Arsène: Winds Of Change Or Storm In A Teacup?

Deadlines, shmedlines. Two of the least reliable sources at two of the least reliable sources claim that Arsène (a) has been offered a new deal, and, (b) has until the end of the month to accept it. As if. Maybe I should have put ‘Headlines, shmedlines’ instead or preferably, something altogether more pithy or witty.

Claims of deadlines or meetings in a fortnight’s time are meaningless; the board long ago ceded authority over the manager. Generally from the moment they accepted the directorship. Stan’s answer every time anyone broaches the subject of Arsène leaving is, “Hey guys, he’s making me money”, and that ends the discussion. We’ve known from early on, he’s a “hands off my money” investor but honestly, that’s not going to change – neither his ownership or attitude – any time soon.

Managers are the owners lightning rod. Unless the boss is either hugely popular or in the honeymoon period – sometimes both – the puppet master gets a free run. One who is thousands of miles away won’t care what supporters think. It’s a long game to remove owners, which generally begins they take control of the club. The days of plurality of ownership are long over; the value of the club pretty much precludes that. At best, we can hope for supporter representation on the board, which in the current ownership model will be nothing more than a PR sop.

Yesterday’s press conference summed up the situation at Arsenal; everything is about Wenger’s future. The line about objectivity rings hollow in the maelström which surrounds the club as a result of his indecision. The club could sign Messi tomorrow and it would still be a PR disaster; that’s purely down to one situation.

Jive Talking

Out of all this, I still believe Arsène will renew his contract. Out of the turmoil rises the hero, to save the club and turn around its fortunes; two more years becomes four. It’s less about objectivity than not wanting to see everything he has built crash amid acrimony. The only job I think he will leave for is at PSG; that’s a personal opinion, nothing more. I don’t believe the stories about China beyond it being agent-speak; “if you managed there…”

They are utterly irrelevant to Arsenal’s future. The manager still has the dressing room, that’s apparent. The Sanchez and Özil situation won’t impact on that either. While they are the ‘stars’, others have more loyalty to the manager. That’s football loyalty, by the way, which carries less strength that wet tissues. It’s about to be tested anyway. A number of the ‘squad’ players are waiting to talk about contracts or move on. With one year or so left, Arsenal must sell this summer or lose on a free.

Potentially, there will be a lot of activity for first team players and it’s the perfect time to get a new boss in to remould the squad. Arsène doesn’t hide his distaste for the transfer business of football and I have strong reservations that the club has the experience or capability to handle a multitude of negotiations at once. I don’t recall one summer where we have been dynamic or pro-active; there is no evidence this one will be any different.

Main Course

With no tournaments this summer, the football winds will howl around the transfer window. Arsenal’s PR, notoriously poor, needs to be spot on from May onwards in the event of Arsène remaining in charge. It’s a tough sell in the first place but any sign of the usual lethargy in squad strengthening/overhaul, and the tinderbox seems set to ignite.

And here’s where the contradictory nature of football comes in. Why would Arsène want to renew? The legacy, I think, is intact. Taking Arsenal forward as he did, changed the club irreversibly; he put the building blocks in place and now it’s maintenance, keeping the structure well-maintained and modern. Trophies are written into football’s historical scrolls, they aren’t Arsène’s legacy; it’s the modern club which is.

We’re now talking about how he is remembered, and there are two strands to that. While the short-term will be clouded by the period 2009 to date, the cloud of dust which needs to cleaned off the trophies to let the good times shine through brighter in the longer-term. Some will always remember him more fondly than others; it’s always the way but it’s generally some time before a genuine appreciation can be made of the overall impact of one person.

Winds of Change

In years to come, it will be viewed in a positive light when the current acrimony has subsided. But this is superfluous; it’s emotional and a legacy – in football terms – should be tangible. Arsène’s is and it shouldn’t impact on his thinking. He changed the footballing philosophy of the club while maintaining his standards through what is a tough period. Home moved and infrastructure in place; job done. The current squad isn’t part of that; it’s transient and needs to be spoken of separately from legacy.

Let’s face it, we know how the story goes. New manager wins trophies, it’s down to the core of the squad he inherited; it’s the same tale with a different narrator.

But the club needs a new book. This one is weighing heavy on its’ shelves and that only leads to it crashing down to the ground.

’til Tomorrow.

49 thoughts on “Arsène: Winds Of Change Or Storm In A Teacup?

  1. Good Post, Yogi.

    There will be changes whatever happens — that’s life. Our man Bob Dylan has it about right.

    Come bloggers and critics
    Who prophesize with your pen
    And keep your eyes wide
    The chance won’t come again
    And don’t speak too soon
    For the wheel’s still in spin
    And there’s no tellin’ who
    That it’s namin’
    For the loser now
    Will be later to win
    For the times they are a-changin’

  2. Good morning Yogi, thank you for the post.

    From Wenger’s comments yesterday that he feels priestlike in his devotion to Arsenal, I get the impression that he is suffering the onset of religious mania. Does he see himself as the next messiah?

    He was talking of raising himself to “The next level”. I would rather that he kept his feet on the ground and got is team to play to their best level, not the one to which they have slipped in recent weeks.

  3. Poor old arsene. I used to have a very stressful job, but was also just as rewarding
    to me as arsene is to him, not financially of course. Maybe that’s why I have sympathy for him. I cannot imagine going through his day, dealing with a 24hr a day job. Maybe it’s easier to be a manager for a top premier team than I thought, one would think so if you listen to all the views. I don’t know what it takes to build a top team, the spuds haven’t won a title for donkeys, and if they had kept the same manager for the past 20yr they still wouldn’t. Wenger is a good manager , he has kept us as the most consistent, yes I know 4th but consistent. I actually think it’s time to go because that’s life not down to any ineptitude on his part. Will he go this season, I don’t think so

  4. Stan Kroenke owns 66.4 % of Arsenal Holdings PLC whilst Alisher Usmanov owns 30.5%
    If Kroenke wont let Usmanov have anybody on the board or have any control over the running of the club then why would he be bothered about what disgruntled fans think.
    And Arsene is his money making machine
    Kerching!!!

  5. “The Sanchez and Özil situation won’t impact on that either. While they are the ‘stars’, others have more loyalty to the manager. ”

    How can you affirm this? Proof, interviews, anything?
    I think it can be valuable for Sanchez, not for Özil.

  6. Alexis seems to leave Arsenal. I know its only rumours and rumours are in general bollocks, but reading different sources he is slowly getting linked to more and more teams.

    What legacy? I think he will have 2 different onces depending on who you ask. There is quite alot of fans who are fans of AW first and Arsenal second and they will always see him in the highest escelon of managers. Then you have a 2nd group of fans who put Arsenal before AW and they will generally say that he had a good first half, but he lost it in the 2nd and that have hurt his legacy.
    There is a risk that the 2nd group will grow if he keeps going all Groundhog Day on us if he resigns.

    Start 11 for the Liverpool game:
    Cech
    Bellerin- Mustafi-Kos (Holding)- Nacho
    Elneny-Ox
    Sanchez-Özil-Perez
    Welbeck

  7. Raven,

    Elneny is out injured and I don’t trust the Ox in possession against a high pressing team in the middle of the park.

  8. To bad about Elneny. Dont want to see LeCoq there so maybe Xhaka.
    The times Ox has been good it has been in centermidfield rather than on the wing and I would rather have him in there than LeCoq

  9. The protest movement in Chile urging Sanchez to leave Arsenal received 14,000 promises from people willing to attend a rally. The rally was cancelled when only ten (10) people turned up.

  10. Raven,

    I know, I really think Elneny gives us stability and most importantly consistency in midfield. Le Coq is starting to transform into Song minus the passing range and he has to remember what made him so valuable to the team.

  11. C,

    Its unfortunately a trend with our midfielders that over time they get less and less disciplined and focused on their role for the team. But honestly cant fault them, cause I dont think AW demands alot of discipline

  12. Great post yogi

    Arsene will be around at least until the end of this decade and perhaps longer. He has no reason to leave. World class wages, unquestioned control and authority and he sets his own performance standards and he determines what level of results constitute success. Who in his right mind would give up a job like that?

  13. The U23 team to face Spuds:

    Martinez, Jenkinson, Debuchy, Sheaf, Bramall, McGuane, Nelson, Malen, Dragomir, Willock, Sanogo

    Bloody hell, the prodigal son returns.

  14. I don’t think Le Coq was ever as good as we gave him credit for and he has not been as bad as we think this season. He just happened to come into the squad in 2015 just when we were starting on one of our good runs of form after the World Cup hangover was lifting and the energy in the squad around him helped to carry him. It was clear from his past history that he was not a world class player. He is like so many of the players on our squad. He is a capable of being a complimentary piece of the puzzle and looks good when the team is playing well but he is not a difference maker and he is not mentally strong enough to overcome the culture of the club and maintain the hardworking selfless style of play that characterized his first season when the rest of the squad losses its energy.

  15. Good read YW. Let’s all hope Pete the thirst is wrong and Wenger isn’t channeling his inner Roux…terrifying thought.

  16. Mustafi looked like one of the best signings of the decade early in the season when the team was playing well. Xhaka looked good early in the season. Now both look average at best. It seems like the up and down mentality and culture of the squad is just to strong for most players to overcome.

  17. C,

    It’s not as if it would diminish the crowd, the match is being played at the training centre admission is by invitation only.

  18. The one thing that has characterized Arsene’s teams of the last decade is the ability to demonstrate amazing mental strength whenever 4th place is at risk. This is the going to be the toughest fight for that top 4 spot in this decade and I am confident that we will put together one more run of good form before the end of this season and the rising tide raises all ships. When the good run comes whichever players happen to be in the starting line up at the time will get credit for being the difference makers in the same way Le Coq was in 2015.

  19. You can get match updates on Twitter, not that I’m signed up to that particular social media crap outlet.

  20. Orson Kaert,

    It literally doesn’t make any sense, sure you show the Chelsea match but why not show the Spuds match too.

    I don’t have Twitter mate, actually I don’t have any social media; ACLF is as close as I get. I might be the only person 30 and under that doesn’t have social media.

  21. Coquelin is having some poor games this season but casually dismissing him is unfair.

    When he returned from Charlton he put up stats, week in and out, that matched anyone’s. In essense that continued last year when against Everton (March 20th) he produced a record breaking ( in PL’s history) performance.

    This year, you cannot look at defense and midfield and say anyone has been consistent.

    As for Coquelin venturing forward (something which I have agreed is a mistake) it is hardly as though he has simply decided to do so himself – obviously Wenger has instructed/encouraged him. If Mustafi suddenly took a midfield role in passages of play we would not describe it as Mustafi ‘felt’ like playing a more forward role.

    To be frank, I am not even driven to defend Coquelin in the Arsenal context anymore. I think Wengers ability to manage games/players has deteriorated so much it’s a redundant exercise.

    I am sorry to admit I look at a player like Coquelin and would love to see him playing for another team/manager – Conte, Pochettino, Koeman or any decent manager actually – I have lttle doubt his game would improve immediately.

  22. C,

    Regarding tomorrow, I am hoping against all hope we somehow pull one of those great Arsenal performances out of thin air – we all know we need to do so.

    I agree with others this game, even more than usual (if possible) has now taken on huge significance. That said, I am not sure we are capable at the moment and Liverpool are just as needy as we are for the three points.

    Hate to sound defeatist but I think a draw would suit both parties.

    The overarching problem is a defeat away, followed by the imminent exit from the CL (with perhaps another embarrassing loss to Bayern) is going to leave us at a very low ebb and make for a truly ugly run to the end of the season.

  23. C,

    Without wishing to put the mockers on Arsenal, I think we have a very good chance of taking all three points. Liverpool are in a bit of a state at the moment, but they are capable of raising their game, and they usually do against Arsenal, but their defence is suspect against pace and we have the pace to take advantage of that fact.

    Much will depend on the team Wenger picks, unfortunately, Ramsey is available and we all know how much the manager likes to lever him into the starting eleven at every opportunity.

    Pick the right eleven, play with pace and take the three points.

  24. C:
    Now why wouldn’t they show that on Arsenal player?

    It was an away game at Totteringham — no sharing. 🙁

  25. DFS-,

    I actually think we will pull it out in a rather open type of match which actually suits us in our current form, enough of this non-sense with sitting deep; to be honest, we are shit at it

  26. Orson Kaert,

    I actually agree with you, I know it sounds funny given he isn’t nearly good enough defensively (position wise and staying focused) but I think Iwobi next to Xhaka or telling Le Coq if he crosses midfield he is benched for the rest of the season, would do us a world of good; just no Ox or Ramsey in that position as both struggle when pressed and the last thing we need is either to pull an Ox ro Ramsey gifting them a goal because of being poor in possession.

    I would go with a front 4 of Ozil/Theo/Perez/Sanchez.

  27. HenryB,

    Sorry mate, it was at Arsenal, just terrible by the club and PR especially with Yaya scoring (actually had a really good bicycle attempt saved so he could have had 2) and Arsenal winning 2-0.

  28. C,

    Agree, we need to attack and put them on the back foot – they’re weak in defense.

    Wouldn’t it be funny, therefore, if Wenger deided this would be a good game for Giroud to start?

    Klopp is saying he is 100% confident -it’s a strange thing to declare. He either is, or is intentionally setting himself up for a potential fall.

    If Liverpool lose to us at home, I think quite a number could turn on him – perhaps he sees this as a tipping point.

  29. DFS-,

    It would be the stangest thing if Arsene went with Giroud but to be honest, this is exactly the type of match Arsene loves to start Giroud, against clubs that struggle against pace and movement.

    Klopp is in an interesting situation because their downfall started when both Coutinho and Mane left the line-up and we all know they tend to turn up against us. I actually think he is setting himself up for quite the turn around and this match I think is massive for both clubs. Liverpool lose and Klopp is in hot water.

    We lose or play like shit and draw and then have Bayern next, the situation and atmosphere will make lasts seasons unrest look like nothing more than a minor blip at best.

  30. I’m expecting an entertaining draw this evening. Arsene will claim it’s a good point away to a top team (or something similar) and we’ll be in our traditional 4th place on goal difference by the end of the weekend. The title will of course ‘still be mathematically possible’.

    United will grind their way to a top four finish and we will rely on one of our competitors (Spurs almost certainly) to collapse late on to claim a CL place which Arsene will claim to be a ‘successful’ season and validate his decision to sign up for life 😉

  31. andy1886,

    I am looking forward to the match, the more I think about it, the more I think this is going to be one of those matches that has plenty of goal chances and it could certainly be a 4-3 type of match. This is a match more so than ever that we need players that are willing to run because with Clyne and Milner at FB they are going to be bombing forward and pressing high up the pitch no matter what. Based on Arsene’s comments, we will be attacking and I have no problem with that at all.

    The big thing will be who plays in midfield and how they handle Liverpool’s pressing.

  32. Damon,

    We know pool will pull out a high energy game. Can we pull our socks up and not look like fools and deal with the high press and players being pulled apart?, can we keep our cool, get enough if the ball, have we got the tools? Just Going on our past behaviour, no.

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