STONE COLD FRIDAY: Cutting Our Losses To Make Us Whole

A fascinating characteristic in the animal kingdom is the single-mindedness of the herd to sacrifice one of its own to save the whole. You see it when the prey kill or sacrifice an injured member so they don’t slow down the whole pack as they flee from predators. Perhaps the time has come for Arsenal to cut its losses and make the team whole again.

Chelsea away showed us the importance of the team is greater than the sum of its parts. Both Petr Cech and Nacho Monreal alluded to the fact that the team recognized they had to redeem themselves in the eyes of the fans and make themselves righteous again.

Seven wins since the mauling at Liverpool. Four of those came in the Premier League without conceding a goal; not a bad return at all. I’d be surprised if Arsenal wasn’t the team of the month in September. For the most part, it happened because of the team ethic and not a superstar carrying the side.

The question is whether we can achieve the same consistency for the rest of the season. The next few Premier League games against Watford, Everton and Swansea start answering this question, giving us a chance to sneak into the top four under the radar.

Winnable matches one and all but only if the players continue to apply themselves in the right way.

Of Mental Flight and Diminishing Returns

Speaking of flying under the radar, Mesut Ozil undoubtedly used the drama of Alexis Sanchez to skate past the dodgy terrain of the supporters wrath. Until now that is.

Özil’s PR team served their client well. In Australia when they promised it was all in hand, he was so convincing that we believed him. Yesterday, a photo op next to an Arsenal branded gym mat showed the German hard at work recovering. Considering he only played 9 minutes against West Brom, you could be forgiven for scratching your head and wondering how he got injured again just before the trip to Belarus.

Is Wenger pulling an ‘Almunia’ on Ozil? After the Spaniard’s West Brom “Supermare” at the Emirates conceding three inexplicable goals, the Spaniard was never seen in between the Arsenal sticks again. The official reason was a strange injury which kept reoccurring; he never became ‘fully fit’ again until he joined Watford.

Thomas Vermaelen suffered the same fate after being left holding the bag following that debacle at Spurs. There’s no doubt that Wenger’s always been ruthless that way.

There’s no question that the team is more balanced and performed better without Özil in the last few games. We defended better as a team and attacked more cohesively. Özil for sure has his moments but when we’re not playing well, my sense is that he is a liability and we end up playing with 10 men.

Perhaps the time has now come for Arsenal to cut its losses with Özil. Jack Wilshere and Alex Iwobi have a great opportunity to stake a claim for that No. 10 spot; they need to grab it with both hands and refuse to let go. Martin Keown’s view is that just like Elvis, Ozil has mentally left the stadium.

What Neymar Wants, Neymar Gets

Just ask Edinson Cavani. These are strange times when a player gets to dictate to a club who to buy in the transfer window. If you believe the stories out of PSG, Neymar decided the French giants should get rid of Cavani and get him (!) Alexis Sanchez. Apparently, the Brazilian and Chilean are good friends, just like our Lacazette is with Antoine Griezmann.

In this circus, I suppose I’d be happy with Ozil and Alexis being let go in return for Thomas Lemar and Antoine Griezmann or Edinson Cavani. But if wishes were horses, most of us would have a ranch by now. Go on Lacazette, pull your finger out and do a Neymar; demand your BFF is signed by Arsenal.

There’s No Business Like Football Business

YW posed a question this week: why would Kroenke want to let go of Arsenal?

Of course, he wouldn’t. With the top 6 Premier League clubs demanding 35% of a £11 billion jackpot from TV rights in the next 10 years, our Stan is going nowhere. 11 billion is a conservative figure; Facebook, Google, Apple, Amazon and Alibaba – 5 of the 7 most powerful and wealthiest companies in the world – want to bid for EPL broadcast rights in the next round.

No Sir, our Kroenke isn’t going anywhere. That’s why he wants to be rid of Usmanov so that he can disappear Arsenal into the nether regions of the Delaware forests. You know he’s going to leverage Arsenal to the hilt, right?

Peter Hill-wood was right after all, “We don’t want his lot around here”. Yet here we are.

That might also answer the question why the love fest between Wenger and Kroenke. From a billionaire’s perspective, Wenger is a safe pair of hands, one of the biggest assets he has who won’t rock the boat but keep Arsenal on an even keel.

This, of course, is the bone of contention with most if not all the fans. We don’t want to be on an even keel. All we want is to win, life trophies, hold the bragging rights, and watch beautiful football from big-name players. We want it all and we want it now!

Have a great weekend good people.

Thanks, Isaac. Just a quick note that Bandcamp A2Z is live on Dad’s Jukebox, brought to you this week by the letter B.

34 thoughts on “STONE COLD FRIDAY: Cutting Our Losses To Make Us Whole

  1. Good morning folks,

    Eddie if you are reading this may I refer you to my final comment on yesterday’s post?

  2. Darius, for Stan to get maximum profit from the ever increasing TV deals Arsenal have to remain one of the Big Six. He will need to spend big to do so, but will Wenger go along with that?

  3. “The single mindedness of the herd to sacrifice one of it’s own to save the whole”. For a moment there I thought you were talking about the Conservative Party and Theresa May. 😵

  4. I see Ospina had another shocker with him the blame laying squarely on him for both of Paraguay’s goals in the final 3 mins of the match that led to Paraguay winning 2-1.

  5. Good stuff Darius.

    Top 6, well we will see what happens. I think we can but we need to find balance in this team.

    Saw a comment about spending and how we have a net spend similar to Chelsea or something crazy like that but it doesn’t take into account how it played out. For instance they signed De Bruyne, Salah and Matic for big dollars but then also sold them for big sums. Arsenal for instance bout Lacazette but sold Gabriel, Szczesny, Gibbs and Ox. I think ita about how you spend and balance the books just not doing it for the sake of doing it. I mean when you consider that 20m and 16m were spent on Chambers and Welbeck respectively a couple yeara ago and yet what impact have they had. While say Chelsea had spent 25m on Matic who helped them lift a couple PL titles and then sold him this past summer for 40m.

    Point is, yea Arsene will spend but will he get it right and more importantly will he help them succeed by playing them in their correct positions to help the team, questions have to be asked and personally I feel more often than not he won’t.

  6. Jonny,

    And just think, it almost didn’t happen for him early on in his career.

    Busquets, Inesta and Xavi were such a joy to watch. I just wish we could find that balance in midfield. Busquets the defender/dirty work/ ball recycler, Xavi the pass master and tempo setter and Inesta that genius full of short burst and sublime moments.

  7. Not to everyone’s taste but that team, with that midfield as you’ve excellently described, were unplayable most of the time.
    TBH the off the ball work was what really impressed me.

  8. Jonny,

    Agree, they were a joy too watch pressing and closing down space all over the pitch. Not just that put for me it was how their wide players literally stayed as wide as possible and how that midfield still dominated.

  9. I see Merson has had his take on Ox in an England shirt:

    You look in midfield and Oxlade-Chamberlain will be very fortunate to play. In my day and age he wouldn’t even be in the squad.

    “That’s the problem now, the squad virtually picks itself. There’s not a huge amount of depth and it is harder to get out of the squad than it is to get in it.”

  10. The other thing is, if PSG want to give us Cavani for Sanchez in the January window, I would make that deal.

  11. Great post Darius. You can probably compete for the top 4 without building the team around great individual players but you need superstar forwards to compete for the top of the table or compete for the big trophies. Great team play can only take you so far. We are going to need to replace Sanchez with another top quality goal scorer if we our objective is move the team to the next level.

  12. Even if we had a midfield of Xavi Iniesta and Busquets we would not be able to compete for the top of the table if Iwobe and Welbeck were 2/3 of our forward line.

  13. Wow.This is by far one of your best blogs.Keep it up.Ozil,while a great player has quite a few liabilities and definitely does not deserve what him and his agent are asking for.He should have been sold long before now.Now,Sanchez is another matter.I certainly wish he could be kept and a world-class team built around him.He has it all,the skill,the hardwork,the determination,the goals and much more.If only wishes were horses. …

  14. I read your comment Orson and I replied, so you cannot complain on other blogs that no one is talking to you

    Yes, I want trophies. Some fans think it’s dirty, but excuse me I thought that is exactly what football should be all about. No shareholders, no players’ agents (rhymes with detergents), not transfer window etc etc. No, all of those should be peripheral and transparent to the fan. We pay our money to see the end result – the beautiful game and cabinets full of trophies. How is it good for me that Arsenal have a healthy bank balance?? Yes, I know what happened to Pompey and Rangers, but with 2 billionaire owners we should not be concerning ourselves with money matters.

  15. Obie – Sanchez will be 29 soon and you want to build a team around him?? Just in time for him to retire? No sir, let’s get rid of him in January. With Aguero injured Shitty might want to pay silly money for Alexi

  16. Eddie:
    Obie – Sanchez will be 29 soon and you want to build a team around him?? Just in time for him to retire? No sir, let’s get rid of him in January. With Aguero injured Shitty might want to pay silly money for Alexi

    Very true, my little firebrand!! 😀

  17. yes, HenryB, we have already been through building a team around players who left the club leaving us gutted. No more, I say. Build a team of 11 players around the ball instead 🙂

  18. Hi C,

    Your comment earlier about Arsenal and Chelsea having a similar net spend in the last transfer window is probably true, but your point about how that came about is something I have brought up on occasion.

    Chelsea over the years have sucked up some very good quality players by going the extra buck.
    The bigger investments tend to stay with the first team squad, while the tadpoles tend together loaned out and brought back when it suits them to play in the first team – like Courtois – and the tadpoles on the verge of turning into frogs, are sold on of a healthy profit.

    In turn – the Matic-es are used to get the best out of them and again sold for a healthy profit.

    I recall – and Wenger has admitted it – that he was on the verge of buying Drogba at 17 y.o. when he suddenly decided he needed another season before he Chelsea who in the guise of Maureen stepped in and bought him instead a little later. Ker-Pow!!

    A similar thing happened with Hazard — and Ker-Splat!! We never got a sniff of one of the best players in the PL.

    Drogba was the best CF in the PL and helped in a big way for the Chavs to win trophies for years — and when Chelsea come to sell Hazard – and they will – they will make big bucks from any such deal.

    And so it goes on.

    We keep the odd few million quid in the coffers – win sweet FA – in the EPL and the CL while Chelsea splash a bit more cash and are highly successful.

    The one club keep a hold on their cash – the other act like entrepreneurs and make a competitive and a financial killing. Ker-Ching!!

  19. The sodding auto-spell watsit cannot keep up when I am typing at speed and stupidly change things that do not need to be changed. But I am sure the gifted illuminati on ACLF can see what I am getting at regardless of the stupid computer software. 😀

  20. Eddie:
    yes, HenryB, we have already been through building a team around players who left the club leaving us gutted. No more, I say. Build a team of 11 players around the ball instead 🙂

    Excellent, Eddie, straight to the point — and so true! 🙂

    The club can so often forget or overlook the basics.

  21. HenryB,

    Exactly, great minds think alike.

    Think about this, Chelsea signed (or come through the youth ranks) and sold Schurrle, Salah, Mata, De Bruyne, Lukuka, Oscar, Luiz, Costa, Filipe Luis, Cuadrado, Romeu (currently bossing midfields for Southampton and a player we desperately need), Matic, Ake, Atsu and Chalobah and those are just off the top of my head for either the same or more than what their original price was. For all the talk of Chelsea being an excessive spender, they are also brilliant at being able to sell said players if they don’t work out. They understand buying quality means you can also sell quality.

    The other part to that is when you buy and sell quality it means your competing for the PL and CL(like you said) and its a shame that for all the financial talk of Arsene and Arsenal they have either failed to see it or don’t want to see it. The other part is that it well and truly is a self-sustaining model: winning brings in cash, buying quality and then selling said quality for more brings in more cash, your supporter base grows exponentially and you continue to compete while bringing i buckets and buckets of cash.

  22. Perfectly said, C.

    It just does not seem to be understood by the management.

    Entrepreneurs have a certain personality type, where they weigh up the risk versus benefits, and the best ones become billionaires by going for it.

    Those who are not entrepreneurs cannot learn how to be like them.
    AW is safe, sensible and averse to taking risks — perfect for being an accountant, or a manager of players maybe — but not if you want to buy and sell quality players, and know when to sell those who will not make it – at a profit.

    Sanchez and Özil are examples of how not to sell at the top of the market. We could have made over £100m for the pair of them – instead we stand to lose both for nothing. Ridiculous.

    In addition, Theo is slated to be sold in the next January transfer window, and again, if they had doubts about him he should have been sold last summer instead of sitting on the bench, waiting until a weak market next January. Also ridiculous.

  23. C

    The thing that really matters to the clubs bottom line is the net spend. Knowing when to sell players is an important part of managing the bottom line. Chelsea made some mistakes and they have churned a lot of players in this decade but they have made good decisions to sell players Luiz, Mata, Oscar and then replacing them with better players or players who fit into the system they were trying to play. You and I were campaigning for selling Jack Wilshere 3 years ago when he still would have brought big money in the transfer market and Chelsea would have done just that. Chelsea would have found a way to sell Ozil a couple of years ago and sold Sanchez last summer and used the money to buy quality replacements. The football people in our organization go from crisis to crisis rather having a coherent short and long term plans.

  24. HenryB,

    Spot on!

    Its weird to think that we were sold a dream of competing with Bayern but can’t even sell unwanted players and financially are utter shit.

    The Theo situation is a headscratcher but then again so is Debuchy, Jenks, Gabriel and Szczesny.

    One day they will get it right, I hope, I think, I’m not completely sure😉

  25. Bill,

    I feel dirty saying Chelsea have done well but they have. I’m not saying we should spend insanely nor am I saying we shouldn’t build a core or bring through youth but if there is an opportunity to improve the squaf you take it but unfortunately it doesn’t work like that.

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