The Mickey A Team & Where Does Jack Go From Here?

To paraphrase The Who, meet the new blog, the same as the old blog. So, this is what Friday mornings look like? Thanks to Isaac for his sterling work every week and I’ll pick up the baton for the, ahem, ‘interesting’ times of the close season. Which, I suppose, is a fair exchange for not having to write about some of the ‘interesting’ Europa League games.

Until the announcement is made, there’s a lot of ‘ITK’ speculation about the next manager’s identity. Will it be lego-haired perfectionist Mikel Arteta or the perfectly lego-haired Mikel Arteta?

This morning sees Thierry Henry mentioned as a candidate as we hurtle down the inexperienced coach route. Give up Sky and Belgium for Arsenal? I don’t think he will.

I understand what Patrick Vieira meant when he said “token gesture”. You can see them running down the list of candidates, making sure everyone has been interviewed. Then it dawns on Junior that Pops might ask whether Terry Henry was considered?

“Ugh,” Ivan snorts. “Is there any else you mentioned over the Sunday roast? Please tell me it wasn’t Tony Adams or Harry Redknapp, even as a joke. Keown did it with Stepanovs and look where that got us.”

The positive spin on Arteta continued in The Heil – or continued – with claims that he is good with a certain presentational product which I’m not being paid to advertise so I won’t mention its’ name, as well as presentations themselves.

Such flippancy masks a good box ticked: good communication skills, and a sneaking admiration that Pep is so thorough that he believes all coaches must be good with products which ensure Bill Gates is able to put food on his family table.

For a supposed shoo-in, there’s a lot of effort going into this appointment.

Questions and Answers

Which shouldn’t be knocked? The gap between now and June is a ‘dead space’ when managers and players jump ship to Shagaluf or wherever they are heading for the summer break. When the World Cup starts is the time we need someone in situ so they can read the coaching reports and scouting missives on targets. While Sven recruits, the new manager must have an input, after all.

Arsène diplomatically avoided public comment on Arteta or anyone else. What he has to say was said behind closed doors and that’s that. He’s clever enough to know that if he backs someone, less patience will be shown toward his successor. And he says he never reads social media…

One man who does is Jack Wilshere. A quip about heading off to Zante let the cat out of the bag; he wasn’t going to the World Cup. Southgate’s decision is easily understood and baffling in equal measure. As the England coach observed, Jack’s form hasn’t been brilliant since Christmas but that needs context. We’ve been dire collectively, with flashes of occasional brilliance.

The baffling part of the decision is the lack of guile we left with. The lumbering oafs which inhabit our midfield are such stereotypical English players that if you transported them back to 1976, they would have slotted right into Don Revie’s line-up. And that’s not a compliment.

Similarly, Southgate is displaying a level of distrust in skilful players that is all too familiar to those of use of a certain age. Stan Bowles, Charlie George, Frank Worthington; add Jack to that list. Disturbingly, we haven’t learned anything from the debacle at Euro 2016. A lack of footballing intelligence on the pitch is now matched off it.

Honesty Lies

’Big nose’, as Ray Parlour christened him, showed a stunning level of hypocrisy in criticising The FA for a tweet which poked fun at Harry Kane. The need for the player to man up and show a sense of humour is on a par with Southgate remembering that he was quick to take the advertisers pound, cashing in on missing a penalty in the semi-final of Euro ‘96.

The question for Wilshere is what next? If he harbours international ambitions, it’s fairly obvious he needs to play regularly which isn’t necessarily going to be the case at Arsenal. Consistency is portrayed as the main issue, but fitness is also playing into this. Even if it isn’t an issue as such, the perception is still there.

A new deal is as yet unsigned and walking away might appeal, albeit in a narrow channel of thought. Is playing at a lesser club every week better than a bit-part player at Arsenal. He’d buck a trend if he left for that reason; most players stay and take the pay for as long as possible.

its a decision he has to make. Being at West Brom hasn’t done Jake Livermore any harm, has it?

Questions which the summer will answer.

’til Tomorrow

39 thoughts on “The Mickey A Team & Where Does Jack Go From Here?

  1. Southgate’s team looks very industrial, lacking creativity, but the pool of talent is shallow. If they get to the 1/4 finals expect a hero’s reception at Luton Airport.

    Set the bar low, something we have become familiar with.

  2. Strange to have a Yogi post on Friday, guess it will have to do.

    Honestly, does it matter who goes to the World Cup for England, we ALL know how its going to end. Maybe Southgate was going with the Spuds style of big industrious athletes who run and tackle. Then added a bit of work upfront with Kane, whoever plays on the left and right of him.

    I just find it funny people still consider England one of the big futboling powers because of the PL without realizing 99% of the best players in the leage actually come from the real big futboling European countries, you know, Germany, Spain and France. I mean if were honest, Belgium is world’s better national side than England.

  3. Great write up as always YW.

    Big Nose, gotta love the Romford Pelé.

    Looking forward to the world cup, in a footballing sense. Couldn’t give 2 hoots about England anymore. Arsenal is in my vein’s and despite the dross we’ve had to put up with over the last 10 years, I still love the club. However, England has served me up enough heart ache that I no longer care what they do at an international tournament. At least with Arsenal false hope precedes inevitable failure. But with England, there is no false hope. It’s more a feeling of how will they embarrass us this time around. I’d love us to make the quarters. But I just know it’s never going to happen. Big Nose is a succession in a long line of F.A. yes men, with no tactical nouse and even less man management skills. Sorry to dash your hopes chaps/chapesses but I’d rather watch any other country play football rather than England (and yes that includes Iran and Panama!)

    I’ve got no issue with Mr Perfect hair. Potentially we’ll have the most handsome Premier league manager there has ever been! Can anyone name a manager from the Premier league era that is better looking than Arteta? We may not win games, but at least when the opposing manager goes to shake his hand at the end of the game, he’ll be envious of those boy’ish good looks and perfect hair. Shove that in your Klopp and smoke it!

  4. As for Jack, well I think his time is up and if reports are true, Ramsey either signs or gets sold. Would replacing those two with say Max Meyer and Seri or Ndidi or somebody of that ilk be that big of a difference? It would make our midfield more solid and we just attack with 4 and our FB’s creating width.

  5. Great post yogi. Welcome back to Friday’s.

    Arteta would not be my first choice but if his appointment is inevitable then we might as well get it done and let him get started. He has a lot of work to do. I hope he has the cojones to do what is needed to rebuild the culture of this club. He played with a lot f our current squad just a couple years ago and its going to take some very big cojones to crack the whip with those players. I hope he is willing to drop underperforming or under motivated players no matter how big their wages or their reputation.

    With regard to jack I agree with C. He is unlikely to be more then a squad player with Mkhitaryan, Ozil and Ramsey ahead of him on the depth chart. Given his age and injury history, he will never have better options then he does now while he is available on a free transfer. The fact that we have cornered the worlds market on high profile high wage creative midfielders who don’t score and don’t add much to the defense means we don’t even have to replace jack and we can use the wage flexibility to strengthen the team at other positions

  6. I would hate to see us sell Ramsey. He has been our most effective creative midfielder in terms of assists per minute for the last couple years and he certainly offers more of a goal threat and more energy then our other creative options in the #10 postion. However, we need to raise cash and he might bring a decent return aif we sell him this summer so that option is certainlyi on the table. We certainly a wealth of other options at his position and just like any player it will depend on how much money someone is willing to offer. If he won’t sign a new contract then we probably should sell him.

  7. Arteta – who knows? The proof would be in the pudding. I think most of is would get behind anyone who could instill some positional discipline and defensive pride in these players. He’s worked with Pep which theoretically helps with the former and wasn’t afraid to bring someone down as a player. We just don’t know how this would translate.

  8. Jack. Do England need him? Yes. Do we need him. Sort of but he isn’t irreplaceable. Does he do so well at other clubs? Not at Bournemouth. Is an injury-prone and inconsistent player not going to do better than being at Arsenal but not as a guaranteed starter on the top wages? I guess we’ll see.

  9. Ramsey is a bit different. You feel like we’ve been through some ups and downs together but that he might be coming into the form of his life. I think player and club would be well- served to wait and see who the new boss, players, and system will be. Ramsey’s usefulness is of a very specific type .

  10. It’s quite simple with Ramsey. Sign up and he will be captain. No sign up then sell him asap.

    Another example of Wenger’s pathetic contract handling. The whole debacle with Sanchez & Ozil showed how not to do business.

  11. Platini just admitted nobbling the 1998 world cup draw. Well Well Well, Who would have thought???

  12. Pete the Thirst,

    It´s really disgusting and to hear him laugh about rigging the draws. Not only does he confirm the widespread corruption within FIFA but also the disdain with witch they hold the public and fans.

    Cheating, there´no other word. They´re cheating. The worlds biggest sport and most powerful organisation are just cheats. Behind those big words about competing and sports there nothing but a void.

    I´m really disgusted by it.

  13. I understand why Ramsey divides opinions but if the biggest concern is his lack of defensive awareness then it’s hard to imagine any of our other options at that position including ozil jack or Mkhitaryan are better defensive players. Ramsey also has the most energy and the best engine and he has by far the most potential to be a better defensive player with a new manager. Ramsey is not great but he easily the best goal threat we have in our group of central midfielders. We only have 2 players on our entire roster who are legitimate goal threats and if either PEA or Lacazette lose form or get hurt we are down to only 1 and having someone who is st least capable of scoring goals in our midfield might be important.

  14. Bill,

    I know you hate Mhkitaryan but he is a goal threat and is more than capable as a winger to get double digits in the PL. I don’t dislike Ramsey but again our defense was shambolic and I would gladly have Seri and say Xhaka as thr pivots who can boss potentially a midfield without offering a goal threat but would free our front 4 to attack at will and not always have to worry about tracking all the way back. You know, having your attackers focus om scoring goals and thr 6 behind them defending and bossing the midfield.

    Its funny you want Simeone and bang on about Klopp but that is EXACTLY how they plays with Koke and Gabi for Athletico and 3 of Henderson, Wjinudam, Cann or Milner and that frees their attackers to focus puerly on scoring goals.

  15. If true I hope he does well but the impression is once again of a big club acting like a small club. Big on talk, not so big when it comes to delivering on those promises.

  16. andy1886,

    Feels like things are being put into place to have a modern big club model: coach coaches and has input on who and what positions he wants, Mislintat/Sanllehi/Huss does all the other stuff. Will be really interested to see who he brings in and how he gets on about the Jack and Ramsey situation.

    The other GREAT thing is that we will for sure have a new GK and Leno is a superb option especially since he is quality all around and his distribution is really good.

  17. .C,

    The model might be modern but the big clubs tend to go for the best coaches, and Arteta has no track record whatsoever in that regard. Positive reviews from his work at City mean very little when it comes to managing any club in his own right, let alone one of the size of AFC with all of the legacy issues he’ll inherit from Arsene. For me it’s too big a job for a novice.

  18. Bill

    Goal scorers, your pal Lucas Perez should be returning from his loan, I can’t believe you had forgotten. 🙂

  19. C

    You are not the only one who does not like Ramsey. He divides opinions. I think he should be one of the attacking front 4.

  20. C

    I don’t dislike Mkhitaryan but we have to be realistic about what he is. In the last 5 years between Germany and England he has averaged 6 league goals per year so he is not a winger who is a legitimate goal scoring threat and by putting him on the wing instead of central midfield we limit the number of goal scoring threat we can put in our attacking front 4. Same problem with ozil and when we put them together we double down on attacking players who are not a threat to score and it leaves us with only 2 positions on the pitch left over for players who can score.

  21. andy1886,

    Could be, we simply won’t know until it happens and he takes charge and gets his staff together. I have believed from the off that if it was Arteta, thats fine but who his staff is will be massive in regards to his success or failure. As far as the legacy issues, I think its all about his demeanor and how he handles the pressure which I don’t think will be a problem.

  22. @ andy: “The model might be modern but the big clubs tend to go for the best coaches, and Arteta has no track record whatsoever in that regard. Positive reviews from his work at City mean very little when it comes to managing any club in his own right, let alone one of the size of AFC with all of the legacy issues he’ll inherit from Arsene. For me it’s too big a job for a novice.

    Excellent! I agree. The work of another novice Josh Kroenke, and a failed CEO Gazidis Outside top 4, Europa and this novice as the manager: no good player in his right mind will switch.

  23. Time to think positive thoughts regarding Arteta. He came through the barca ranks…he came through the barca ranks.. He has learned from pep….he has learned from pep….

    This is either going to turnout a right mess or he is going to be the next top echelon manager.

  24. if we go with arteta its got disaster written all over it.

    we may have jesus the tooth fairy and wonder woman running the show behind the scenes but will they be picking the players, tactics, training, team talks, etc? nope…all they are here for is to look for new talent, shortlist the players the manager wants and close the deals.

    arteta has zero experience. zip. nada. none.

    hes a coach.

    were simply going with the cheapest option so when it fails, and it will fail, we aint forking out millions in sacking him.

  25. Man City rumour says Arteta as Guardiola deputy will be replaced by Iniesta, as coach and player. That is perhaps why Guardiola showered praise on Arteta and let him go, so that he gets the legendary Iniesta.

  26. C

    I know you are excited by Arteta’s Barca and Pep connections. However pep and Barca have always played the vast majority of minutes with goal scorers at all 3 forward positions. That only leaves room for 1 out of the foursome of Ozil Mkhitaryan Ramsey and Wilshere.

  27. Dukey.

    If he tries to turn arsenal into Barca or if he tries to be pep-lite then we are in trouble. We don’t have the money and perhaps more important we don’t have the mental swagger to imitate who Barca and pep have done

  28. I agree with all those who say Ramsey is one of our top players and goal threats, his problem is twofold, first we ask him to do too much in a system where a 2 exposes his maverick instincts (he can be disciplined though albeit not natural) and second, his injury record, 200k pw on a player who may only play 25/30 games is a big risk given finances. A 433 or 532/352 and better rotation may help this though but we can’t expect him to make repeat sprints in a two game in game out with his issues

  29. Bill,

    Mate, Ramsey isn’t the most prolific either, I think he is sitting at 10, 5,1,6 or something close to that the past 4 years. Putting Ozil behind Lacazette with Aubameyang and Mhkitaryan on either side is a mouth watering prospect and you can easily get Mhkitaryan with 10 goals in the PL which is about right for a third goal scorer. You have this notion of goal scorers everywhere but think about this: Citeh were the second side in PL HISTORY with 4 players getting double digit goals with the other being Manure when they had Berbatov, Rooney, van Persie and Chicharito snuck in with 10. So its not like it happens all the time.

    The key is to have 2 quality goal scorers(see Lacazette and Aubameyang) 2 players that can get you 5-10 (see Mhkitaryan and Ozil) and then sprinkle everybody else in. Is Ramsey scoring goals from midfield at the expense of being more defensive and balanced, I think so. It personal preference.

  30. Bill,

    Mate that has nothing to do with it, I just want fresh ideas and it doesn’t matter whether it was Arteta or Sarri at Napoli or Jardim or Nagelsmann, I just wanted fresh ideas. As for Pep and him playing with 3 goals, you do realize that Pedro(12, 13, 5, 7, 15, 6) those the number of goals he scored in the league at Barca was always his third attacker and at Citeh he has played with Sane, Bernardo Silva, De Bruyne, and Sterling(prior to this season) are all players you hardly say are goal scorers.

    Again, perception and reality are drastically different.

    Pep focuses on stretching the pitch as wide as possible and create as many chances from that.

  31. The other thing is that just because Arteta MIGHT want to keep possession or dominate possession doesn’t mean he wants to play like Pep or Barca. First of all, Pep plays massively difference now and at Bayern than he did at Barca where they bossed possession but it would at times be a slow crawl followed by a 0-100 and bang they scored. At Citeh its dominating possession and attacking quickly and constantly.

    Its quite honestly the laziest fucking argument.

    Honestly, why wouldn’t you want a manager that drills into his players to win the ball back quickly higher up the pitch and attack at pace and sometimes its okay to take a breather by maintaining the ball and thrn back at it again?

  32. Interesting how Ramsey get such debate and different opinions; he’s just been awarded arsenal’s player of the season on arsenal.com.

  33. Ramsey player of the season? Tells you absolutely everything you need to know about the season just gone.

    He was better than he has been but didn’t do anything remarkable imho. After Nacho was announced in second place I really couldn’t think who would be first. He jäger crossed my mind for it. I actually thought it would be Aubameyang, despite only playing half a season

    Thought. A ho was excellent this year and probably deserved the award. Özil should be having a long hard look at himself on the wages he’s on and only coming third in that list. If I were him I’d be mildly concerned about the coming months with a new broom on the way. The easy ride might (hopefully) be over

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