“When he [Mourinho] arrived at Chelsea from Porto, he brought the main thing: he came from a club where he not acceptable to him to finish second of the championship. “He brought the same spirit in Chelsea. He thinks only about victory, whatever the price.”
“The philosophy at Arsenal is completely opposed to this: it is not win at all costs but we want to win with a good way of playing. This is beginning to change in our approach.”
“We refuse to play without a good way of playing and that’s something that is passed from generation to generation.
“I think we find good balance during the last weeks of last season. The main idea today is to continue to control the game including securing our advantage at the back.”
“My dream today would be to win as much with Arsenal as with Chelsea but I do not think I have ten years left in me for that.”
This spoke Petr Cech to French football magazine, So Foot.
In other words, the papal infalibility conferred on Le Boss’ philosophy isn’t merited; we’re not winners, we’re winners only if we do it in the right way. And as such, there’s nothing wrong whatsoever in taking that view. Every club needs a philosophy and the manager ingrains that into the fabric of every squad. Arsène has done that although it’s not a stretch to argue that he’s done it a shade too much.
If you define ‘shade’ as pressing as hard as you can on the paper and scribbling the colour in to the point of creating a tear so that the pencil goes through the page.
I Was Hoping We’d Make Real Progress
Cech is against reverting to a flat back four. All of us agree a back three comprising just full backs isn’t a good idea and we suffered accordingly. The question is whether we’re in a phase of Wenger procrastination.
He shouldn’t change the formation every time we lose a match but how long will he keep faith with the system if results don’t improve? At the root is his philosophy of letting players express themselves. It’s too laissez-faire; our squad aren’t disciplined enough. Aaron Ramsey is the lightning rod for criticism in this area but it applies to most of our XI.
We don’t get it wrong every minute of every game but indiscipline seems punished more ruthlessly by opponents than vice versa.
Back-to-back defeats on the road is a great concern. We face a Bournemouth side needing points this weekend and even though it’s a routine home win most seasons, we’re in poor form and off the back of the international break; there’s no guarantee which Arsenal will turn up.
Hopefully, a fully motivated one but that’s doubtful. Alexis was royally fed up with the Chilean press criticising him and a failed move to Manchester City won’t improve his mood. City, it’s claimed, will be back with a £20m bid in January. We turned down £70m and they are coming back with less than one-third of that? Yeah, there’s logic there. Somewhere, screaming to stay in.
Wenger’s philosophy is one end of the scale, Mourinho’s the other. Win well vs win; Graham found the balance fleetingly, landing two titles; Arsène likewise and took it a step further with the unbeatean season. Only in the 1930s did the club get the balance consistently right for a sustained period of time. We’re currently going too far toward the pretty play.
But It Seems We Have Lost The Power
He sought to defend himself by drawing comparison to the England team at this morning’s press conference:
If England hasn’t won in 50 years on the international stage, you have to change the conclusion.
If you take the biggest teams in the world, they play all types of football. To say winning ugly and kicking the ball into the stands to win matches, it is wrong.
We want to win but the best way to win is to perform.
And even then the play this season isn’t particularly pretty. Misfiring, the open passing game isn’t working with baffling team selections a major contributing factor. This weekend is new start, a fresh chance to gain impetus for the campaign.
Part of that problem is solved with Ox at Anfield for his second consecutive Liverpool outing, even if one of them was supposed to be for us. Glancing at the way he spoke about Jurgen Klopp, I was struck by the words. They were the same as how players used to talk about Arsène; it’s been a long time since I’ve seen any of the current squad or even the new signings talk that enthusiastically about Wenger.
Whether he can regain his mojo, only time will tell.