Arsène Listened As The Players Find It’s Good To Talk

~tw

FA Cup Fourth Round fortnight has begun. What started out as a day has become so elongated that I am surprised the competition hasn’t become like the World Cup with a final every four years. To keep you company, this morning’s soundtrack, All Things Brighton Beautiful can be heard via Dad’s Jukebox in the right sidebar, the page of the same name or here in your browser.

And yes, The Who’s 5:15 features. Of course it does, a clichéd choice that I needed little incentive to include.

This morning’s papers still haven’t forgotten last weekend’s win at City. Were attacking principles betrayed or did a shard of pragmatism slit through the romantic principles. Every manager has his own beliefs on how the game should be played; romanticism is a term as readily bandied around as pragmatism. The successful managers find a blend of the two which brings glory that does not leave them feeling hollow.

Reviewing the victory over City, I wondered if the catalyst for the win was player input; Arsène confirmed that impetus came from the squads’ desire for change. He listened, something of which has been a regular criticism of him in the past but with, by his own admission, the ship veering off course, it’s a decision which paid off.

At some stage you cannot go against the feelings of the team because it’s detrimental to the result. 

The team sometimes needs to be reassured and reassurance comes first from feeling solid and strong and then you can express your talent and our confidence in the big games had been damaged by these big results.

Of course (I listened to the players). Your tactics have to be aligned as well with the feeling of the team and with the confidence level of the team.

Not quite as dramatic as the England squad in 1990 demanding Bobby Robson switch to using three centre backs but one which gave the squad a platform upon which to end a dismal run in big matches. Arsène found it amusing that the needle of the footballing meter flickered from one extreme to another; I always thought it did, the circumstances of each match dictating when expansive football took precedence over the need to contain and vice versa.

It’s interesting to note the players involvement in the switch. As demoralising as it is for supporters, we forget – or don’t take into consideration – the impact of the sustained spell of failure in matches against rivals. These are matches which Arsenal might reasonably expect to enjoy some success at home, mixed with occasional wins on their travels; neither was happening.

That’s why you hear so many times in the papers or on television “let’s get back to basics”.

It’s not because a team doesn’t know the basics, it’s just to get the priorities right to reinforce the confidence of the team again because you gain it slowly back by feeling that you are not going to get blown away

It’s different mindset for the players to deal with from their peers at lesser clubs who for the most part expect to lose against the Arsenals of this world, and enjoy handing out the occasional bloody nose.

Crucially, the plan worked. It’s something to wheel out at White Hart Lane and Old Trafford, and elsewhere as is necessary. There are no points for artistic merit in, just a footnote in a season’s review that despite playing attractive football, the team were inconsistent and that has been Arsenal’s contribution for the best part of a decade. A healthy mix of flourish and muscle can be the platform for improved consistency.

Elsewhere, Arsène’s attempts to sign Ronaldo as a teenager are apparently exposed in a new book about Jorge Mendes which claims Arsenal couldn’t meet the asking price. Which Manchester United did so using the hyperbole the media so love, means they gazumped Arsenal. Which is what everyone thought had happened.

Using the latest analytical techniques, the book will expose how the club couldn’t bid any more money because they were building a new stadium. Such revelations are not resting easy in ACLF Towers, I can tell you.

Mesut Özil meanwhile was told that he was bulking up too much in a bid to regain fitness, accused of nicking the living of a gym club supervisor. The lad just can’t win. It’s expected the German will start tomorrow in a much-changed line-up at Brighton. It takes a lot of concentration not to mention The Goldstone Ground, even with this distance of time since its demise but that’s for the morning’s match preview.

’til Tomorrow.

84 thoughts on “Arsène Listened As The Players Find It’s Good To Talk

  1. The post match interviews with Santi & Arsene alluded to ‘player power’ so it’s unsurprising that it’s now been confirmed.

    Just a pity it took so long.

  2. Morning all,

    As long as we have that option when we need it I’m not bothered where the decision came from. Wenger still had to plan out how it would work even if the player wanted change. They didn’t just take over and tell Wenger to take a back seat. It doesn’t change my overall view that he should leave at the end of this contract (earlier would be nice, but there seem to be no succession plans at present), but it shows that we have the ability and discipline to mix it up and compete. The old gung-ho strategy away from home wasn’t competing, it was school ground football.

    So we missed out on Ronaldo, meh! Would he have worked for us at that age? Maybe, but its all supposition now. We do know that he would have been off to Real at some point, so we would have a big pile of cash to use on players (maybe).

  3. Morning all – good stuff Yogi.

    “Using the latest analytical techniques, the book will expose how the club couldn’t bid any more money because they were building a new stadium. Such revelations are not resting easy in ACLF Towers, I can tell you”.

    Care to elaborate on this?

  4. Good morning on this bright but cold day.
    Without me going to google I cannot remember when we last played Brighton and have we visited their nice new home yet?

  5. Interesting stuff Jonnny, and I have seen one other arsenal blogger argue the case for a similar setup at Arsenal over the last couple of years, but I Dont think it will happen while Arsene is here.

  6. Ronaldo has worked incredibly hard to get where he is today. I remember seasons of Skinner and Badiel ripping him apart because they thought he was tits early days. So what he was then was all promise and it has taken years of constant training.
    Wavey’s first post is an interesting spin on YW’s; point, but he forgets that Wenger’s uber flexible players are used in an inflexible system that has been found out to the point that we have been getting trashed by teams that are able to think and those teams are getting many more in number.
    The joy I have after ‘The Sacking of the Hareem of ManSour’ is that it was looking like it would take a million man march to persuade him to deal with it.

  7. Oh yeah and the fact the lads had it them to pull it off. That was the biggest surprise for some. After bad tactics are used for a long time you begin to think the players aren’t up to it.

  8. Yeah, I was thinking the same thing Buckagh.

    With due respect to AW – I hope he is the last Arsenal manager to have this much autonomy.

  9. If the players were that flexible they would have adapted to our inflexible system and made it work. As you rightly say, we have been found out but I don’t think the players changed the system in isolation. It has been pointed out that we have played 4-1-4-1 before, so why hasn’t it been that successful in the past? I don’t think its player availability either because we have had players like Sagna and Arteta being part of teams that have been tonked as well. I have to give AW some credit for last weekend, he must have laid out the foundations for how the system would work even if it was the players that wanted change in the first place. I’m not suddenly AW’s biggest fan ever, but he does deserve some credit for the win last weekend. What he needs to prove now is whether he can continue to use those tactics when appropriate.

  10. Probably the new bulked up Ozil will be blamed for slowing the play and getting too caught up in the physical battles…. Now that would be an entertaining sight (for one game…)!

  11. He deserves huge credit. Perhaps benching WS and rewarding in form players gave him a refreshed authority of a kind that let his new tactical instruction reach the players. And so do the players deserve credit for seeking a change in approach and having the discipline and desire to implement it well. Plenty of credit to go around.

    The real challenge is to get on a good run and show they can play great fluid football against Villa and then more defensively on the counter v. Spuds.

  12. Very interesting, jonny.

    Southampton look to have it all sorted out but then again, it only takes a new owner to wreck it all.

    I wonder if Arsenal have anything like it, even in principle.

    If that is the future then headhunting Les Reed might be a smart move.

  13. What we need is a structure and vision appropriate to a big club with high aspirations. A lot can be learned from the successes of smaller and mid size clubs but the lessons have to be scaled and sometimes altered to fit the position of a domestic title and European trophy aspiring club. I think Kroenke is only too happy to take his approach from Southampton, without denying how impressive that club is. How about learning something from Bayern, MU et. al. As well? That is where it is harder to get the talent and structure for the next phase of Arsenal.

  14. So Arsene listened to the players, Is this thr new Arsene? We will see but it was enjoyable to watch. It will be interesting to see what happens with thr new bulked up Ozil and pacier Theo once they are back fully fit. Best thing is thr players will compete though Theo at his best is our best RW and Ozil at his best (which we havent seen but I think we will now playing with Theo and Sanchez) is placed in the first XI.

  15. Its looks like Campbell is set to be part of the Paulista deal on a loan for thr frest of the campaign according to multiple reports.

  16. A couple of seasons ago we went down to Brighton in the Cup and won 3-2. In the next round we played Blackburn at home and lost 1-0. Blackburn have done their bit by beating Swansea today and now wait us in the draw on Monday for a repeat.

  17. Johnny

    What stuns me is that this Southampton approach is not the norm in this age of money and information at the fingertips.
    Has Potchetino taken it with him? Thinking Spuds, now there is a contradiction in terms.

  18. Oh and Wavey; I don’t like the idea of flexible players at all not even CMs. To me it just means good for nothing; I was having a go at this one size fits all cock and bull we subscribe to.

  19. Sanogo credited with his first goal for Palace, although commentator indicating it was definitely an own goal.

  20. Not sure what you were picking me up on originally then. My point was simply that the players are not going to change a system on their own. They may wish to play more disciplined football, but the manager would still have laid out how they go about it. I agree that our “system” tries to hammer too many square pegs in round holes when Wenger tries to play all of his favourite players. I hope he won’t just revert to that when all are fit. The win against City wasn’t just about playing everyone in their favoured spot, although it doesn’t do any harm. The victory was down to everyone sticking to their tasks in a disciplined fashion rather than everyone wanting to get up the pitch and attack. LeCoq, for example, knew that his job was to sit in front of the defence rather than wander up the pitch and get caught of position. Ramsey and Santi knew that they weren’t meant to desert the FBs and watch them struggle in 2 v 1 situations. It wasn’t about parking the bus, it was about supporting each other as a team. Sorry, I seeming to be harping on about things already covered this week, but I’m not sure what the point was.

  21. Middlesborough score against City!!
    ——————-
    Also, according to Spanish media, the Gabriel deal has now reached financial agreement at c£13.5M.

    Spanish newspaper El Confidencial claims that talks the between the clubs have been successful, and a move will go through early next week. 🙂

  22. Jeff Stelling just pointed out that the top 3 in the Prem are all losing in the Cup. Spuds conceded and are now 1-1.

  23. Chelsea, City, Spurs and Southampton out. United taken to replay. A great opportunity for us to go for the Cup again.

  24. Damn, I was thinking of Man Utd’s loss to MK Dons in the league cup.

    Maybe Cambridge will win at Old Trafford! 🙂

  25. well ain’t it great to see the giant killing magic for the FA Cup on display 🙂

    I wish the club had not tweeted the silly next round ticket nonsense, they deserve a kick up the old Arse for that one!!

  26. Allo MGK. How tricks fella? Giggety?

    My fave thing is Mourinho dissing his opponents ahead of the game by stating it would be a disgrace if they lost today. That was the pre-match talk sorted – thanks Jose!

    Still, 4 unanswered goals – at home – when 2-0 up. Fuck me I’d like to have been a fly on the wall in the dressing room. I wonder how the post match interview went. 🙂 😀

    And they say the romance of the cup is dead. B 🙂 😀 B S.

  27. “It would be a disgrace” the words of Mourinho prior to his sides tie with Bradford City about the thought of a loss. Unimaginable though it might have seemed here we are, the great Chelsea hailed in the media as challenging the invincible’s record of going a season unbeaten in the league. The players talking up the quadruple, oh now they must be gazing in to their tea cups pondering the what if’s…

  28. These results a stern reminder that no game is ever a given, Brighton won’t be afraid to attack us and look to create another 4th round upset.

  29. Wow! hope we decide to take Brighton serious. Its obviouse City and Chelsea looked at their oponents as jokes. A bit like we did when we were drawn against Bradford two years ago.

    good warning for us this.

  30. @C

    Did you see the media are now suggesting that Arsenal may be interested in Kevin Großkreutz’s? Probably talk of course, but hell he is one hell of a utility player from a squad point of view. His best form has been in the Champions League but then looking at Dortmund in the league that is not hard to understand. The news of Arsenal’s apparent interest in Real’s Illarramendi is another interesting story. I was high on the lad when he joined Real, his career has never taken off there but a talented player nonetheless.

  31. @CA

    I did see that. I like him, a utility player but one that plays at a high level. Kinda Milneresque you could say. I saw some figures at 3.5-5M which would be good money for him. I like the Illarramendi rumors too, think he is a talented player no doubt as me and you discussed prior to his move to Madrid. His career never took off there for obvious reasons and now with Lucas Silva, I cant see why he wouldnt leave.

  32. Bloody shell shocked by the events of today, this has to be one of the greatest ever upset days in the history of the competition surely

  33. Real will want to recoup a very high fee for a player they spent a lot on, cannot see this happening in January but it might be an option come the summer.

  34. Don’t want to take Brighton lightly but we have to be favorites should we progress.

    Dont want to get ahead of myself but it woulf be nice to win another trophy.

  35. @CA

    They will want a big fee but we should have money given the contracts coming off the books. He wouldn’t be in my top 5 but in my top 10 for sure.

  36. Glad we are playing tomorrow. The stakes are the same, but two days of giant slaying (nearly 3) is harder for the odds to maintain.

    Sorry Wavey, my disagreement with your first post is that Wenger buys the players, picks the team, decides the tactics and what is trained for and our success rests on his shoulders. That is until the players, we are told, point out the elephant in the room and sanity is temporarily restored. Which can’t be credited to him, by definition.

  37. So Campbell is set to sign his extension with Arsenal and then will immediately be sent on loan to Villarreal until the end of the season.

  38. TAITG

    You missed my point then. I was never crediting him with the decision to change tactics, I can well imagine the players questioning whether we should be more cautious in our approach. I will credit him with the implementation of the change though. The players didn’t do that on their own.
    As I said, I still don’t wish to see at Arsenal past the end of his current deal though, because this is clearly a situation where someone else had to tell him it wasn’t working. He couldn’t see it for himself.

  39. So everything is done and dusted apparently with Arsenal paying 15M for Paulista and Villarreal getting Campbell on loan for the rest of the season for 1M.

    Very good deal for both sides. Here is something to think about, does this mean that Chambers will now see more match time at DM?

  40. As mentioned there has been no Plan B.

    The team has just found the right balance with Plan A and executed it correctly.

    The system is tailored toward either pushing the two higher mids up into attacking the central 2 defending midfielders (in teams like Stoke) and asserting pressure higher up or dropping deeper and staying compact against more quality teams with pace like City.

    The formation is frankly moot.

    There is no single prescription for success.

    Where we have been lacking against the ‘big’ teams has been a bit more caution which is what the team opted correctly for.

    Do remember with this win, we have beaten City twice and drawn them once not to mention taken out Dortmund as well.

    We did not exactly play to similar level of defensive prudence in all these games.

    We won’t play the same way against every team.

    We have to be prudent against BHA tomorrow given the number of shocked results today.

    Wlacott and Ozil should start but Giroud, Ramsey and Metersecker, Bellerin (if fit) should keep their places as possibly Alexis.

    Gibbs, Flamini(or keep Coquelin going), Chambers should be candidates to come in as well and that man Szsc.

  41. Thanks yogi….but Damon will still beat me to first.

    Early one yogi, Off to Brighton ? A warning. ..some parts of Brighton are actually normal…. Yes the brightonians like to keep it hidden and underground but these areas are littered with baby centres, 1 o clock clubs, homeowners, heterosexuals you name it…

  42. Gabriel looks set to come. We managed to get Koscielny in so there is no reason why we cannot get the special dispensation for his work permit.

    Looks like a hard as nails addition with pace to afford Koscielny time to rotate out and get some rest for the tendinitis.

    Less so a Per cover. Does not preclude the possibility that we may bring someone-else in to the position in the summer as Gabriel looks to have the technical level to also cover further forward in midfield. Its an option.

    Will be a good deal if it goes through. We will benefit from better stability at the back which has been our undoing this first half of season, not the fabled soft centre in midfield.

  43. For soft centre in midfield, look no further than City.

    What was Pat Nevin smoking? The machines of Fernando and Fernandhino he said. No thanks. We will keep our Coq in hand.

    Some bollocks about City wearing short sleeves which meant they were psychologically up for it where we were spotting long sleeves and exposing our imploding DNA.

    Don’t see these delusional media gurus bleating their nonsense at the moment.

    Lets not give them any ammunition tomorrow. Come on Arsenal!

  44. I love the FA Cup. Excited to cheer tomorrow for the cup holders in my first away match. Come on You Gunners! Let’s take advantage of these giant slayings.

  45. Paulista is a good signing, he’s a solid and as Guillem has stated he’s very much like Kos in that he’s quick but i think he’s stronger. If he plays like he did at Villareal then Per might find himself getting rested more than he likes.

    Wonder if Arsene will keep looking for a CDM or allow Coq to flourish. I can’t see him moving for another CDM until summer due to inflated prices and if they’re offering Coq a new deal doubt he’ll sign if we’re bringing in another playing in his position

  46. MLF

    I thought AW had pinned his hopes on Bielik, after all he did call him a gamble. Arsene does like his little gambles, instead of leaving us short this time he’s decided to go with a kid. At least this way round there is actually a player we can use even if he is completely untried.

  47. Paulista is still a work permit car crash waiting to happen. If it comes off it will be a fantastic hit of business, otherwise it’s yet another hunt for an unobtainable player.

  48. Morning / evening.
    I will be happy once the work permit is in hand. At that point, we can say well done.
    Not sure how long or quick the process could take, so will we get any benefit this year?

  49. Wavey

    From what Guillem was saying, apparently the work permit issue is essentially resolved or else Arsenal were to pull out of the deal. Only they know, i don’t imagine they’d let Arsene sign a player they can’t use.

    From what he said about Bielik seems he’s one for the future as opposed to seeing him much this season….Who knows

  50. I’ll reiterate that..Sign a player for a large sum of money that we can’t use straight away…Campbell etc didn’t cost us much and weren’t needed for immediate use.

    Also, i see we’ve finally got Wellington Silva back next season, wonder if he’ll actually ever feature for us. So much hype about him for years

  51. @MLF

    From what Arsene said Bielik is one for the furfuture but he is also not opposed to throwing him in this year if he needs to. I wouldnt be surprised to see him make the bench at some point this year.

  52. Wengers admission that players forced him to change tactics justifies all the banter and slack we have given him for a decade. Fans have called for this time and again but all in vain. Top teams have taken points from arsenal just by packing the bus and it only took wenger 10 years to realise how to beat top teams again since 2006 when arsenal reached UEFA Finals in France.He has failed to be street smart due to arrogance time and again.He should go come end of his contract unless he is ready to mutate to a Wenger of 2006 era.

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