The Fan Doth Protesteth Too Much…

GE

An away win and progress into the next round of the cup. What shall we do with the rest of the week? It’s as good a time as any for a protest. Not a good, old-fashioned march with placards but with our feet nonetheless. Organised electronically, of course.

The Premier League’s announcement yesterday of a price cap on away tickets was a small but important victory for supporters yesterday. The disappointment in it is that they failed to seize the opportunity to embrace the Twenty’s Plenty aim.

Arsenal went a step further. The club will provide an additional £4 discount, meaning that the top price that away supporters will pay as they follow Arsenal over land, sea and Leicester is £26. It’s a significant move on their part and appreciated, even if the money will barely scratch Arsenal’s funds.

It begs the question as to why they can’t reach reciprocal agreements with other clubs, charging those visiting The Emirates £26 if the same applies to Arsenal’s return fixture? There was a cabal of like-minded clubs who leaked their intention to follow this course of action recently so there is a willingness there.

Arsenal supporters are likely to gain more than most with this Premier League move. Ticket price structures are such that the matches are invariably Category A even if the corresponding fixture at The Emirates is C. A figure bandied around mentioned a saving of £370 over the course of a season which underlines the extent to which the cash cow has been milked previously.

This is the beginning of the process though. The aim of charging away supporters £20 per match should surely continue, not resting on its laurels at this starting point?

At the same time, Red Action have announced that they support a boycott of Sunday’s cup tie with Watford. It’s the only game this season, barring a miracle in Barcelona next week, where season ticket holders have the option of attending without wasting their money. The game isn’t covered by a cup-tie credit so it’s an optional extra.

There are plenty who disagree with that course of action. As with the banner being unfurled after a win, the strength of feeling behind the statement is that Red Action are the organisers of much of the fan participation at The Emirates.

I understand why they have chosen the course of action but suspect it is nothing more than an exercise in futility. Season ticket holders who ‘opt out’ will find their seats gleefully snatched up by other members who would otherwise struggle for tickets in such a crucial game. The aim for massed ranks of empty seats is unlikely to happen, certainly not to the extent of the recent Swansea match.

There is also the argument that an isolated incident which is how an individual game will be viewed by the club’s hierarchy, is that effective. Liverpool supporters leaving en masse on the 77th minute proved that with the right publicity, supporter protests can have a strong visual impact.

Some argue that it had a negative impact on the pitch with Liverpool dropping a two-goal lead late on. I wish people would make up their minds over whether the crowd impacts on players or not, even managers dispute whether they do.

The fundamental problem I have with the proposed action is that it’s on the vaguest of grounds. “If you are unhappy with how our club is being run” is not much of a focussed rallying call, lacking the specifics of ticket pricing or any other objective. Mentioning a “£36” saving on your season ticket renewal suggests to the casual reader that it is motivated by self-interest.

Yes, the club could be more fan-centric in its focus and if commercial revenues continue to rise, if broadcast income continues to become a bigger percentage of turnover, that might happen in the future but in the short-term, there will be a series of small ‘wins’ but what is given with one hand will be taken by the other.

Tying any boycott into the £3m Consultancy Fee is pointless; KSE will still take that money on a nod and wink from the board. No amount of empty seats is going to change that.

Unless the whole of football changes – as with the away ticket pricing – Arsenal are not likely to do anything which will fundamentally weaken them against rivals.

And I haven’t even begun on the manager yet…

’til Tomorrow.

123 thoughts on “The Fan Doth Protesteth Too Much…

  1. dalm says:

    Unrelated aside I did quite enjoy the bits of the Chel$$ki match that I watched last night, plenty of pro blue blinkered commentating !

  2. Finnish Hit says:

    “Arsenal are not likely to do anything which will fundamentally weaken them against rivals”

    That’s very logical and hopefully some of the “spend all the money in the bank FFS and” people could see that angle as well.

    And that, for me at least, also means any unnecessary changing of the manager. Via Posivista I found myself looking at the alternative suggestions Le G*ove made for Arsenal manager (on 2nd March) and was truly dumbfounded. The alternative costs and risk scenarios are just too big.

  3. HenryB says:

    Yogi,

    Your well written Post summation about the current protests against Arsenal, in our case, and all the clubs generally, resulting in a significantly discounted away ticket price, means that I cannot think of anything else constructive to say.

  4. Orson Kaert says:

    Oh go on Henry have a go, you know you want to. 😀

  5. C says:

    Good stuff Yogi!

    A boycott from the off IMHO does nothing because as you say the tickets will get bought. Now what thr Liverpool supporters did is something different and was even discussed in length during the NBC broadcast here in the States. That has a different feel.

  6. YW says:

    Finnish Hit

    Not changing the manager has degenerated into ‘be careful what you wish for’, invariably followed by ‘you’ll miss him when he’s gone’. To me, that seriously underlines that proponents of keeping the manager are in fact, more scared of change than the future.

    For a lot of people, they only know Wenger’s Arsenal and the prospect scares them.

    Interesting summation from today’s Guardian:

    http://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2016/mar/09/arsenal-arsene-wenger-fans

  7. Orson Kaert says:

    It was all very well for the Liverpool supporters to walk out at 77 minutes, they knew full well they weren’t going to miss anything.

    Now at the Emirates anything can happen in the last thirteen minutes….

  8. Jonny says:

    @Finnish – I find it very hard to understand why you exalted yesterdays post from Santori when one half of it was a paean to his own ego; the written equivalent of a video of Santori having a wank, over a picture of himself in bed with a cardboard cut-out of Flamini in which they are holding up a big sign which reads.
    “I told you I know everything – now you will know that I am always right”.
    Seriously, I think he has some kind of mental condition.

  9. Orson Kaert says:

    Yogi, it’s not so much who comes next, as who is going to choose, who comes next that worries me.

  10. C` says:

    Reports have Ramsey out from anywhere between 5 weeks to really being a major doubt for the start of Euro’s.

  11. Ron says:

    I don’t know…I’m too cynical to be bothered too much, after all, the players and manager get paid in a week what I hope to make in 10 years. Same goes for the club, they are not a club in the traditional sense just another Corp that really gets less funding from its supporters than commercial placement. When I get frustrated with Le Arse I switch off my telly (duh I can’t get a ticket & if I did I would not walk out of the stadium to stage a protest – I’m not a masochist). For me football is a pasttime not a fixation so I will not allow myself to feel too bad about the impending, cyclical Arsenal implosion. When football gets irritating (an emotion that Arsenal regularly evoke in me), it’s no longer a pasttime and therefore should just be abandoned…may be time to fill our weekends with something else folks.

  12. Orson Kaert says:

    That’s about par for the course as far as Ramsey is concened, C.

  13. HenryB says:

    Orson,

    You, and your Kaert, know me all too well! 🙂

    I did actually write about something referred to within the Post, then the thought struck me that no one would give a toss, and I scrubbed it. 🙂

  14. C` says:

    The strange thing about Santori’s post, is that the day before the Spuds match, go back and take a look, he called things like stupid, idiotic, and something about me being delusional or something crazy like that for the thought that Elneny should start ahead of Flamini and if partnered with Le Coq they would do a really good job. Then you read his post yesterday and he talks and praises Elneny for his ability not only to play with Le Coq but in the future be our DM. Madness, especially when you suggest that Flamini should be at Arsenal next season under contract and playing.

  15. C` says:

    @Orson

    It actually doesn’t bother me that he is out. I am really interested to see what Elneny can do both as our DM and playing next to Le Coq.

  16. Finnish Hit says:

    @Jonny – I don’t think there is much wrong with someone pointing out things that they were right about before. Probably santori has gotten some things wrong as well. But I find even those points he made rewarding, because the were counter-popular (is that a word in English?) when he made them.

    But the other half was interesting, because it was a balanced AND realistic attempt to have a look at the squad and possible changes to it.

    And I’m not as big a fan of Flamini myself (but I support all the current Arsenal players), but he does have a good point on Flamini being a near-perfect “retiring 25th player”. It’s a position few players would enjoy, being third of fourth choice, most likely Flamini himself either. But now I see it as a possibility.

    The near-sighted fan of course would go mental at the idea (why not get Higuain instead etc.) (And no, you can’t use a youngster to throw into the fire in different positions because the risk of killing him.)

  17. HenryB says:

    C,

    I think an enforced rest for Rambo will actually be a ‘good’ thing for him, and indirectly for the club too.

    Part of the reason for his somewhat erratic performances, in my opinion, are that he tries too hard. A rare phenomenon in this day and age I know, but his hunger to cover every blade of grass ( a colloquialism Finnish) in every game leads to errant passing, and action before thought. So a break is just what the doctor ordered – so to speak. 🙂

    The indirect benefit to the club is that it is possible that Wenger can try out more beneficial pairings in midfield, and that might just be the key to a more cohesive team performance.

  18. Columbus Arsenal (MA) says:

    Pretty well written that piece on the banner and Arsene. It touches on all the important things and done so without an overt agenda. Fans are frustrated, rightfully so because we do never seem to progress. We cheekily peer over the summit but always call short. The FA Cup is meaningful, just not in the same sense as the title. I prefer title wins to either FA Cup or Champions League. I also acknowledge that I do feel entitled, I expect to win most games. I don’t think that makes,me a bad person, entitled, yes. I want success, we are in the business of success, and I just don’t think year on year CL qualification is success for a club like Arsenal.

  19. Orson Kaert says:

    Well there seems to be a measure of unanimity about the Ramsey situation, both C and the always prolific Henry as well as my humble self, all agree that his injury may be a blessing in disguise.

    I also happen to think, that Le Coq and Elneny in combination could quickly gel into a very important midfield pairing particularly as there appears to be some doubt as to when Cazorla may return.

    Every cloud…etc…etc.

  20. C says:

    Arsene says both Mert and Gabriel are available for Watford. With Ramsey its a “small alert”.

  21. Orson Kaert says:

    That’s a sizest comment by Wenger, Lerts are very self-conscious about their small stature.

  22. C says:

    @Henry

    That is a fair point. Though I do think there is a major differencr between trying to hard for the good of the team and to the detriment and the feeling I had that it was either one or the other never really comfortably in between.

    I do think though that at present a spark was needed and the simple, quick efficiency of Elneny is kind of what we needed in our midfield. He kind of provides a bit of what Santi did as far as quickly making decisions and passes and allowing the ball to do the work (which is something that at times modern futbol is certainly missing).

  23. Finnish Hit says:

    YW

    Both of us Shirley (backlash from the pic some days ago, sorry) know that Paul Wilson as a football journalist is not standing still but is a Falling Man. I have faith in many other Guardian hacks, though.

    To be fair to me: although I’ve claimed myself to be a Wengerite on your site, I have always been on the “Who else than” Brigade. We had a short debate with consolsbob some years ago, I asked for better names, he said it’s not his or the fan’s problem but the board’s. Cul de sac on that.

    Actually, it would be interesting to make a list of all the managerial candidates touted as better than Wenger on the day, and see what turns their careers took after that. From the top of my head I remember occasionally successful names like Redknapp, Jewell, Rodgers, O’Neill, Rafa, Mou, Moyes, Adkins, Martinez.

    And the list of foreign names never trying it in England, then good and now gone, is even longer. The risk of taking first-time foreigners to come manage in England is huge. I doubt even Pep will be having a stroll next season.

    But yes, to conclude, I do admit fear of change more than the future. But even more, I still see the future as a positive possibility. Yes, I’m desperately positive by nature.

  24. C` says:

    @Finnish

    I would be careful with taking a look at various managers and how their careers took a turn. For instance, it seems whoever is in the Manure managerial seat is in an untenable situation and that probably goes for the same in the Madrid managerial seat for different reasons.

    You can also take a look at other managers and how they were at one stop but much better everywhere else.

  25. YW says:

    Well, I’ve never seen anyone promote the causes of Jewell, Redknapp, O’Neill, Adkins, Moyes or Martinez as Arsenal manager.

    And before you dismiss the others, I believe both Benitez and Mourinho have won European trophies amongst others, since Arsène last won the title. Not sure if Rafa has won a title since leaving Liverpool, we know Mourinho has been boorishly but phenomenally successful in the last decade.

    It’s interesting that ‘lesser’ managers are routinely dismissed as successors to Wenger yet he was exactly that when he arrived. Indeed by the logic you’ve used – “The risk of taking first-time foreigners to come manage in England is huge” – Wenger should never have got the job in the first place. Double standards at play?

    It is purely speculative to name names now when we don’t know when Arsène is retiring/standing down. At that point, the lists will be endless and I am sure that I will join in the fun of it all as well.

  26. Columbus Arsenal (MA) says:

    I’m not sure about the notion that we are looking for someone as good as Arsene. There are a number of managers whom possess the kind of a attractive football resume we might desire. Inertia is not progress and s,dwas stated in the article “standing still is like going backwards”. Unless I’m missing something obvious, sport is very much a results driven business. A club the size of Arsenal can not look at the last decade and declare themselves satisfied surely.

  27. C` says:

    And on the banner thing, something that is routinely being dismissed / overlooked is the fact that it did say something like “Thank for the memories”, its not as though the banner said, “Fuck off your past it and your inability to change or adapt has caused us to stagnate as a club.”

  28. Finnish Hit says:

    YW
    Very correct on the “lesser” manager juxtaposition.

    My thinking was – dare I say it – that Arsenal also were a lesser club in stature and success at that time.

    Similarly, I feel it’s less risky for clubs like Southampton and Swansea now to take foreign managers to their first jobs in England. Or like Leicester, have a shot on someone universally thought of as a has-been like Ranieri (bless him). Those clubs have a bigger window of opportunities to go up or down.

    Arsenal, or Man United, or Chelsea, or Man City currently have a mostly one-way view of “down”.

    Of course I too would prefer a notch or two higher for us. But I wouldn’t walk on a plank yet.

    Bloo*y metaphors twisting my leg and pulling my arm now.

  29. HenryB says:

    Umm, isn’t this ‘what manager should replace Wenger?’ akin to saying ‘which doctor will you go to if you have a disease in the future?’

    Kind of depends, in each case, on who is available when it happens.

    Yogi is correct that it was a case of ‘Arsene Who’ when he was presented to us all those years ago – and I hope that it is going to be same again, when Arsene rides off into the sunset.

    I hate to say it but the Spuds who have had about 100 managers since AW was appointed, have finally struck lucky with taking on a manager who was unknown until Southampton found him.
    Interestingly, I understand that Pochettino was scouted by Arsenal as a defender years ago, but Mssr W decided that Djourou or some such was a better bet. Hmm?

    Anyway, not that I would want to cast nasturtiums at any of the ‘usual suspects’ on the managerial go-round, but most of them like Benitez and Fat Sam (shivers and feels nauseous) have had their turns – several times – and I hope they never darken out doorstep.

    The one exception I personally would find just about acceptable, because it would be a direct contrast to the Arsene style of football and would be the ‘defence from the back’ style, trophy winning little sh*t Maureen.

    I feel unhappy saying that, but as it will never happen I can rationalise it as logic over expectation. 🙂

  30. HenryB says:

    Finnish,

    When one walks the plank it is generally (always) never voluntary – i.e. choice is not an option. 🙂

    And, if it helps, it is usually ‘pulling your leg’ (or plonker), or ‘twisting your arm’ the first is jocular the second painful. 😀

    At your service.

  31. buckagh says:

    I don’t see the Ramsey injury as a blessing in disguise at all l, I know he can be frustrating, but we don’t have an abundance of midfielders right now. Gabriel is a gamble as he appeared to pull up with a hamstring as well,
    Finnish, I have been around here for quite a few years have never seen anyone suggest the names on your list as alternative managers at Arsenal

  32. Bill says:

    Thanks for the post yogi

    Clearly the club now has plenty of money yet it’s also clear that our results have stagnated and IMO the club’s culture has also stagnated and what has happened this season again offers plenty of evidence which supports that theory. Arsene is a dominant figure in our culture and at this point he is unlikely to change who he is.

    There is will always be some ups and downs and anything is possible but IMO it’s unlikely that we will be able to regain any true upward momentum as a club as long as Arsene remains the manager. I don’t follow world football as closely as many of you so I am not even going to try to suggest specific names. However, we need to some fresh blood and fresh ideas and someone needs to light a fire under the club’s feet. One reason to maintain the status quo is a fear of change. A famous quote from FDR (one of our presidents) is very appropriate, “all we have to fear is fear itself”. No one has ever improved by being paralyzed by fear of what change might bring.

  33. Bill says:

    Finnish

    The problem with Santori’s comment is that it ignores what is actually happening. For example we have been struggling to score goals for 3-4 seasons now. 2 years ago we finished 40 goals behind the leaders. Last season was a little better but not much and this season we on course to score the fewest goals of any Arsenal team in this century. It might be different if we were seeing improvement year over year but the momentum arrow is on a major downward trend. Even if you believe this is just a really down year instead of an evolving trend we were still not good enough at scoring in the 3 years before this year so some improvement of this same group of players will still not be enough. Yet Santori will tell you that we should basically stand pat other then perhaps adding someone to back up Sanchez on the left wing. Where is the thought process and logic in that?

    The whole optimistic/pessimistic and good fan/bad fan debate is a straw man argument which is designed to divert attention from what is actually happening on the pitch. IMO. We can love the players that we have but still admit that we need some significant upgrades. Those are not mutually exclusive ideas. You and Santori can do whatever you like but ignoring logic for the sake of pretending to be optimistic is probably counterproductive in terms of moving the club forward in a positive direction.

  34. YW says:

    Lesser club in terms of stature & success? In the preceding decade, we’d won the league twice, the domestic cup double, the European Cup Winners Cup and lost the following year’s final. Compared to that, the last decade has been wholly unsuccessful.

  35. Bill says:

    The other concern that I have not banged on about as much this season is our defense. I really thought we were moving the right direction for a couple years but I think have done some backsliding this season and the momentum arrow is down for the defense as well as the attack. I do agree with Santori that we should probably get another CB and move Mert down the depth chart. I think we should send Chambers on loan so he can get experience at CB. That would also give us a much better idea of whether or not he really does have a strong future. You can’t build your future plans based a couple of decent performances. I would certainly welcome a dominant CB in the mold of Hummels or someone like that . However, I still think we could improve the defense without spending a lot of money as long as we improve the team ethos but I don’t think we can improve our attack without a significant and likely expensive talent upgrade so that would be my priority when we go into the transfer market this summer.

  36. andy1886 says:

    Finnish, you got me with that suggestion:

    “Arsenal also were a lesser club in stature and success at that time.”

    Sorry, but I couldn’t resist a response 🙂

    Looking at the club then and now in 1996 Arsenal had won the league twice in the previous decade, the last time five years previous. We’d also won the FA Cup, League Cup, and Cup Winners Cup in the previous three years. Not bad for a ‘lesser’ club.

    Compare with now and we’ve won two FA Cups in the last decade, and er, that’s it. Not so great in comparison.

    You can throw out the CL qualification but that is never going to trouble those that update our honours list. And it’s not a valid comparison because only Champions qualified for the premier European tournament prior to Arsene’s time. Using the same qualification criteria we wouldn’t have qualified once in the last decade. So that’s out.

    And you could add that we actually won a European trophy under Graham while Arsene continues to fail to do so after twenty attempts.

    League-wise we were second only to Liverpool in titles when Arsene arrived, during his tenure we have fallen to third as United overtook us and disappeared over the horizon.

    So all in all I would suggest we were a bigger club success wise then than we are now. Where we are bigger is in terms of finance (please don’t tell me AW build the stadium, others were responsible for that even if he did have funding restrictions as a result). But bigger a bigger cash cow doesn’t really interest fans unless the resources are used to build a winning side.

  37. andy1886 says:

    Beat me to it again YW!

    I’d also add that I’m quite happy to take a risk on a new boss. Nothing ventured, nothing gained as they say. Change brings opportunity, if it didn’t we’d still be using the telegram rather than nice swanky mobile phones. Yes it’s a risk but I’d take the potential ups and downs over Arsene’s beloved consistency of top four finishes any day of the week. It’s part of being a football fan.

  38. Bill says:

    I think we should send Chambers on loan next year to a PL team where he can play CB. He has hardly any experience playing that position in his entire career and he is not getting any while sitting on our bench. Experience is critical to any player but IMO it’s even more critical to a CB since almost any lapse of concentration is severely punished. The fact that he played well against Hull is encouraging and we are all hoping for the best but at this point we have no idea what sort of CB he might be.

    Sending Chambers on loan does 2 things. 1) Gives him experience which is critical IMO. 2) Gives us a chance for get a realistic evaluation of just where he is and how he reacts to playing regularly against top flight competition and it gives us the best possible data point to see where he is in his growth and development as a CB.
    With Mert and Kos aging we needed to make the big decisions about his future and how we build the squad. We can’t get the info we need while he is sitting on our bench.

  39. Orson Kaert says:

    I can’t agree with you on Chambers Bill, with Merts and Koscielny both approaching the end, Merts quite soon I suspect, Chambers should be given every chance to play centre back for the rest of this season. If he does well we will have a ready replacement for next season without dipping into the piggy-bank.

  40. silvergunner says:

    @ Bill I’m torn on chambers I feel he looks more comfortable in either cb or dmc. He isn’t a rb 100%.
    The reason I’m torn is he is a good 3rd/4th choice cb a good 3rd choice dmc. I realise that that is part of the problem with being 3rd choice is limited game time.
    But loans are only as good as the teams and environment the player joins. Look at gnabry j thought he would kick on at West brum but pulls didn’t like what he saw. Look at jenks amazing last season decidedly average this season. In fact the only loanees that has done well imo is Toral, Akpom in fits and bursts possible Sanogo at Charlton too but that jury is still deliberating.

  41. Bill says:

    Orson

    I think Chambers may have a bright future at CB but he has been a midfielder and RB for most of his academy and first team career and I can count the number of games he has played at CB in his entire career on my fingers. He had a couple of good preseason games at CB last season but he would found out rather quickly when we tried to play him at that position for more then a couple games. That does not mean he is destined to fail, far from it, but it does mean we still don’t know where he is in his development.

    I am all for building for the future but we are still mathematically in the title race and irregardless of how remote the possibility of us winning I am not ready for us to morph into a player development mode yet. We still have experienced CB’s on the roster who theoretically should give us a better chance to win games the rest of this year. No?

  42. Pete the Thirst says:

    Arsene Wenger v George Graham (Managerial Honours) – Food for thought

    Arsene: In charge – 19 years / League wins – 3 / FA Cups – 6

    George: In charge – 9 years / League wins – 2 / FA Cups – 1 / League Cups – 2 / Uefa Cup Winners Cup – 1

  43. Bill says:

    Silver

    There are uncommon exceptions to every generalization but for the most part there are 2 “realistic” possibilities why Gnabry failed so miserably on loan. 1) He was not ready, 2 ) He is not good enough.

    We all hope Gnabry fits in the category #1 but either way our first team is not the right place to be trying to develop someone who is either #1 or #2 IMO. I assume Pulis wants to use the best players he has available and he wants to win games. If Serge had worked his butt off and done what he needed to do and demonstrated that he was ready then I assume Pulis would have used him.

    Jenks is a different situation. Jenks had been around the club for a couple of years. Arsene’s history clearly indicates that he would not have spent close to $30M to buy Debuchy and Chambers to replace Sagna if he thought that Jenks was good enough to be our regular RB. My guess is that Jenks probably over achieved last season and the reality is that he probably fits into category #2.

  44. C` says:

    @silver

    I think Toral has been brilliant, one of the best players in the Championship and that’s not me saying that but damn near every manager he has faced has raved about him before and after the match.

  45. Bill says:

    If we fall further behind or if we don’t make up any ground in the next few games then we could morph into a limited player development mode. However, we still can’t take to many risks because we need to make sure that we hold on 4th place.

  46. Bill says:

    C:

    Toral is a flair/creative type player and he is absolutely thriving in Birmingham which is certainly not a bastion of beautiful football. He is doing what he needs to do to be successful and he is being rewarded for his talent and efforts. He is working his way up the ladder in exactly the way any young player should be striving to do.

    There is no need to rush the process and possibly destroy his positive momentum. Let’s send him to a PL team next year so we can see just where his ceiling might be. No way to prove it but I would bet my next months wages that Pulis would not leave Toral sitting in the stands on match days.

  47. Finnish Hit says:

    I knew I’d be targeted deservedly for the “lesser stature” quip.

    But the comparisons you guys made me think, and I just had to do some calculations. So here are some stats:

    Arsenal average position during Wenger’s 19 seasons: 2,88.
    Arsenal average position before Wenger in 19 seasons: 5,47.

    It can be argued quite confidently, without cherry-picking seasons, that Arsenal has been decidedly bigger during Wenger.

    Next, you’ll counter-argue that there was the good Wenger and the standing-still Wenger. Don’t worry, I did the maths for you already:

    On his 1st ten seasons Wenger’s average position was 2,0.
    On his 2nd ten seasons Wenger’s average position is 3,6.
    (For the latter, I evaluated this season as 4th position.)

    So have Wenger and/or Arsenal come down by a couple of notches. Yes they have, but have a look at this:

    Chelsea’s average position during the Abramovitch money: 2,25.
    Chelsea’s average position before the Abramovitch money: 8,83.
    (Before & after: same amount of seasons (12)).

    Man City’s average position during the Mansour money: 2,33.
    Man City’s average position before the Mansour money: 12,00.
    (Before & after: same amount of seasons (6)).

    – – – – –

    See what I did there? I single-handedly proved that neither Arsenal or Wenger are on the decline per se. It is more a question of two externally-funded clubs PUSHING themselves above everyone else in recent years.

    In case you’re already wondering what Man United’s averages are: since ole purple nose (counting this season as 6th): 5,66. Last three seasons of Fergie: 1,33.

    Now, I don’t have any gripes if someone considers Ferguson to be a better manager than Wenger. He probably is.

    But come and claim some other, more mortal being, a better manager than Wenger even in his old days, and I’ll hit you with more stats. 🙂

    – – – – –

    Regarding this season as a “failure” from us for not securing the trophy by the Ides of March, I’ve made several comments on previous blogs.

  48. C` says:

    @Bill

    Problem is, Toral is out of contract come this summer and while Arsenal should absolutely sign him to a new one, nobody really knows. He is more than a flair/creative player though as he started as a CM at La Masia.

    I do think though that a loan to a PL side next season is the right thing to do and in NO FUCKING WAY should we even let Pulis near him.

  49. Finnish Hit says:

    Regarding winning the Uefa Cup Winners Cup, food for thought:

    What odds that Arsenal would have won the Europa League by now, if they “hadn’t been obliged” to play in the Champions League, year after year, and always making it to the Round of Arsenal?

  50. Pete the Thirst says:

    Wenger had a fantastic first 10 years, that is beyond doubt.

    He probably got lucky. He took a brilliant back 5 and added flair and goals to the mix. He improved their diet (ie added performance enhancing drugs to the mix). Found players that were unknown in England. He also had David Dein making (less conservative) decisions for him.

    In the past 9 years he has been found out.

  51. Bill says:

    C. @ 3:49.

    Fair enough. I think your distaste for Pulis is emotional and it’s a red herring. He would use Toral or any player that he thought would help his team. However that is minutiae and I certainly agree the big picture point of your comment.

  52. HenryB says:

    It is not really possible to properly compare the factors governing the Graham and Wenger years, in my opinion.

    There has been a seismic change in the structure of the EPL and that of many of the clubs as regards their financial power and therefore their trophy success.

    For example, Chelsea were down and outs on the verge of bankruptcy before Abramovich bought them and poured in huge money, and almost immediately they started to win things. Manure were a bit part player for about a quarter of a century until the Glazers happened by, and poured in the banks and the investors’ money, and hey presto they started to win things, and more recently Man City were a middle of the road, middle of the table outfit until the About Dhabi guys came along and poured money in – and guess what? they started to win trophies.

    This produced a huge distortion in the wealth, power and success of those clubs that did not exist in the days of Gorgeous George.
    George’s teams played in the old First Division, and other than Arsenal the major title winners in that era going back to the late ’70s were luminaries such as Leeds, Liverpool, and Everton.

    Throughout the Premiership era, the old First Division bigwigs, other than Arsenal, slipped into obscurity, and the EPL since its inception has been won other than Arsenal, by the money guys Man City, Man Utd, Chelsea.

    The only constant in either League over they years, having won in both, has been the Arsenal.

  53. Pete the Thirst says:

    @Finnish I was in attendance at the Uefa Cup Final in 2000 where Arsenal absolutely stank the place out against the savages from the Bosporus. That was a massive chance missed…

    The Arsenal team were far better than their opponents, but looked like they couldn’t be bothered. A mode that Arsene’s teams fill regularly. Similar to the 2011 League Cup final against Birmingham, or the first half of the FA Cup final against Hull in 2014.

  54. andy1886 says:

    Finnish, just one point regards your league position calculations…

    You get exactly the same in terms of trophies for finishing on average at place 3.6 as you do for finishing 5.47 – i.e. none, nothing, zilch. No-one cares about average league position, just what you win. That’s what goes on your CV and makes you a big club.

    The point was about where we were before Arsene took over compared to where we are now. Going back over a decade to reference where we are now is pushing it a bit, do we go back to the 1930’s to prove we were a bigger club before Arsene?

    No, IMO we were more successful in the reasonably recent past when Arsene joined than we are now, as measured by tangible success rather than pointless statistics for which there are no rewards.

    Nice work though 🙂

  55. Pete the Thirst says:

    @Henry I would just like to point out that before the Glazers came along United won 8 premier league titles from 1992-2003, and a European Cup.

    The defining factor was the manager, Ferguson. He was tickling Wenger’s belly at the end of his time.

  56. HenryB says:

    Well, well, Finnish, we seem to have come to similar conclusions, although from somewhat different perspectives, and I did not bother with ‘averages’, but took the broad brush approach of who won what, and were there any circumstantial factors between the pre and post Premier League era.

    It does not ‘prove’ anything other than that the issue of ‘good, better, best’ is not as black and white as might appear at first.

  57. Bill says:

    Finnish.

    Arsene was clearly a great manager at one time but even the best tend to stagnate at some point. We all give him a free pass during the early Emirates era. However the problem is other then a couple of FA cups our results have certainly stagnated in the last several years despite having plenty of money available. The important question at this point is whether or not he is the right man to take us into the future. I would certainly argue that the evidence to date suggests he is probably not a manger who will thrive and improve the team in this current and future era of increasing uber prosperity.

  58. andy1886 says:

    As an example have Man City been a more successful club than Arsenal over the last decade?

    On average league position AFC = 3.6, MC 6.0.

    Honours: AFC 2 FA Cups. Man City: 2 PL Titles, 1 FA Cup, 2 League Cups.

    So I would suggest that honours rather than average league position defines success.

  59. HenryB says:

    Pete,

    I was not trying to write an exhaustive thesis on this, as I could not be assed with that. I was trying to show the evaluation between Wenger and Graham was not as straightforward as it might seem.

    You are right to point out there were other factors that could be brought to bear, if the discussions about how well Wenger did when compared with Ferguson, but I am already losing the will to live.
    As I said I was looking at the pre and post EPL eras, and of course Wenger was not involved in the old First Division in any event, or the four EPL titles Manure and Ferguson won before wenger eve took over the Arsenal manager’s role.

    hope that clarifies.

  60. C` says:

    @Bill

    Lets get Toral in a side that plays futbol so we can not just see how he plays in the PL, but playing a style similar to ours.

  61. Bill says:

    To each fan his own and we base our expectation on what makes us happy. It feels like there is a significant portion of the fan base who believe that just having Arsene as the manager seems to be a critically important part of the equation. If someone is happy with top 4 finishes and getting to the round of 16 in the CL and an occasional cup title as long as Arsene is the manager then who am I to say they are wrong. Anything is possible but I fully expect that level of performance to continue as long as Arsene is the manager.

    However, to be fair no one should say that those of us who want to see us improve our results irregardless of who manages the team are wrong.

  62. santori says:

    Hello hello gents. Discussing me I see.:D

    Why I’m not a bit egotistical. As I mentioned, who can predict the thought process of monsieur Wenger? 😉

    With regard Wenger’s success rate. There are other factors.

    1) Firstly as I mentioned, it is in the myth generating recesses of some people’s minds that we have been a force in Europe just because we won one (relatively minor)trophy with Graham. We have never been a top tier feature in the European stage. Under Wenger, we have been in the CL for 19 consecutive seasons even through fallow periods with key departures. This is not to say we are achieving what we want to but it is a significant presence and an achievement in itself to hold as a MINIMAL standard for almost 2 decades.

    It also helps in our brand building and the coffers of the club. Considering what Chelsea, United and Liverpool are trying to do now (that elusive top 4 trophy for them), it is not necessary to say a change of management can guarantee this sort of stability.

    Again granted we need to be achieving higher.

    2) Wenger’s second decade has been a challenge because :

    a) There has been an influx of oil rich clubs willing to spend and go into debt.
    b) The playing field has also been even out with TV money distribution. Just look at the lower teams and indeed even Hull in the championship. Where England were placidly hostile to things foreign at start of Wenger’s reign (remember we were given stick for the number of foreign players in the squad), almost every squad now boast a significant number of foreign players which has improved overall technical standards. Even the management has changed with plenty of foreign managers bringing in know how including that chap Klopp with the mid table team.
    C) Add to that our stadium build which significantly retarded our ability to load on players for a while and you can better appreciate how Wenger was able to keep us in the top tier of European competition in face of these challenges. Simply out, Graham did not build Arsenal up to where we are now in finance and branding.

    I think its extremely conceited for people to blame Wenger for instance in not using Campbell when it was Wenger who kept Joel in the first team this season. For that matter Coquelin, Bellerin whom many thought were not good enough for us.

    The list goes on. Yet many on these threads would deem to pretend that they know better and call time on Wenger’s tenure.

    The lot in management of the club know better. Wenger will not be around for much longer because of age.

    Until then we are not achieving quite as high as we can but even so, Wenger continues to deliver.

    If you were in a job to mitigate risk, you would pick Wenger. He near guarantees a top four finish and the income from CL participation plus profile is significant even if we have not won it or near gone far enough.

    Plus he has added back to back FA cup wins over last two seasons which suggest we are again on the right track and enjoying the fruits of our earlier frugality.

    Unless we fail to deliver FA cup or title, I don’t think Wenger has been poor to render this risk, so long as we win one of those competitions this season. If we do not, then there is food for thought as it will be a step back again.

    But he is still on for the FA cup and we have an outside chance at the title now. Naturally much of the dissapointment from the fan base comes from us not achieving what we should this season which is close in for the title. The FA will then feel a bit like a consolation prize even if 3 on the trot and in the record books is certainly nothing to sniff at at all.

    But considering Liverpool have been reinventing themselves ever since the early 90s and Klopp has yet to deliver any significant improvement (what’s his excuse? Leicester spent less), United went down the tube with virtually the same squad left behind by Fergie, there is reason to be cautious as well in rocking the boat in the belief that a change of gaffer may suddenly win us a bigger prize. It may instead have the reverse effect.

    If you were in risk mitigation, you would understand this. Sadly most fans are not.

    The time will come sooner than Later for Wenger to step down. There is no need to hurry it so long as we are competitive and at very least finish on minimum target.

    This season the minimum target is a notch higher. We are now use to winning one significant trophy so the FA cup has got to be delivered if the title is not achieved. And of course we have to finish within top 4.

    Dissapointing? Yes. We should really be able to take the title (we may yet). BUT hardly the sort of finish that would call for a risk to be taken in changing the management.;)

  63. Bill says:

    C: @ 4:25

    IMO. If Toral is that good and someone who can be an influential difference making player for Arsenal then I think he will probably thrive in whatever situation he is in just like he has at Birmingham. For example, Wilshere was brilliant for Bolton in his 1/2 season on loan back in the days when they were one of the most agricultural teams in the league.

    That said, I would agree that it would be helpful to choose the right team but it would be a mistake to avoid sending him to a PL side because we are over thinking.

  64. C` says:

    @Bill

    No doubt it shouldn’t matter who he is sent to but lets not also just send him on loan to a PL just for the sake of it. For example, you say Pulis wouldn’t leave him on the bench if he could make a difference, well he had Berahino on the bench for the first half of the season simply because of what happened over the summer by all accounts. I think there would be several clubs and managers who would want to work with Toral.

  65. Finnish Hit says:

    Average is one measure in mathematics. We could use variation, mean and others to spice things up. But in general using averages can give you reasonable understanding about many things.

    All I did was make the notion that Chelsea and Man City having money poured in could have pushed them above Arsenal. The two clubs certainly have done enormously bettercompared to all other clubs, be it with Wegner stagnating, going down or up.

  66. Bill says:

    Sending someone to a side that plays futbol sounds nice but it does not help if the player is not ready. If memory is correct we sent Ryo Miyaichi or some other flair player like him to Roberto Martinez who is perhaps the leading proponents of playing futbol in the league and it did not work because the player was was either not ready or not good enough. The critical element in success is the player. IMO

  67. Pete the Thirst says:

    @Santori all seems pretty balanced. There’s an elephant in the room which you mention: Money.

    Wenger has enough money in the bank to run a Banana Republic. We have been hoodwinked by the Stadium narrative, which undoubtedly hamstrung us in the early days. Now he has £200 million plus at hand….and he spent £10 on Petr Cech.

    We have needed a centre forward for 4 season since RVP left. We currently have a centre forward who scored for the first time in 12 matches on Tuesday evening. I can’t believe that amount of money would not get a centre forward better than Olivier Giroud?

  68. C` says:

    Can we all please stop making reference to Klopp not helping Liverpool. He hasn’t even been there long enough to bring in his own players. Lets judge him next season. I mean if we are saying Klopp is a failure already in the PL, then well, nevermind

  69. santori says:

    With regards changing the entire composition of the squad as some of the more simplistic commentators seem to suggest.

    Again the strength of the squads challenging for top prize at the moment have been teams with relatively smaller squads that have thrived on stability in squad selection. Neither Spurs nor Leicester have spent or have made significant changes within their squad to compete this season.

    If we haven’t already notice, it takes time for partnership (and crucially understanding) to form between pairs of players. You cannot throw in Elneny and simply think he will understand everyone’s positioning. He still looks a bit behind pace at times and in the wrong places so he is good enough as a link player because of his energy levels but it will take time for him to understand how to shield as a DM (not to mention get more robust). Against SPurs with Coquelin recklessly getting himself sent off, we shipped two goals in as many minutes with Elneny on pitch. Does that suggest to you he is ready to take on the mantle of Flamini? I think not yet.

    Similarly many made simplistic comments about Gabriel replacing Per. I mentioned Per’s positioning is hard to beat at the moment for the Brasilian. Further more because of his pace, Per acts more as a stopper which allows either Gabriel or Koscielny a stable understanding of positions and to sweep up in front. With two sweepers in Koscielny and Gabriel playing together and a language issue, things become a bit more difficult.

    This season we have had the benefit of our one addition in Cech. Perhaps Wenger was too cautious as we should IMO really have added a player in midfield last summer as well.

    But as mentioned from my piece yesterday, I do not see the need for wholesale reconstruction.

    the players that have come good at the squad have done so because they have had to go through a learning process within the squad which has been frustrating at times but ultimately rewarding.

    YOu can see from additions in Chelsea that simply adding from market is not enough. Even City’s expensive back line has not gelled within sufficient time.

    Meanwhile we have had Coquelin, Bellerin, Campbell develop from within the squad to good effect.

    The areas I mention may be possibilities for the next market are LWing (should Walcott be let go bc he cannot find consistent form), Midfield because Rosicky and Arteta really should have been retired (Flamini has good utility as an experience player for insurance) and at Cback (or Rback) depending on who we can find in market. Again my preference would be for Cback with Chambers continuing to understudy but functioning in his natural position as Rback (Plus bc Per and Koscielny are getting on, Per can start to take a more retiring role as a senior player)

    That’s 2-3 potential additions.

    Which is enough.

    We want to build on our players in hand many of whom are reaching significant age.

    Welbeck, Ox, Jack, Ramsey, Elneny, Coquelin, are all 24-25 and coming into their best years.

    Alexis, Ozil and Walcott at 26-27 are in their peak Ditto Gibbs.

    Per, Monreal, Koscielny, Giroud, Flamini are older. They bring in a bit more maturity.

    There is plenty of up side in the squad with younger players like The Jeff, Zelalem, Akpom, Iwobi also showing hunger.

    I expect we will make one space at very least from Academy available.

    So possibly one spot for a significant purchase from market (possibly Cback) and maybe one should say Walcott continue to flatter to deceive available for a different sort of offensive option.

    That is enough if you want to continue to build from the understanding that has been engendered within this squad and not instead upset it and start from scratch again (and the risk associated with that)

    I think the other issue is moving on some of the more injury prone players and adding players which are slightly less prone to knocks. We can only do it incrementally.

    Wenger had gambled on this issue previously signing a number of players who had injury issues because he weighed their talent over the risk (Remember many sustainedinjury only after they joined us of course). Much of this was because the market for players has become significantly more competitive in his second decade.

    As mentioned, the reluctance to go foreign in England has gone out of the window.

    Where he had advantage of market knowledge in the late 90s on foreign (French players) and indeed paved the way, the market knowledge and access is more flat now thanks in part to him and also because of TV money redistribution.

    There are also significantly more well resourced teams on the top end chasing with PSG, City, CHelsea taking up the slack of the Italian clubs falling off the financial charts (and even they are making a come back to some extent)

    So it should be from this more challenging environment where we should draw better context into the operating issues affecting Wenger.

    But that should not distract from the fact that spending is not the ONLY answer because the two clubs ahead of us have spent insignificant amounts compared to other media favorites early on in the season.

    We need to strike a balance because we need to build on the profits of a stable squad but also take advantage of our better financial resource compared to the two.

    I feel we need significant addition(s) but not in numbers.

    Quality over quantity. There is such a thing as internal improvement as Coquelin, Bellerin and Campbell have demonstrated and proven most people wrong.

    And lest we forget, it was the gaffer who brought those players in.

    If he can take the extra half step maybe in market, that’s all we really need.;)

  70. santori says:

    BY the virtue of Klopp not being there ‘long enough’ to make significant in roads, this is the same risk we carry with a new gaffer. We may stay stagnant in similar position if not worse too.

    It takes time to build.

    Meanwhile considering how impatient fans are for instant success and the title these days, are you ready to wait another two seasons to see significant progress should a new gaffer come in?:D

  71. Bill says:

    Santori

    I can’t prove it but I suspect you would be happier if our results and trophy count did improve. However, If you are happy enough with the top 4 finishes as long as Arsene is still the manager then more power to you. To each his own.

    The only time we will disagree is if you try to make a case for why Arsene has done the right things to help us improve and if you try to make a case for why he is still the best manager to deliver the improved results we both would like and lead us into our increasingly prosperous future.

  72. santori says:

    You are correct to say Wenger has the money to spend but one should not spend just because one has the money.

    Its what you do with it that’s important.

    I don’t think there is a need to spend and make wholesale changes. Again we will have to wiat for the new players to settle in which could affect our next campaign.

    Wenger is currently adding top end products now in Ozil, Alexis and Cech every season. This is the correct thing to do IMO as it leverages on the benefits from the stability of the development of current players (again many who are at a significant age just coming into their best years) but adds the extra quality from market.

    I think he is a bit shy still in not spending on one more player last summer but that is a significant improvement from the years before where we were constantly 2-3 players short of any real quality.

    What Wenger needs to do is be a bit less sentimental with players like Rosicky and Arteta who have been sterling for us but will only continue to experience wear and tear due to their age.

    That would free up one added but very significant spot for another outside purchase last summer that could have given us strength in midfield say (and we would not have to dip in in January for Elneny)

    I would have personally liked to have seen a strong tall player like a KOngdogbia type because I feel the player that has been so frustrating because of injuries and that we miss the most in terms of capability has been Diaby.

    Wenger persisted in the hope that he could turn his injuries around because he knew Diaby could complete the puzzle.

    The sort of strength and height coupled with quick feet is hard to find in market (Albeit there is no lack of pretenders). Diaby would have been the perfect age to at 27-28 to give us the extra we needed for both protection and offensive power through midfield. Alas the whole Arsenal and injury prone players again.

  73. Bill says:

    Santori.

    With regard to your theories on squad building. We have had nearly all of these same players for the last 2-3 years which should have given them plenty of time to adapt to each other yet we have not been able to score enough goals at any time during those 3 seasons. Then this year instead of steadily improving the way you so vehemently claim we will, we have significantly regressed this season. Even if this same group of players rebound next year which is not a given, they were still not a good enough attacking team in the 2 seasons before this one.

    I think your approach to suggesting that we just need to stay the course is somewhat naive and conveniently ignores what has actually been happening on the pitch.

  74. Finnish Hit says:

    Andy, your 4:18 pm is one way of cherry-picking data. You went for 10 years with a likely presumption that after the Invincibles Arsene lost it, and that a Man City average of 10 years is somehow relevant.

    Likewise we could cherry-pick the last 365 days. Arsenal: FA Cup, ManCity: League Cup. Wow, Wenger’s done better.

    After Invincibles, first the Siberian money poured in. And ManCity’s fortunes changed only when Abu Dhabi splashed it for them.

    What I tried to do in my experiment was something resembling “fuzzy logic” (I don’t know if the term is popular anymore): try to find common denominators and major shifts in each club’s recent history, then make educated guesses on how to do the maths. I even took in the often-recited idea that it is Wenger who has lost it and is the only one to blame after 2005, by calculating the averages of his “first and second Arsenal careers”.

    Although I had a point I was curious to prove, I did my best to include only “neutral components”.

    Mind you, the averages of 20 pre-Wenger years DO compare unfairly for the different managers INSIDE that era. Most likely GG will have suffered and caretakers gained. The comparison is reasonable only to match all-time Wenger vs. same-time pre-Wenger.

    Maths done for today, folks…

  75. silvergunner says:

    c @ 3:49 re Pulis 100% agree….

    Bill I dunno Look what Pullis has done with Berahino clearly the best striker in their team yet let’s him wallow on the bench for over half a season to make a point?
    To who’s benefit West broms? The guy is an idiot imo.
    Yes berahino has issues outside football but he is a damn good finisher and should be in that team.

  76. santori says:

    Bill

    NO one is happy with being stagnant but you need to takes some perspective of the operating environment and the risk as mentioned in change too.

    A minimum finish (I stress minimum) of an FA cup and top four is nothing to sniff at.

    We need to be achieving higher.

    But to get there, simply changing the gaffer and the whole upheaval which may result is not the answer at this point IMO proviso Wenger can pull the rabbit out of the bag and again deliver at MINIMUM FA Cup plus top 4.

    I feel people like you need me to be repetitive to get my point across and then complain about it.

    This is a very high MINIMUM finish for any club to achieve over two decades (top 4 and CL) which many clubs would dream of. We have resource to go further true but again this season has proven that spenidng alone is NOT the answer either.

    Wenger is still in and around ball park of a significant finish should he deliver the FA cup and the qualification as a MINIMUM. Anything beyond is gravy.

    Whether he can add the extra topping is another thing that we are all frustrated with but it should not detract us from losing perspective of the achievements he has made. This would indeed be slective and completely myopic.

    The man has built this club up and continues to be competitive…never mind what the simplistic media will say.;)

  77. dfb says:

    So, on the one hand Arsenal have suffered because cash rich clubs buy their way to the top (e.g. Chelsea, Utd and City) and, on other hand, spending doesn’t guarantee success (e.g. Chelsea, Utd and City). Brilliant argument. Heads I win, tails you lose.

  78. philmar says:

    Sounds about right with Ramsay.

    He’ll return before he is fully fit for the EUROs as he can’t miss this opportunity of a lifetime. And of course, he’ll get injured for 6 months. Aaron is the new Rosicky.

  79. santori says:

    Comparisons must also take perspective of where we were pouring finances into in terms of the stadium build and how we have built our branding and financial muscle up entirely on our own.

    Since being free (relatively) of the debt, we have gone into the history books with two back to back FA cup wins and continued to hold at very minimum top four.

    Anything-else is a question of adding quality over quantity to bridge the gap to the top.

    We are a half step away which is why many are frustrated.

    But to mistake this with suddenly needing to reinvent the wheel is foolish to say the least.

  80. Finnish Hit says:

    Fun thing of the day: loved the opening lines of The Fiver just in:

    “And so, finally, it happens. Two multiple champions of England’s top flight come together in a competition that isn’t the English top flight, leading to unprecedented excitement across the nation and indeed beyond. Enough, though, about this weekend’s Championship encounter between Blackeye Rovers and Nasty Leeds.”

    Look how the mighty others have fallen with us etc.

  81. silvergunner says:

    Santori
    I have to say you are one most definitely in the Mr Wenger camp.
    He has been great but needs someone on the board to temper his natural conservative behaviour to the transfer market. Now I’m not saying David Dein but I get the impression he is reactive as oppose to proactive these days often saying things like ‘yes we are in the market, but it is not easy’ which after hearing words or words to that effect year on year tend to grate against me.

  82. C` says:

    @Bill

    Part of Ryo not working was that he got injured and was out. Not saying he would have made it either way but injuries played a massive role in his development.

    I’m not saying that Toral should go strictly to a team that plays futbol but he also doesn’t need to go to a side that plays anti-futbol either.

  83. Bill says:

    Santori.

    I appreciate you actually responding to a specific question.

    The idea of managerial succession is a highly charged and clearly causes a significant division of opinions among Arsenal fans. IMO the recent historical evidence argues for stagnation of our results despite our huge resource base and IMO we need some new ideas and new methods and a way to reinvent the culture to kick start the team. You on the other hand still believe that Arsene will get us moving again. Unfortunately both are subjective opinions and neither point of view can be proven prospectively so we will have to agree to disagree. However, we can continue to debate the subject in a congenial manner. 🙂

  84. Bill says:

    C:

    Injuries were an issue but IMO the biggest reason that Ryo could not play for Martinez was Ryo was missing some critical ingredient that he needed to be successful on a PL team.

    If given a choice I would rather see Toral play for someone like Martinez rather then Pulis.

  85. C` says:

    @Santori

    The difference between bring in a new manager in teh summer and replacing one during the season is massively different. In the summer you would not only get a chance to buy and sell players as you deem necessary (and I’m just as inclined to promote a talented youth) but also gets a full pre-season to pull, tugg and tinker with the team and formations. Replacing a manager midseason doesn’t allow that and more often than not you ar expected to come in and make an immediate difference nad it just doesn’t happen.

    Bringing in a new manager doesn’t mean that we have to stagnate. For instance, LEicester brought in a new man and they are clear top of the PL, Dortmund brought in a new man and they are only 5 points I think off the top of the table. Napoli brought in a new nanager and they until recently were top fo the table but are still clearly in the title fight. Bringing in a new manager doesn’t mean we stagnate if done properly and the right man for the job is brought in. At present though we are stagnating with our current manager so what to do?

  86. Pistolfish says:

    You can’t polish a turd. No matter how hard you try.
    Although it’s amusing watching some try.

  87. Bill says:

    C

    It’s way to early to say that he will eventually be a player we made a big mistake to miss but watching Afobe should give us some hope that despite the struggles of Chuba Akpom there is still a chance for him if we give the time he needs. Afobe struggled in the championship at Bolton but we persisted and sent him back down to try again and starting with MK Dons he has steadily climbed the ladder. The only mistake we made with Afobe that may have cost him some time is to have him spend a year back in our academy reserve squad between loan spells. He had already conquered that level so that was not well thought out.

    Hopefully we will persist with Akpom and perhaps send him to one level below the championship and see if he can work his way up.

  88. Bill says:

    No way to prove it but I believe that there are a lot of managers in the world who could have taken over our squad after last season with $200M in the bank and they would have us on top of the PL table right now.

  89. C` says:

    @Bill

    When Ryo was fit, he played and played quite well, problem was he wasn’t fit very often. I know its neither here nor there but Toral is a player that has shown the grit and grind in the Championship while also showing his ever refining talents.

  90. C` says:

    @Bill

    Tend to agree with most of that except I don’t think Akpom needs to go down a level. Its not as though he has been bad at Hull, part of his issue is the fact that Abel Hernandez for them has scored almost 20 goals so far and Akpom has 7 or 8 I think. With him its about getting more match time as opposed to going down a level. I think getting a consistent run would do him well but moving him down a level would be pointless.

  91. andy1886 says:

    Santori, perhaps your idea of being at the top table in Europe is different from mine. I wouldn’t call mere qualification being at the top table, more like we have been at the table but picking up crumbs rather than feasting with others of comparable income. To be honest I would have rather the ‘lesser’ European trophy than none at all, although Arsene has the opportunity to match GG in that regard but couldn’t.

    I do like however the way you casually skip over the point that using the same qualification requirements in place for previous managers Arsene would not have qualified for the top tier European competition since 2004. Try comparing like for like and suddenly Arsene’s record doesn’t look so good does it?

  92. Bill says:

    http://www.espnfc.us/player/181092/chuba-akpom

    I think this link would argue that Chuba has gotten a lot of chances and tons of match time but just has not been able to score goals. 3 league goals in 28 appearances is not going cut it at any level.

    My thought was that we would want to start him at a level we are confident he can score a bunch of goals and build some positive momentum and striker mojo and then move him up the ladder. However, may be we could give him another go in the championship and if he struggles with a different team we could still send him down a level the following year. That might end up being a waste of a year but he has lots of time.

    Goal scorers are so incredibly hard to find and expensive to buy so if we have someone with any potential we need to keep him longer and give him more chances then we would with a midfielder or defender since those sort of players who provide “other” contributions are always a lot easier to find

  93. Bill says:

    C:

    perhaps the most concerning thing about those stats which is not as obvious at first glance is Chuba only has 16 shots on goal in 28 league appearances. I have not watched him play but the only logical explanation is he must really need to work on his finishing and at least hit be hitting the target a lot more often.

  94. andy1886 says:

    Reus scores against Spurs – sign him up!!!!!!!

  95. andy1886 says:

    Another for Reus – come on Arsene, at least make an effort !

  96. Bill says:

    Andy.

    I have not watched Reus play very much. However everything I have heard about him on this blog is very positive and 9 goals in 17 German league matches is exactly the sort of player we need at our right forward position. IMO

    Goooooooooooo Arsene. Make them an offer they can’t refuse.

    Spurs had their nice run but hopefully this is more evidence that they will be fading back to obscurity where they belong.

  97. andy1886 says:

    Bill, Aubameyang scored the other, two players that we had been linked with but failed to complete a deal. Big misses.

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