procedures claimed to have extended the playing careers of the older Gunners like Adams and Winterburn.

    He has now become eclipsed by much younger coaches – but I am sending him, this afternoon, the ‘secret’ training methods mentioned above, so that we do not get squished by the other top teams!

    Henry I would argue that Jose’s Secret is as follows:

    – Sign a number of talented expensive players
    – Play a strong defense with two midfielders covering at all times
    – Primarily counter attack
    – Kick long balls to a large centre forward to knock down to midfielders / wingers

    Take away the expensive players and Graham Taylor might fit that…

  49. Pete the Thirst:
    I just heard M Wenger’s statement on the wireless. Sounds like he’s set for the long term.

    This will be ‘fun’!

    He is still in denial.

    It will all come down to the results form here.

    No top 4 and no FA trophy and the choice will be removed by the fans and the press.

    Various other permutations muddy that finality but, barring a significant turnaround, I think he will go at season’s end.

    Interesting times.

  50. Jonny: He is still in denial.

    It will all come down to the results form here.

    No top 4 and no FA trophy and the choice will be removed by the fans and the press.

    Various other permutations muddy that finality but, barring a significant turnaround, I think he will go at season’s end.

    Interesting times.

    Jonny, I was at the Hull game and the apathy was amazing. Nobody could be bothered to protest or even moan at Wenger.

    I get the feeling a run of results and the contract will be signed.

  51. A busy day with work so I haven’t read the other comments, but because as one feel “pickled out” 😉 by yogi’s

    “It does put “Arsène FC” supporters in a bit of a pickle though. If he goes to Paris, they will have to delete the thousands of vituperative tweets about football doping rather quickly…”

    I have to say that I’m slightly too backyardian to care about the French Ligue 1 financial doping, I just want Chelski and ManCity kicked out of the English Prem… Actually it would feel appropriate for Wenger not always having an upfield battle.

    So I’d use that argument only if they come up against Arsenal in Big Cup.

  52. Pete @ 4:31

    Different strategies and styles of play come in and go out of favor but playing really good defense and counter attacking whenever possible is a time proven successful and highly efficient tactical strategy which has stood the test of time for as long as there has been professional football.

  53. HenryB,

    Thanks for the ‘tactical periodisation’ comment, interesting read. I’m quite sure it has elements that has also been a big part of development in ice hockey (the biggest sport up here [and Canada]) in this century.

  54. I think the media will have as big a say, Pete.

    They transcribe/shape the narrative – my suspicion is that there are two many story arcs coming to a head but I am not ruling anything in or out.

    If he renews, it will be supported by at least some significant, tangible recovery.

    ‘How much’? That is a big question.

  55. Wenger is just as shit scared about himself leaving afc as his army of loyal lapdogtroopers and the board are.

  56. Wavey –

    Regarding post mortems – one of the demoralizing points made during on the AST recording which YW posted (featuring writers/journalists close to Arsenal) was post game breakdowns do not really take place in the way we might imagine.

    After a heavy defeat Wenger’s coping measure is to go into a shell, he literally closes himself off. It was even detailed he (habitually) goes to eat at the same restaurant with the owner expecting him to be silent and withdrawn.

    It was further specified no one at the club has the wherewithal to request/demand a meeting to breakdown the loss as it would prove confrontational.

    It sounds as though the matter is simply dropped which dovetails (wasn’t it your comment?) with the basic premise that Wenger then dismisses the loss as ‘just one of those things’ a one off, something outside of his control.

  57. C

    I just saw an article on Arseblog from a couple of days ago called Mes-anine aout tactical stuff. Everything the guy says seems to make sense. It really supports the idea that having Ozil in the central #10 and giving him complete freedom puts us at a tactical disadvantage. I am not into tactical minutiae as much as you and I wondered what you thought.

  58. Dalm,

    If any club took a punt on Wenger it would indicate they were utterly clueless.

    It has staggered me, the idea some serious (serious?) people have been discussing the possibility as if it is on the cards.

    I would love (in an alternative universe) Wenger to resign and see who might offer him a job. I believe within months there would be rumblings from the squad about a clueless manager and he would not last a second season.

    I have no doubt historically many top clubs wanted to hire him.

    However, the reason for his staying at Arsenal was part loyalty, part comfort zone but also partly because he was aware he’d have to prove himself again – a prospect he was neither confdent or enthused about.

  59. Raven,

    You make a great point and one that I have thought about myself. Wenger inherited a team of underperforming ageing winners who lacked a midfield and pace on the wings. The key here is that these players already knew how to win: 2 Leagues, FA Cup, 2 League Cups, Cup Winners Cup. The winning mentality was instilled into Arsenal primarily by one man: George Graham. It was George who made us winners. He also created the best back 5 we have ever had by quite some distance and one of the best ever defences. George won in Europe – unlike Arsene and with far less money.

    Fortunately for Wenger the team he inherited had lost its way, and needed improving in an attacking sense and he was awesome in changing Arsenal’s identity for the better forever. We went from 1-0 to the Arsenal to 4-0. Petit, Overmans and Vieira were genius signings and completed the team. He also revolutionised the thinking training and especially diet and extended the careers of players thought to be past their best.

    I believe that the newer players like Vieira learnt what it meant to play for Arsenal from the established ones and learnt how to win from them as well. These players also knew about game-management, when to be physical and had fantastic mental strength. They were the best at defending leads like v Parma in 94, perhaps the best display of defence against a hugely superior foe that I have ever seen. Again, this was passed onto the newer players.

    Unfortunately when the Invincibles got broken up the younger players coming in did not have the same opportunity to learn these lessons due to the exodus of experienced players. Even more unfortunate is the fact that unlike George, Arsene is simply not able to instil the same lessons and winning mentality to his players. He has had 10 years to do it and he has failed – miserably.

  60. Jonny,

    I believe the media will have a strong say also.

    I think patience has been lost – people have waited for him to make a graceful exit which he has no intention of providing.

    Negative leaks are beginning to appear – the post game bust up was one thing, but the ‘casual’ reveal weeks ago that Perez was being deliberately iced out was due to people thinking it was unwarranted from any perspective.

    And (yet again) I mention there was a breakdown at the club near the end of last season as Leicester distanced themselves and Spurs looked like rising above us….the impression being the club was in crisis and issues were coming to a head. As that situation resolved itself, the matter was ignored.

    We hit that point again (are we there yet?) it will be reported and not buried/ignored.

    There is always an aspect of third hand information about such leaks, but often no smoke without fire. With patience wearing thin, I would not be surprised to see more reports of discontent and conflict behind the scenes because parties have come to the realization the only way to unseat Wenger is to force him out.

    If it happens, it’s of his own making.

  61. C,

    Totally with you, C. I’ve been saying since the start of last season that either Ancelotti or Emery would be fantastic. I’ve been following Emery since his Valencia days and he is a great tactician. Him winning Europa League three years in the row speaks for itself. Not to mention that in his previous jobs he’s had to operate within limiting budgets and always overachieved. psg is his first big job, and while at the start they were rocky, he has now turned the team around, evident by the historic heavy defeat of Barcelona.

    Arsenal board’s yet another pick-up in missing out on him.

    Will missing Allegri be as bad? Probably yes. While not as good as Conte, he still had a shit AC Milan team winning the league (their first in 7 years since Ancelloti and last title as of now). Worth a punt. He can’t be worse than Wenger. In fact not many would.

  62. Finnish

    Same gravy, different sauce. What PSG do is no different from City or Chelsea. You can’t pick and choose which doping you approve of.

    Of course the biggest climbdown will come from Wenger. After all his complaints about financial doping in England, to be a ‘Football Advisor’ to the owner of the biggest dopers of the lot, takes ‘chutzpah’

  63. Someone posted this on facebook and it sums up our Wenger situation:

    “Great men leave when the applaud is loudest; unfortunately, Wenger is a tyrant and like all tyrants, he’ll never leave unless he is forced out! I hate this man for all his excesses”

  64. “Even if i go, Arsenal will not win every game in the future. It’s not like before I arrived Arsenal won five European cups. They’d played around ten European games before me. It’s important the club makes the right decision. I care about this club and want it to be in safe hands.’

    Now correct me if i’m wrong Arsene but we managed to win two European trophies prior to your arrival which is a lot more impressive than the hundreds of games you’ve taken to win none.

    Honestly every time i feel sympathy for him, bang he’s back grandpa senile
    reset the clock put on Nobody Does it Better and call Wednesday a one off mode ! He’s now doing his usual ‘you fans don’t know how lucky you are….if you’re nasty to me until the end of the season i could walk away (although i actually wont). Well at least he’s consistent.

    Where on earth else would he be next season, who would employ him…….he’d be like a lifer being released after decades in jail. Clearly he’s staying, content holding the club back. In his shaky hands. How depressing, hope we are dire for the rest of the season and the atmosphere at the Emirates goes volcanic.

  65. -DFS,

    DFS
    I concur with you-there is only one way he’ll go….and that’s to be pushed.
    I’ve never failed to believe that he’s always had the clubs interest at heart-until just before last season.
    For me that was the turning point and it’s come to the present where he even believes his own deceit.He doesn’t have our best interest at heart if he doesn’t walk at the finish of the season-I posted just last week that I thought he would step down before too long.However,since our drubbing at the hands of Bayern there seems not a drop of humility in his sentiments -he genuinely thinks he can get away with blagging it.
    He changed not only our club but the very way that football was played,how players were trained,their diets,how to use statistics in implementing game plans-he was streets ahead -at that time.
    Now though,he has not only been caught up,but overtaken by not just a few but many managers in the modern football game.His time is up and he should do the honourable thing and move on-anything less and he’s going to tarnish so much that he’s achieved at our club.
    Surely it can’t be about the money-he must be more than comfortable for the rest of his days-he’s either really fucking stubborn or he an egotistical control freak that just won’t let go .
    C’mon Arsene……you know it makes sense.

  66. He’ll probably leave at the end of the season so you’ll all have someone else to moan about every day.

    In the meantime, and this may have been said already, but none of this seems very significant in the Trump era!

  67. Jonnygunner,

    Agree with everything you say.

    Perhaps I (we all) are a little melodramtic but I found the Friday presser surreal.

    Each of us has a coping mechanism to deal with set backs – excuses or denial – but to leap to the claim ‘I’ll be managing here or somewhere else next season” seemed a tad unhinged to me, a mix of false bravado and limp blackmail.

    Wenger has been left in his own world for too long – he cannot distinguish what is or is not in the best interest of Arsenal as opposed to himself.

    Though I have felt he should leave for sometime, I also had a more recent point when I thought Wenger verged on batshit when he went on his rant about ‘he had made the club’. His contribution has been immense, but we existed as Champions (multiple) before Wenger and will do so after Wenger.

    The statement seemed to scream no one had an opinion which carried more weight than his, no one was as important to Arsenal as he was.

    In an historical context the argument might be plausible – is he the best manager we have ever had? However, in the present with a team plateaued for ten years it struck as detached hubris to an alarming degree.

    I want Wenger to leave with head held high – but with each week or debacle which passes I’ve less belief this will ever happen.

  68. I just want him to leave, I don’t care how as long as its soon.

    The quote about “5 European Cups” is a disgrace, especially from the only man to lose 3 European finals.

  69. The comparison to Fergie at this time is so strong and it’s doing him no favours whatsoever

    Whatever you think of the bloke, he won everything. Over and over again. He reinvented his teams and his style of play to just keep winning. The polar opposite of Arsene

    He chose the perfect moment to step down, at the last high note. People have said that he did the dirty on United and left the squad in bad shape. To a degree I agree, but they had just won the league, there had to be something there for the next guy to work with??

    Arsene seems to have had some thinly veiled digs at that very point. That when he hands over, he’ll give the next guy the league on a plate sort of thing. Best for AFC noise. I don’t buy that sentiment anymore

    I said at the start of this season that we’re a first rate CF and a new manager away from being title contenders. I still believe that. Problem is that Sanchez is off, probably Mesut too. Take them out of the squad and Everton look more threatening.

    The only way I can see either of them staying is with news that a new manager is coming in. Now. He should say he’s off in the summer and the new man can negotiate the contracts. I don’t want him loose with our transfer budget again. I don’t want him loose to regress players. You can’t say that Gabriel, Xhaka, Mustafi and Perez are all just struggling because of the new league thing. They all came with pedigree and showed in in their opening spells. What happened? They’ve all gone backwards. Why?

    A good friend of mine said were done as a top team for a few years yesterday. I tend to agree. I think he’ll take another two years and honour the contract. The better than average players will leave. You could see Spurs, Everton and Liverpool all leap frog is in that time. Who’d come here with any credibility as a player? The next tier of good but not greats are all of to China for mega-cash. We’ll be fighting Stoke for 16 year old lady in the transfer market

    Honestly, I give up

    Now is the time to make his mind up for him but we won’t. The Emirates will be quiet and he’ll think it’s okay. We should go nuts in there!! Proper mental stuff

    I could see Monday being a tight game, Sutton will be up for it, a real fight. Liverpool away could be another disaster, then if Bayern want to embarrass us again, they easily could. We’re then doen to be at home to Leicester on 11th, which will be postponed if either we or they progress in the FA cup (they face Millwall in their tie this weekend), which is fairly likely. I think that’s a shame as that could have been a tipping point, with emotions quite high on the back of a horrible run

    I don’t know where else I see the Emirates turning on him before he makes his mind up. Can anyone else?

  70. It actually wouldn’t shock me if he’d signed the tucking thing this week while it was still on the table and put the board at ease. They need not worry, they don’t have to hunt for a new man, he’ll stay. Whilst agreeing to not bring it out in public until the mood is a tad better

    If I were him and wanted to stay, that’s what I’d do. I genuinely couldn’t back myself to not have such a bad run to May that it might get taken off the table.

    I had a look at the fixtures and they look pretty daunting tbh. The games you would think would be easy, are starting to reek of teams that are fighting for their lives. I can’t see an easy run in there of three or four games where it might all look a bit peachy again. Or is that me being miserable?

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