On Morals, Achilles & West Ham

Oh, the banter.

David Moyes, without one hint of self-awareness, claims to have “apologised to the girl” and “she is fine” about threatening her with a slap. Sunderland aren’t new to this:

The Scum‘s Kelvin MacKenzie, who has form with football supporters in much the same way Piers Morgan does, called the Spanish, “donkey rogerers” in his column yesterday.

So, how’s the shape of Britain’s moral compass these days?

At least Arsenal are…oh.

What a shambles.

Reports this morning bring ‘suggestions’ over Ars√®ne’s future. Ivan and co want everything in place so that the renewal of his contract is¬†advertised as wholesale change, with the Frenchman the driving force. More strong leadership from the CEO and owner.

No pressure on Ivan and Co to modernise, to get off their arsenals and manage the manager but they will keep everyone in the dark about their futures. It’s interesting that while the¬†Mirror is the attack dog, hounding Alexis, the¬†Heil is also becoming a favoured outlet.

Gerry Peyton and Boro Primorac are ‘concerned’ about their futures. After two decades of working together, I’d be stunned if the latter doesn’t know already.

I’m adding a very big caveat here: Wikipedia editors recently voted to remove the¬†Heil as a trusted source. Think about that for one second. Wikipedia doesn’t trust the¬†Heil¬†to deliver the truth. ¬†Wikipedia.

You Need Hands

Peyton has long been a lightning rod for criticism. Fabianski, Szczesny, Ospina; mistakes aren’t ‘coached out’ of the players. While that is largely on the players, the coach has to be able to get through to them. Peyton doesn’t seem to be able to get through to them, or get the information to stick in their minds.

It was a surprise that Petr Cech didn’t sign Christophe Lollichon when he left Chelsea. The bond between the two was said to be strong, with the goalkeeper having total faith in the coach. An opportunity lost?

The whole scenario is symptomatic of what’s being called a ‘stasis’. Barney Ronay offered an interesting thoughts on comparing Arsenal and Manchester City squads. It’s a misdirection to say we can’t compete with City, as if that’s the problem. Squad building is the issue and Ars√®ne’s mojo has packed its case and has left home.

Can the reshaping of the club repair that? I’m dubious, to say the least.

Hammer Time

Anyway, it’s football this week, with West Ham arriving at the Emirates on a run of four consecutive defeats and six without a win. Which makes them prime candidates for three points.

The back four is a concern at the moment. Nacho Monreal hasn’t been at his best this season while Hector Bellerin has reached the¬†momentary plateau every young player crosses.

But it’s the centre, the heartbeat of the back four, which is the real concern. Shkodran Mustafi’s initial injection of enthusiasm into the defence was much-welcomed but the capitulation in Munich underlined the doubts. He’s been labelled ‘the new Vermaelen’ but with Koscielny’s achilles problem putting pressure on the remaining central defenders.

Gabriel did well on Sunday, albeit not put under pressure by City. He’s not won over the coaching staff or manager with his level of English consistently referred to. A big summer clearout is talked about and the Brazilian is¬†one I expect to move on.

Andy Carroll will rubbing his hands with glee at the prospect of facing us.

Ars√®ne’s press conference will no doubt shed more light on the team news.

Elsewhere, Alexis is linked with a move to PSG, to form a dream attack. Anyone who saw their capitulation in Barcelona might ponder if investing more money in defenders might be a better strategy for the French club to follow. About that…

Dad’s Jukebox

The time machine has ticked over to 1998; click here for the soundtrack to the year.

’til Tomorrow.

133 thoughts on “On Morals, Achilles & West Ham

  1. Andy, that’s why I would accept a new manager even if it means a decline in league position for a few years. At least I would be interested in what happens.

  2. And, I would have hope that we might so outperform the standard 3/4 position trailing the league winners by 8-12 points regular as clockwork.

  3. I hope so, C. And, by the way, football is romantic, so you are in the right place.

    However, corporate culture is the antithesis of romanticism.

    Andy is a romantic too, he clings to the idea that criminals have hijacked our club. Except, he doesn’t really. His earlier posts give him away.

    I have four grandsons all inducted into the Arse. Will they love the club in 10 years time, never mind fifty?

    No. I don’t think so.

    You know, I fear that we are the last generation to know and understand that.

  4. Did l hear somewhere that Wenger said we were unbeaten in 20 games in the PL this season? As if that’s some kind of achievement? Yes, Arsene it’s good enough to get you up as high as sixth in the table.

    Hadn’t seen the guys squaring off against the Arsenal FanTV group after the game until now. So sad that there is fighting between fans at most games now. I hadn’t realised initially that there had been fighting in the ground. Surely the BoD and the manager have to react to that?

  5. Limestonegunner,

    Exactly. Arsene makes a virtue of consistency but the truth is that in sport you expect and accept ups and downs as part of the experience. Arsene is the football equivalent of lithium. We go to football to escape the humdrum existence of daily life, or at least we used to. He’s sucked the joy out of it for many of us and that’s inexcusable.

  6. andy1886,

    He still bleats on about top 4 finishes and how hard it is to keep doing it every year, but he never explains why it matters (apart from the money) if we are never going to actually compete.

  7. Wavey,

    I’m almost feeling guilty for introducing my lad to the club a season or two back. The only upside is that he’s unlikely to have to go through another twenty years of Wenger.

  8. Wavey,

    Hasn’t it occurred to him that he has a top four budget and is paid a top four wage and therefore the minimum expectation is funnily enough that he achieves exactly what his resources and remuneration require? Now winning the league on Leicester’s budget isn’t easy. Finishing ahead of Arsenal on 60% of the wage bill (Spurs) or 80% of the wage bill (Liverpool) isn’t easy. Achieving the bare minimum doesn’t qualify as hard work in my book.

  9. consolsbob,

    Been saying for some time that they are going to lose the younger followers. One of the biggest factors when kids pick a club is success. It’s why Liverpool had so many Londoners supporting them in the 80s and United in the 90s. Even those following the club because of family are losing interest. So sad.

  10. I think this club was dying as soon as Kroenke bought in and the board started accepting his takeover.

  11. consolsbob,

    Maybe. I just hope that enough people get angry enough to force the issue. Maybe confirmation of Wenger’s new contract will be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. To a certain extent it feels like people are holding off with the hope that he decides to leave. Once that hope is extinguished I expect things to get worse, even downright nasty.

  12. I thought something fundamental would change and it has. Gazidis is the epitome of a corporate diplomat. His job has been to effect the corporatization of the club. The Emirates move didn’t help, of course but building a bigger stadium itself didn’t have to mean a decisive culture change. If it isn’t dead it is on life support. But what big club is really what it was?

  13. You know, even if a new manager comes in and we start winning again?

    Yes, we will enjoy the results, be glad that we are ‘competing’.

    But it won’t be WHL in ’71 or Anfield in ’89 ever again.

    All gone. No more heroes.

  14. But that is the same thing, Andy.

    To become ‘downright nasty’ doesn’t restore the pride, the glory and the sheer foolishness of supporting a football club.

    The Arsenal that I loved is gone. History, finished.

    This thing that has the same name? No, not my love. She died.

  15. My son is still proud to be a young gooner. He loves the shirt and badge, has had thrills at the Emirates and remembers them, and loves Alexis. He even still likes AW but thinks he should retire. He plays football and collects his Topps cards. I hope it lasts. I worry about the world he is growing up in and inheriting but I can’t think of a major club I’d rather he support, certainly in England.

  16. He didn’t get to see the Invincibles but he knows the great players of that era and is in awe of our club’s legends. It isn’t the same club and history is full of change–lately the changes have really been for the worse–but I suppose that’s the best we can expect in this corporate period.

  17. Sorry to offend the usual four people who take umbrage over any comment which doesn’t require Arsene Wenger’s head on a charger.
    In actual fact, all I did in my earlier comment was to urge all supporters of our great Club to get behind the team (and Yes, also the manager) from now until the season’s end.
    For those who are still interested, I hold no brief for Arsene save the fact that he is the appointed manager of ArsenalFC and unless or until that situation changes, he will have my backing and, I maintain, the entitled backing of all similar loyal supporters. ūüėČ

  18. Arsene Wenger not sure who was captain in 2nd half of City’s Game………..The man lost his marbles and possibly a long time ago.

  19. No designated captain just makes a formal point of the long-standing reality that this team has lacked serious leadership for many years.

  20. consolsbob,

    Well if futbol is about romanticism then I will more than gladly carry the Arsenal romantic torch.

    I’m not sure how old your grandchildren are but my hope for my 4 year old daughter is that she grows up and sees the Arse turn back into the Arse that you know and love; the one that I grew up hearing about even though I have only known Arsene as a manager. I think its quite possible and I actually hold onto the idea that another manager could most certainly bring back the glory days.

    The Arse was great, stayed great, now its struggling but it will be great again!

  21. nicky,

    We all love the club and even the most cynical amongst us supports the players and those wearing the badge, that doesn’t mean those with differing opinion are wrong or anything of that nature, instead, look at them as those of generally your generation who saw the greats come from school boys to champions and wish and want for that again. Those that wore the badge proudly and fought until the end including the manager.

    Is Arsene past it, of course he is, but even at the end of Graham and those that came before him, there was a sense of, “Please let the club move on”, the only difference is that Arsene continues to have a go at anybody who thinks otherwise of him while setting the bar lower and lower.

  22. Catalyst for change my arse….

    “Arsene Wenger has shunned the idea of making major changes to the way he runs Arsenal if he stays at the club, insisting that the right structure to succeed already exists “as it is today.”

    Wenger’s comments seemed at odds with Arsenal CEO Ivan Gazidis, who told fans this weekend that the club’s poor run of results over recent weeks will be used as “a catalyst for change” — whether Wenger stays in charge beyond this season or not.

    But when asked about Gazidis’ comments, Wenger said clubs shouldn’t focus on “superficial” things and defended his own accomplishments in transforming the club since his arrival in 1996, saying massive structural changes have already been made “without anybody putting one penny in, all only based on the quality of my work.”

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