Puns & There Is An FA Cup Semi-Final This Weekend, You Know

tss

The speculation began before the official announcement came. Jurgen Klopp is leaving Dortmund at the end of May and the football hipster’s favourite manager will be temporarily unemployed. It won’t be long, although most seem to think he will end up at Manchester City rather than my hunch that he is to replace Martin Kemp in Spandau Ballet when they play Ibiza Rocks this summer.

Everyone else has punned their way through his surname to the extent that I only get a slow hand Klopp if I follow suit. If I do, Jurgener regret it.

Immediate speculation focussed on which Premier League manager he was going to replace in the summer. Most believe it will be Manuel Pellegrini who, whilst not yet relieved of his duties, is the bookies clear favourite to vacate his chair for the German’s sake. One thing was certain – or as certain as football allows speculation to be – is that he won’t be taking a sabbatical. Using the renowned football formula of 2 + 2 = nothing like reality, to me that rules him out of taking over at Arsenal this summer. Wenger is a couple of players away from having a title squad and seems unlikely to walk away from The Emirates.

Nothing can be ruled out but unless winning back-to-back Premier League titles and the Champions League in the next two seasons convinces Arsène to extend his deal once more, Jurgen has a couple of years to kill. It fits together quite nicely. So nicely that some might call it a plan. Others, a flight of fancy based on a set of unlikely circumstances that would need more than the stars aligning to happen. Or as you and I look at things, the same foundation upon which transfer gossip is built.

Some wondered if, ignoring any timings or outcomes, Klopp taking the City job ruled him out of managing Arsenal. The consensus seemed to be ‘yes’ on the basis that success would price him out of the market, ignoring that success meant he wouldn’t be on the market anyway.

Ruling out a former City manager for the Arsenal role on the basis of him having managed City is cutting off your nose to spite your face. The logic basically was that he would lack the class required to manage Arsenal. Whether that is still needed in Premier League football – or is still a criteria – is debatable.

Football’s incestuous nature means that the pool of managers is small and the ones who have the experience that Arsenal needs is even shallower. I don’t think the board can be that picky when it comes to replacing Wenger and no matter who replaces him, their shortcomings will not satisfy some. Arsenal needs a manager with Champions League success and that stock is low although increasing if Julen Lopetegui’s Porto finish the job and beat Bayern over the two legs of this year’s quarter-final.

Porto in the last four. Pffft. What price beating Monaco now?

All of which proved something of a distraction to the upcoming FA Cup semi-final. The build-up to Saturday’s meeting with Reading has been low-key to say the least. Almost comatose. The main focus seems to be the clash of TV schedules, with The Telegraph positing the theory that Sky took a punt of scheduling Manchester United’s visit to Stamford Bridge at the same time and lost.

Criticism of the FA on this one seems wide of the mark but any levelled at the Premier League or Sky is spot on. It underlines the mess football has got itself into the television companies. If football were a dog, the RSPCA would be quickly involved as the real owners of the game have emerged from the shadows and are inflicting unspeakable mental cruelty on the poor creature. It makes Disney’s storyline in 101 Dalmations pale by comparison.

The players are beginning to trundle out in front of the cameras for a few words but the question is whether any of those who have spoken be involved. What changes will Arsène make to the side which won at Burnley? Almost certainly Wojciech Szczesny will start and it seems the perfect opportunity to bring Mathieu Debuchy back into the fray for a bit of match sharpness prior to facing Chelsea next weekend.

Beyond that, you do wonder with surely no more than two other changes, forced or voluntary. Welbeck and Gibbs perhaps? It’s a tricky situation because Arsène will want to continue the momentum built on the winning run in all competitions since Monaco’s victory at The Emirates. The motivation for returning to Wembley at the end of May is clear; silverware, successfully defending the FA Cup and joining Tottenham as the only club to achieve that feat twice with Wenger becoming the only manager to do so in the process.

Those are all sideshows; the motivations are clear – winning and maintaining confidence for the next game. Defeat? A crushing blow, not even being contemplated by Steve Clarke, Reading’s manager, even though his side are most likely safe from relegation. Not mathematically so but what are the chances of Millwall, Brighton, Rotherham and Fulham all winning their remaining games whilst Reading lose theirs? Not quite as slim as Klopp to Arsenal this summer, that’s for sure.

’til Tomorrow.

  1. there is no doubt that loop is a good coach buh if we are going to need a coach we need an upgrade to Arsene. so i just think we should all forget about it. As for the match this weekend against Reading its a sure win I can assure you guys of that. ciao

  2. Early post?

    I don’t see any reason to worry about Wenger’s successor. His insistence to see out his contracts have been well documented. For now I only look forward to next match, as the man likes to state time after time, and hope to see many beautiful goals scored by every Arsenal players playing at the Wembley. 🙂 I fan can have a dream, right?

  3. Wenger always seeing out contracts is misleading. He never mentions that he tried to resign as Nancy manager but it was refused, does he? No, just that he never breaks contracts. Not through lack of trying obviously.

  4. I didn’t know this. Thanks for the info, Yogi.

    During his stay at Nancy, Wenger attracted the interest of fellow Ligue 1 club AS Monaco.[41] In favour of taking up a challenge in the south, he offered his resignation prior to the start of the 1986–87 season, only to be turned down by Nancy president Jacques Rousselot.[43] Following Nancy’s relegation in 1987, Wenger was permitted to leave the club by mutual consent and join Monaco.[41]

  5. The comments about Klopp and where he might go next – Real – Citeh – Arsenal – blah de blah will no doubt excite some heated exchanges.

    For those, like me, who are not impressed with him — meh. [altho at least he might get Dortmund into the top 10 – that’s a trophy?] 🙂

  6. MG,

    Silva can now take part in pre-season: although I remain doubtful (from the little I’ve seen of him actually playing) that he will make it into our current squad. That kind of reminds me of Campbell’s situation, sadly.

    You never know though. Coquelin has now come back and is proving himself: even to the extent where formerly sceptical gooners are acknowledging ‘some’ of his assets. I still think we need cover (possibly Cavarlho or Schneiderlin) for the inevitable injuries of the coming season. However, it is only because of exhaustion, injury and the general need for competition that I suggest a need for any cover here.

    I definitely don’t think that Le Coq has any technical deficiencies and also have been inspired by TH14’s recent comments when he notes a key aspect of Le Coq’s performances being his “intelligence”. I hadn’t thought about this before to be honest. However, on reflection, both his technical abilities and footballing intelligence might be underestimated at present.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q_Wg4Q-ayms

    Role on Wembley

  7. YW,

    Apologies for the misquote (well, abridged and consequently misrepresented quote) of a few days ago.

  8. Depending on Thierry Henry’s progress in obtaining his full complement of coaching badges, I feel that in two years’ time he will be ready to succeed Arsene. The decision will of course be the Board’s, guided by Arsene, who may be invited to move upstairs. Personally, I hope not. Let there be a clean break so that the new man can do his own thing without a ghastly Ferguson-like critic sitting on his shoulder.

  9. nicky

    I can’t agree with the Henry scenario you’ve put forward. I think it’s a fantasy solution. A manager with no experience whatsoever is going to find it hard at any club, let alone one where challenging for silverware is an expectation – or it will be by then. Plus, like you, I can’t see how AW can move upstairs. Talk about hypocrisy if he did that – no DoF for him (http://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/news/arsenal-arsene-wenger-wont-director-2241245) but he’d be one for someone else…?

  10. The seemingly self perpetuating circle of managers has to be broken into occasionally, and for me Patrick Vieira who has seen them come and go at City, and played under some of the best managers in the game, might well be next to crack the protected clique — and unlikely tho that is, he could be well worth a shout.

  11. Henry

    It should be broken into, I agree, but can Arsenal afford to take a chance on a completely inexperienced manager. Even Guardiola worked his way up through the Barcelona ranks before assuming the reigns of the first team. Their board is fast and loose of attitude so I can’t see ours doing the same.

  12. YW,
    You may well be right about Henry and his lack of experience at managerial level.
    However, I must remind you that Arsenal, historically, have a habit of appointing managers from within. Arsene being the only modern-day appointee with real experience.

  13. Someday Henry. But even he would say he wouldn’t be ready and he understands the importance of working his way up.

  14. Dogbanes, I don’t think Coquelin’s passing is at the standard of our other midfielders bar Flamini. That is the technical limitation he has and why it has been so important for him to concentrate in a disciplined way on the qualities that really do make him outstanding: ball winning abilities of intercepting, tackling and positioning. Intelligence and humility are both required, the humility to know his strengths and limitations and sacrifice attacking aspects for the sake of the team.

  15. nicky

    We don’t really or not any more. From Bertie Mee onwards

    Neill (managed Tottenham and Hull before joining Arsenal)
    Howe (WBA / Galatasaray)
    Graham (Millwall)
    Rioch (Bolton)

    Where Rioch and Wenger broke the mould is that they had never been Arsenal men before being appointed.

  16. Formerly skeptical gunners acknowledging some of Coquelin’s assets – do you mean Wenger? 😉

  17. Morning all,

    I’m still holding out for the DeBoer/Bergkamp partnership to take over when AW’s contract is up. Perhaps with TH involved as part of the coaching staff.

  18. Klopp will probably end up in Spain for a while. Later? Maybe.

    I have no idea if Henry will make a successful manager. Not many do.

  19. I’m with Yogiface – there is no sense, benefit or tangible upside to having Henry as manager. If one day he proves himself as top-level, management wizard then he could possibly give it a go but that’s closer to a decade from now – than 2 years.

    That is so unlikely to happen it is almost entirely discountable anyway. Even if it did I would herald a note of caution as you’re more likely to tarnish a reputation than polish one.

    I am not convinced top players naturally make great tacticians and motivators – perhaps it usually came too naturally to them – how have gone on to be management greats? Guardiola…?

  20. Also have you seen how blasé he is about whether or not he will even go into management? If he doesn’t sound convinced and motivated – he has no chance.

  21. I doubt Theo feels the same –

    Wenger insists Walcott still has a future at the Emirates.

    “Yes, I’m confident,” said Wenger, when asked about the chances of agreeing a new contract.

    “I believe Theo has a great future. He’s just coming back from a very, very difficult injury and every week he’s getting better.

    “He’s very young and I believe he will have a great goalscoring record in future because of the quality and intelligence of his game, therefore I would like him to stay with our club.”

  22. Also

    Arsène Wenger has revealed the latest team news ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final against Reading:
    on the team news…
    We have a big squad available for selection and we just have Arteta (match fitness) and Oxlade-Chamberlain (groin) unavailable. Everybody else should be alright.
    on Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain…
    He’s at least two weeks away.
    on Jack Wilshere…
    He has improved physically and I think he is available for selection on Saturday.
    on his goalkeepers…
    It will be Szczesny [who plays] on Saturday.
    on Szczesny not playing in the FA Cup last season…
    But he has played in the last round. This season he has played at Man United and he had a very good performance. I believe it’s important that the two goalkeepers get competition and he will get competition in the FA Cup now, as long as Ospina plays in the Premier League.

  23. Guardiola had his own philosophy and way of playing way before he became manager. The man studied like mad to get to a competent level before he took over. Not only that but he had an immense tactical knowledge and an incredibly precise way of playing.

    I remember Henry saying that if in training you were in the wrong position by half a meter or something,you would sit out. That shows Guardiola had a very strict and deep tactical understanding.

    The same can’t be said of Henry,he has just started out and i don’t feel he will ever reach that level, to be a man who controls his teams so utterly.

    It’s an indulgent fairytale.

    DeBoer And Bergkamp would suit us better.

  24. YW.

    Interesting post as always.

    I am confident we will win the FA cup. 2 trophies in 2 years would be excellent. I have to admit I was surprised we were able to win last season and break our 8 year trophy free streak. Now if we can only move up the trophy ladder.

    I have some concern about Klopp because of the way his team started this season but I think in retrospect he and his players both knew that it was the end of the era and it was time for a change of scenery. Credit to him for recognizing that. I have no idea where he will go other then I know it won’t be Arsrnal. I have said it many times before but unless we have an epic meltdown and stop making the top 4, I think Arsene will sign 1 more contract and be with us to 2019 or 2020. He will choose his a successor that he is confident will maintain the Wengerian course. I suspect it will be someone he grooms from his own coaching staff

  25. Dgob

    Myself I think Arsene has already signed one or maybe even 2 contracts to many. IMO He should have looked for a change of scenery after several seasons of defensive ineptitude and the epic meltdown at the end of the 10/11 season. However, to each his own opinion.

  26. The match between Bayern and Porto yesterday just brought back the feeling that we should have been doing better for some time now. To see a team so well drilled, with a game plan, fire in their belly’s and desire to win. A coach who through out the match was on the side lines shouting at his players, telling them where he wanted them and what they should be doing. We will never see that as long as Arsene is at the club.
    Like every one else I was beginning to get lured into the false sense of improvement due to our recent run. Once again the short comings of the transfer window and start to the season were being forgotten. Not don’t get me wrong I do believe we are a better team and have shown signs of improvement. However think its all despite Arsene and not because of him.

  27. Pistol

    I have been fairly vocal over my thoughts that AW should have ended his tenure of the club. I believe there are better, more forward thinker out there that would deliver more with the resources available.

    However, I cannot for one second agree that its all despite Arsene and not because of him. They are his players. You can see in each one that he has acquired and developed every one of them. You have to give him some credit when it’s going well. Especially if you, like me, can be prone to getting the daggers out when it all goes a bit sad.

    Don’t get me wrong, there are flaws, I see them, they remain during and despite this decent run. I am close to being terrified that he’s going to do it again this summer and leave us a couple of players light when we’re so fucking close to cracking it. It’s so frustratingly predictable and even more frustrating when it comes to fruition. I’m not convinced that we will do our business solidly and early – be bold in the market. I have begun to harbour a feeling that we make all of our outgoings very early in the window and leave incomings too late. Is that consistently by chance? Is there a financial motivation in saving on the wages? If so, that makes me pretty fucking sick that a man on £8m a year with a turnover such as he has control over, gambles on the success of the club over 3 or 4 players 6 weeks of wages. What’s that? £3m maybe? Quite easily a lot less, depending on the player and how many are involved. A lot of money in the real world, but loose change in football. To coin a cliche, probably wouldn’t even buy you a player that can trap a ball these days.

    I’m prepared to have another go at it this summer, but only really because I know he’s not going anywhere for another two years and I don’t have any choice. I have a sickening feeling the deja vu will be here again though come August

  28. Damon
    I understand you disagree with me as Im sure the majority do. I can be harsh in my judgment but I think some one who earns the money he does and has the dreams of so many at his mercy should give more of a fuck.
    Why do I feel that its despite him and not because of him.
    Yes these are his players, but how many are here or on the pitch only due to his hand being forced? Welbeck only came because of a late injury to Giroud. Le Coq is only here because of injuries, Arsene got very lucky there. Imagine we had been with Flamini and Arteta all season? I don’t think we would be as well off as we are now.
    We have been forced to play with Wide players due to injuries, now that the AM brigade are coming back look at what we have. Ramsey out wide. Whats going to happen with Jack?
    Going into the season with only one fit center back was just negligent. If we had addressed that position alone I believe we would be breathing down Chelsea s neck right now. Its not just this season, he pisses about every season. Our troubles are his making and then when his hand is forced and we manage to pull it back to a acceptable level (4th) then its all forgiven and forgotten. And that not even going onto the lack of tactics, inept use of the squad and bench and just completely shunting out players that could be very helpful like Walcot, Rosiscky and Podolski ( I know not all will agree on him) Playing the likes of Sanogo against Bayern ! The players themselves said they had to demand a change of tactics.
    I stand by my comment, despite him and not because of him.
    There really is no excuse any more and I like you am terrified that its going to be ground hog day all over again at the end of this season.

  29. I will add to all the “Hoorah Arsene Brigade” to my above post….. I’d be the outright happiest Gooner going if AW makes me eat every single one of those words with a heavy slice of the pie with each of them.

    Arsenal FC competing and being a proper club and doing this the right way to suit the times, being aware of the landscape, where they sit on it and how they can shape it is all I want to see. I couldn’t give a flying fig if that happens under Colonel Gadaffi and the Wicked Witch of the East at the helm or Arsene Wenger.

    Or, someone else, whoever can achieve it, I’m not fussed who that is

  30. It’s hard to tell if Klopp is a fantastic manager capable of getting the best out of players and inspired them to turn their fortunes around or just happened to get a squad of players together who had the right chemistry to win titles and get far in, if that makes sense.

    With a much bigger budget and a team who are now at the point that Dortmund aren’t, which is we don’t have to sell our best players especially to rivals, i wonder if he’d be tempted and if so, chances are he’ll be City’s new boss then as he’d have unlimited funds at his disposal and they’d want him for his Champs league form alone.

    Pep never seems happy at Bayern in my honest opinion, i wouldn’t be shocked if he opted for Arsenal at some of his career, i think he could get the best out of our players. But it would be a challenge, he’s gone to teams who have had very strong squads and contained world beaters like Messi and robben/Ribery

  31. Like I said yesterday I saw how much a coach can add to the team with Porto, with us we need to have a team that can do it on their own with out help or inspiration from the coach. And that’s very hard to get right, you need the perfect blend of players and I don’t think with the way we go about our transfer business that will ever happen again, like it did with the invincibles.

  32. Damon
    “I will add to all the “Hoorah Arsene Brigade” to my above post….. I’d be the outright happiest Gooner going if AW makes me eat every single one of those words with a heavy slice of the pie with each of them”

    So will I mate, so will I !
    I don’t have this desire to see Asene fail. I want him to get it right. But I don’t like what Ive seen the last few years and until that changes then neither will my stance.

  33. Pistol

    It’s the balance that I was calling for is all.

    Yes, he got lucky with Le Coq. To be fair though, no one else was saying he was the DM saviour to our season either. I think you have to credit Le Coq for pulling his socks up, then pulling up some trees!

    Every manager stumbles into a lucky one, they all let one (or twelve) slip through their fingers. Hindsight is never more 20/20 that in that one!

    I would say though, lets balance Le Coq with Sanchez, yeah? AW took a bit of a pasting, off me as well, for going to the WC and being a pundit. Bit of a coup to have been playing the horse whisperer with Alexis all the while crowbarring him out of Barca eh?

    I’d fancy not too many others out there would’ve pulled that one off?

    All I’m saying is that it’s good to try and mix a bit of ying with your yang. Shades of Grey everywhere, and not just the girly porn, it’s never as black and white as people make out

  34. Damon
    No one thought Le Coq was the answer. What most sane people were saying however is that we really needed a DM. One that we never got. Just like the centre back we should have got but didn’t.
    I get the whole Yin and Yan, I just don’t think the balance is quite there though.
    Credit to Arsene for getting Sanchez, he and Arshavin are the only two quality players that I feel we have actually pursued and acquired of late. Ozil fell into our lap.

  35. Fair play missy. Fair play.

    http://www.theguardian.com/football/2015/apr/16/reading-arsenal-fa-cup-semi-final?CMP=share_btn_tw

    Platten will be the only Reading fan at Wembley who was alive when the then Biscuitmen last reached the FA Cup semi-finals. In 1927 they lost 3-0 to the eventual winners, Cardiff City, at Molineux.

    On Saturday, 88 years on, the club – now the Royals – revisit the last four. Platten will be there; she wouldn’t be anywhere else.

    For her, that the opponents are Arsenal has added extra spice to the tie. She is not the greatest admirer of the north London team nor of their manager, Arsène Wenger, a notoriously poor loser. “We call him ‘Arsène Whinger’,” Platten says. “Funny thing, it was in the paper the other day – ‘Whinger’. He’s always whinging, he’s always having a moan.” Platten laughs mischievously. As she does a lot.

  36. Damon – AW deserves some credit for LeCoq – he’s an Arsenal product after all. The player himself deserves a LOT of credit.

    That’s where it ends though – Wenger has failed to address that we needed someone to play in MF and do and almost purely destructive job for EVER. The players he tried were either not instructed to do this or did not listen or were inappropriate.

    Pistol is right, if Arteta had stayed fit AW would have carried on as he was and I doubt we’d even be fourth with that tye of player as an anchor. Lovely player Arteta – just thoroughly inappropriate for the make up of the team.

  37. I can’t wait to be honest for this weekend, i know its only semi-finals, but for whatever reason I still get caught up in the magic of the FA Cup. I would love for the players to put on a proper performance and really show their class, get an early goal and make Reading chase the match.

    As far as managers go, well DeBoer and Bergkamp would be the idea but Klopp would so too. I know people will say that we can’t get better than Arsene or don’t want to go side ways, but who is to say that Klopp isn’t a step forward given: age, fire, hunger, tactics and finally being able to have money to spend? There are several young managers out there who I would enjoy and think could push us forward. Yes Arsene brought in the players and yes we have had another wonderful run, but I want more than just a run, I want a title challenge.

  38. Porto showed yesterday that when you have a manager that is willing to adjust with thr flow of the match, players that are set up properly and take their chances and your mentally ready to compete that anything is possible. While there was some shambolic defending, most of he mistakes by Bayern were forced because of the pressure and discpline of the Porto players.

    Still want Jackson Martinez, he loves to score goals and really loves scoring in the CL. Another player I would have from Porto, is Casemiro who is on loan from Madrid but is having a brilliant season and is only 22 years old, is surplus to Madrid and is technically very good but is also a really good DM.

  39. I agree with that last summer we were left short of CB,DM and back up CF and RB. All of those positions should have been addressed last summer.

    I agree to some degree about the tactical inflexibility.

    I don’t really agree about the concern with players “out of position”. It’s my belief that we over think that.

    However, no one mentioned that Arsene did not have his team was mentally prepared to get off to a decent start this season. Critical players like cazorla, Ozil, Ramsey and BFG who could have made a huge difference in our early season form all took extended summer mental holidays.

  40. Klopp in Spandau Ballet. C’mon! He’s too cool for that…it’d have be an industrial band: Einstürzende Neubauten, Rammstein or MDFMK. Or a new synth band called Kloppwerk.

  41. @Bill

    I agree about the mental aspect. I get Ozil and BFG celebrating the World Cup, but players like Ramsey, Jack, Santi and even Giroud should have all been mentally prepared and they weren’t.

  42. Bill
    If its so irrelevant then why do the players themselves seem to always mention it? Some even change clubs due to not being happy in a particular position. I understand that a attacking player should in theory be able to play any where along the front line. But you seem to disregard the space between a players ears. It can be a mental thing. Youve trained and played all your career to be a specialist in a certain position then you get shunted some where else and asked to play a different role.
    Ramsey is not a wide player, he may do a job there against certain teams but its not where he is most affective. By your reasoning Giroud should be able to play out wide, while he may do some thing out there he is not going to be nearly as effective as centrally.

  43. Mourinho on Ozil during his press conference:

    “Ozil is unique. There is no copy of him – not even a bad copy.”

    Hand FUCKING OFF MOURINHO YOU CUNT HE’S ARSENAL’S!

  44. C.

    I know you like BFG and Ozil but just about every critical player other then Ramsey was in the WC we needed our Germans as much or perhaps even more then the other players you named.

  45. C
    I don’t buy the world cup as a excuse. The only player that actually played a significant amount of games was Ozil.
    It seems non of the other Germans playing for other teams were affected. Bayern would have been fucked with most of their team under performing if this was the case.

  46. @Bill

    I didn’t say the others have an excuse, I actually said those players should have been ready, given that Ozil was the only one outisde of BFG to play late into the tournament. I am in agreement with you.

  47. @Pistol

    Im not blaming the World Cup, but even Bayern brought their World Cup players back as subs. Mueller, Schweinsteiger were brought off the bench with Ribery, Robben and Lewandowski starting in the early days after the World Cup. Neuer was the only starter early on to be fair. I do think the slow start by Jack, Ramsey, Santi, Giroud and he rest were down to us not being ready mentally at the start.

  48. O and the FA Cup, only Debuchy should start from our list of previously injured. Mozart before Jack.

  49. Think I’ll have a watch of Wolfsburg v Napoli.

    Higuin, Hamsek and company v Gustavo, De Bruyne and De Bost.

  50. Higuain does it again, class touch and even better finish. Sorry, no offense to Giroud but I would love Higuain leading our line.

    @Yogi

    No its not to good to he true, I think it will be a really good movie.

  51. For those that say Higuain is only a “fox in the box” needs to look at the invh perfect pass to Hamsik that he just provided. It was an absolute inch perfect defense splitting pass.

  52. Giroud should have been worried, and honestly he is a class above Giroud. Both his goal and assist thus far in the match were class. I do hope reports of us testing Napoli’s resolve are true. A front 4 of Higuain, Sanchez, Ozil and one of Theo/Welbeck/Ox would be a joy to watch.

  53. @LSG

    Yea, but I have also read in other places that Higuain wouldn’t make that much of a difference and heard similar arguements to that which Big Al was making.

    If you add Higuain to this collection of players, I would venture to say things would be a bit different.

  54. If a lot of our World Cup returning players seemed unprepared and motivated then maybe the coach wasn’t doing his job to the fullest…yup, maybe HE wasn’t fully prepared and motivated after a summer of beach football/volleyball with Bixente Lizarazu. Seems he wasn’t prepared – he didn’t fill the glaring holes at CB.
    It does take a little longer for the older guys to recover from a trip to Brasil.

  55. C, I think we might have won last year or at least not faded to 4th with Higuain competing with OG.

  56. @LSG

    I think you may be right and I do think this season we would have challenged better in the early part of the season when Sanchez was basically dragging us by himself.

    I would love to have him in the Arsenal team next season. Higuain and a top DM and summer is done!

  57. YW.

    Loved the new Star Wars trailer. Luke Skywalker over-dialogue in the beginning was great but the last bit of dialogue is what really got me stoked. “Chewy we’re home” A huge smile must have broken out on every nerds face from here to Degobah 😉

  58. Pistol

    It wasn’t the play time at WC, it was the travel, constant training when they would have usually been off or on a relaxed tour and for the Germans a trip right into the final and back to Germany for non stop touring with World cup. I think it took more out the players than you think, add on top of that Sanchez not having a pre season with team and injuries.

  59. We all know what the germans are like, of course it was winning the world cup that caused us problems, they would have been partying for a week after winning it. it took our boys weeks to get over all the hedonistic madness that would have ensued.

  60. Good write up as usual YW.
    I admire Klopp for choosing the timing of his departure, recognising the time was right for both club and himself. Something I think Wenger should have done, but didn’t.
    So I can’t see Klopp joining us. Wenger has 2 years to run. Klopp will take on a big gig. I can’t see him staying only 2 years wherever he goes, just waiting around for Wenger to retire.
    No idea who will follow Wenger, wil think about it closer to his departure.
    Although DB10 could be ready then.

  61. Can you imagine how many knighthoods would get thrown around if England did win the Cup?
    They’d need a dozen swords.

  62. If you go back to the link YW posted earlier on AW not being willing to work under a director of football, he flags that he struggles in the transfer window. He seems to suggest that his preferred option is not to have to buy players, if that is his mind set from the start it goes some way to explaining why we seem to make a complete arse of it every summer and end up scrabbling around on deadline day.
    There is a group on Facebook called Proud to be a Gooner where a number of fans posted after the recent rumours of Higuain being available in the summer. Most of the comments were along the lines of not wanting him as he didn’t want to come to Arsenal a couple of summers ago. This is the same nonsense that saw he booed in the Emirates Cup that summer. It was Arsenal who dithered over Higuain and suddenly decided to chase Suarez, in the process allowing Napoli to nip in ahead of us and missing out on both players.
    If Higuain were available this summer I think we should jump at the chance to get him as he is absolute class and to my mind definitely a step up on Giroud. As I said before, it’s not one or the other though, I think we should keep Giroud as well and rotate. I think Giroud has got enough about him to fight for his place.

  63. Imagine saying AW doesn’t care, are people pretending to be dumb or are really just plain stupid.
    Of course AW got lucky with Coq, he never scouted him, never bought him, never thought meticulously about loans that would benefit the player, never wanted him to gain match fitness so he never went on loan to Charlton.
    Enough of the sarcasm,
    Le Coq’s emergence has to do more with the player accepting his strengths and dropping aside fanciful ideas of being a box to box MF, every manager deserves to get lucky once in a while, well, except Arsene. Bollocks

  64. YW

    Very late reply to your Star Wars query but they nailed,it has the “feel” although it’s hard to tell how the new storyline will unfold. The origina sound track is back and thank god they didn’t bathe this movie in CGI nonesense.

    They did that with the Hobbit movies and i hated it.