Monday, 18 February 2013

And then being different becomes very wrong, Arsène

One thing that is positive if you're an Arsenal fan is to see how opinionated and passionate people talk about Arsenal, Arsenal's shortcomings and problems.
I have watched quite a few shows where Arsenal had a bad result and quite some another famous team gets a bad result. One thing is though very clear pundits analysis could not get further different from very similar situation. While for other teams they seem to want to think to get the particular problem / situation, for Arsenal it's more with emotion, anger and stereotypes that come so fluidly to explain our problems.
We're Arsenal and we're different

What's funny is that many of those so called experts hardly had a special link a love or hate one for Arsenal at their known background that should explain the way they're getting personal with all things Arsenal.
I have spent quite some time trying to understand where such to put it mild hatred came from. Then I realised how different Arsenal has been and more how different Arsène is. When you're different to others, people won't accept it. Arsène a part from being french is really a strange bloke in football management and more so in EPL management. He talks differently, acts differently and does generally things differently to others. When people would go out to cry "I don't have resources to compete with the top tems", Arsène will go out bullish about the teams strength and capabilities to not only compete but win things. When most would buy a defender, Arsène goes to shop a center forward. When people would buy a defensive midfielder, Arsène goes and gets an attacking one. That by doing things differently as he does, he realizes as much or more than normal manager with actions we all expect would do, doesn't matter much. People can hail the likes of Moyes, Coyle, Laudrup and even Rodgers only because they can understand what they're trying to do.
The truth is with what we had to put up to be sustainable Arsène has done a termendous job doesn't matter because people can see what they wouldn't do at his place. And believe me thank God many of them are not in his place. What is clear to me is that if Arsène was another normal manager achieving  the "little" things he did for the Arsenal, he would have been heralded the next coming.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

What's the truth about Arsenal, selling players, Wenger and Gazidis?

Arsenal a big club knuckling down to fight giants but for how long!

In my last post I discussed how cheerful things cannot even be enjoyed when you’re an Arsenal fan. We want to challenge for honors but we first have to challenge for top players to achieve that.

Can we hold on top players?
First we could not buy the world greatest but could hold on them

The truth is though we hardly broke transfer records since Arsene’s taken the reign of the mighty Arsenal. I don’t remember any year when people saw the players we have purchased and backed us to challenge and win things. Yes the Thierry Henrys and the Vieiras have turned out to be among the very best at their positions but Arsène buying them was hardly a world trending buzzing event, was it. One thing though we could do was to buy players more than we were selling which was nice as we weren’t making profits in the transfer market. But the best thing was as soon as these players turned out to be absolute world beaters we were able to hold on to them. Henry spent at least five years at club after every club would have loved to have his services. Before him Vieira spent seven years being among the two to three best players in is position. Likewise for Freddy Ljundberg, Robert Pires, Sol Campbell and of course the best of them all finished his career defending our colors The Mighty Denis Bergkamp.

We still can’t buy the world great and can’t hold of the ones that turn out to be

Now the players we have struggling for top performances are staying put but as soon as they have something resembling at top level quality we can’t retain them. People want to ignore the true reasons and fire at the board, manager, players and even supporters being deluded. If you don’t win titles you won’t hold of your best players and if you don’t hold on to your best players you won’t win titles hmmm. But what we have to ask ourselves are basic questions like:

- What’s the club’s strategy?

- What are our true objectives

- What are our means to get there?

- What are the constraints?

- What is the timescale in which we want to achieve our objectives?

- What are the indicators of good and bad performance?

In the AGM people rightly asked about Ivan Gazidis bonuses.

I think Wenger honestly declined his objectives in :

1. Win the PL (if possible)

2. Win the CL (if possible)

3. Qualify for CL (vital)

4. Win the FA (if possible)

5. Win the league Cup (if possible)

I add what’s in the brackets. I believe the most important objective of the club is to qualify in the champions league which is ok as long as the club admits it to its supporters.

Now let’s talk about transfer and finance to prove and validate the assumption that our main objective right now is CL qualification.

Simply put if we want to win the league we have to have players to match the best squad in the league. Today we cannot.

If you look at our finances we have made a loss in the football department every year since 2006 without player sale as noted on the excellent SWISS RAMBLE BLOG:
Arsenal losses without selling
And in the last financial result we would have made an astonishing 31 plus million pounds loss without player sale. Now I am asking in constrains part can Arsenal afford to make losses year after year with the stadium debt? The answer is a big fat NO. This just says we cannot hold onto our best players for two reasons:

a- We will make a loss not selling them

b- We will make a bigger loss by paying them even more.

So I agree we cannot have the top players at club playing at the top of their game altogether to win us PL and CL titles those that matter. So I conclude the true vital objective assigned to Arsene is to qualify for CL. That’s his trophy.
Honestly 4th is his trophy
If our strategy is to be among the greatest clubs if not to be the greatest club result wise the objectives of the board should be to get us the muscles to be able first to hold on the rare top players that come out and later to be able to buy the very best players in the world. Nothing more nothing less.

So how is Ivan’s team going? It depends on the timescale they are supposed to be working under. But I believe they have to be underachieving and unless they are able to let Arsenal have the same wage bill as the other top teams and to buy other top quality without making us have a negative profit, Wenger is doing very well.

If they are waiting for our commercial deals to expire in other to get new deals that will enable the club to challenge then they are not needed and even Piers Morgan could be right call Gazidis IvanTheTerrible.

When Piers right about #IvanTheTerrible

If they are backing FFP to put clubs to reduce the amount of money they are paying to get top players then they are not needed.

And that’s where we need the shareholders. They should be giving objectives more ambitious than the ones they are having enabling Ivan to get millions of bonuses without the club’s state unchanged.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Ups can hurt more than downs if you're Arsenal

Ups and downs are part and parcels of any cycle. True we have been experiencing quite some downs for the last six to seven years. The most difficult thing about those downs are really the ups. I know I know but let me explain.

Down down ... Up and away!

Take last season 2011-2012. We started so badly lost to 2-0 to Pool at home got a spanking at Manchester and conceeded 4 goals to Blackburn. We were trailing Spurs by over 10 points at sometimes. We were suposedly dead and burried. All downs. Then we got our acts together fought hard and got ourselves into a great position beating the Chavs 5-3 at their home and beating the Spurds 5-2 and leapfrogging them nicely to get ourselves the third place. Arsène's right it was a truly termendous achievement! But what you don't want is to have to turn things around every single season! You want to build from your ups to make sure you are a lot better than previously and spare everybody the stress of more downs. And that's where this Arsenal are coming short!
It was good finishing third under the circumstances but we ought to have kept the best things that helped us get to that position and reinforce accordingly to show we mean business. I still don't think we did all we could have to keep Robin as vilain as he is. The worst case being we needn't have to sell him at all. But even if you accept to sell for the amount of money we got from him we should have got a player better or on par with his abilities I know you don't meet those at every street corner. Don't get me wrong we could have kept Robin add Cazorla and other top players and still just finish third or lower as the competition is getting greater and greater but we would feel a lot more ease towards the actual board and management team as far as efforts to get us to the very top of European and world football is concerned.
You just don't want to be in the same circumstances year after year! Personaly I have nothing but love and trust to the manager. But unlike those that think he doesn't want to spend I believe he just can't spend. They say we have 70 millions pounds to pend but the reality is without the profits we've been making through player sales we are making losses every year which is clear to me that he just can't spend. Even accepting we have 70 millions pounds to spend does that include new contracts for currents players?
So reality is money available to the manager is very very limitee. What is less tolerable though is thennumber of players deemed not good enough that are so much on good wages that we cannot move them away. Our fringe players are having a treatment that's just not available anywhere else and that needs to change.
We have had some worrying results in the last couple of weeks.
If Chelsea at home felt freekish and undeservely the defeats to Norwich and Chalke were really bad. No penetration, no fire and not much chances are things you just don't relate Arsenal to. We are developing this knack of playing anywhere but through the middle. I don't know if it's to give more chances to Giroud through crossing but it's not working. 

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Per and Jenkinson are stars! Arshavin and Chamakh to deliver

When I asked how long pundits can ignore us? I didn't quite think after two weeks they will jump on "Arsenal are contenders bandwagon". Prognostics had us behind both Liverpool and Spurs. Now they think we can mix it with the Manchester clubs alongside Chelsea. It's very early days and I genuinely believe Liverpool and Tottenham are both showing some quality in their game and it's not impossible we could finish behind them. Just kidding.

After dominating the champions in their own turf and coming from behind to take a point off them, people have us passed a test we needed to. It's never a matter of a game in September against title favorites and defending champions at their home that will decide your season. Nevertheless we did play well perhaps too well for the result. It still does not mean we are all in all in for the big thing. We have a fine record against Mancini's City. I remember us beating them 3-0 two years ago. Last year we beat them at home after losing away a game we should not have. So it really was bound to be a good game for Arsenal. So to me it was never the biggest of challenges for us. But if it can add a bit of confidence to the side I am happy.

What the game did show was that we have a hell of a defender in Per Mertesacker. One local German football lover and follower told me of his qualities last year but I just was not impressed as what I did see I deemed was never going to be good enough for the premier league. How was I wrong? Against City he was absolutely fantastic. Played brilliantly. When I told my "German expert" he recommended me to watch Argentina vs Germany in the 2010 world cup and after watching that game now I can tell the BFG sure knows how to defend. He lacks pace sure and he isn't that strong despite his big frame. But he compensates with good reading of the game and great positional sense. Add to that he is always so calm and that's so important for a defender. I still think some of his weaknesses can and will be exploited in some games but every gooner will be able to tolerate it if and when it happens. Well Done You BFG.

Another player that caught the eye was Carl Jenkinson. One year ago he never looked like someone who could become a professional footballer. Sad face and bad haircut were probably the most positives traits you could tell about the Jenks. I think we all wanted him to succeed as he is a gooner just like all of us but we believed he would never be capable of playing his trade in this league. What a difference a year makes? Remember Sagna has been the best right back in the league in the lasts 4 to 5 years but I can tell you he won't walk back to the side. He will have to fight very hard to get back to the team and that's the biggest compliment you can give to Little Carl! Well done mate.

Nice one Carlito

Two players I don't have to mention are Arteta and Cazorla. There's just nothing to say about our two Spaniards. They are the THING! So I will leave there.

Tomorrow is Capital one day. Time to see some of the fringe players and some of the better youngsters given chance to shine against Coventry. I am very interested to see Chamakh and Arshavin involved. Two players I believe who must have roles to play if we are to be contenders for the big prizes.

Come on you gunners!

Thursday, 20 September 2012

You say debt? Jack's back! Blogs putting media to shame!

The great news of the day is the return of Jack Wilshere to full training. The young lad burst into the scene in 2010/2011 crowned with superb displays against the world best midfield if not best ever one in Barcelona’s in form Xavi-Busquets-Iniesta. Another midfielder return albeit with lower profile in Emmanuel Frimpong is also registered along Moroccan striker Marouane Chamakh. Also Rosicky and Sagna are believed not to be too far away. Exciting times ahead!

The first eleven is shaping up quite nicely to be honest. I still think Koscielny will regain his place along Vermaelen and despite one high profile error Schzesny will still get his number one spot. For the defense the other position not play is Sagna as a right back. The center of the park is right now the strongest part of the team right now with Cazorla-Arteta-Diaby arguably the best in the PL. But Wilshere and Rosicky won’t let them enjoy starting spots. In the attack only Podolski have made the left attacker position his own. Gervinho is doing himself a world of good and may claim a regular birth in the middle or on the right. But the striking options are where Arsene have a bigger flexibility as places are very well up for grabs.

Now onto the punditry world!

After beating Southampton 6-1, no wonder people have started to reconsider Arsenal's season predilection as they always do. We are supposedly doomed every season according to football pundits in all the media sphere. Honestly most fans don’t care about what they say as no one believes they know our club as much as we do.

One thing that quite bothers me is the way the media and the football world think of supporters as being fickle, over sensitive not very smart drunk folks blinded by their passion and their club tainted glasses. Truth be told, we may be fickle, we may look at football matters through our Arsenal tainted glasses and we definitely are blinded by our passion but most of us are very knowledgeable smarter than your average football pundit and we have been following football for most of our lives. That’s why we know how clubs operate financially and tactically. That’s why we know how the media works with sensationalism, lies and favoritism. It is funny how new technologies have changed the habits of all football fans. We get opinions from fellow supporters through blogs and social media.

The quality of some of blogs put the big classic media to shame. Take SWISS RAMBLE it has made all fans financial experts. The way that guy goes through club dealings and all things finance is insane. It’s been a drug for someone like me to go through some specific blogs every morning arseblog, a cultured left foot, the grove, goonerholic to name but a few. If you look at some initiatives done by some of them like untold arsenal on referees, arsenalreport on transfers you wonder where the future lays as far as football cover is concerned.

Time to time you see good pundits and as much as it pains me and probably any gunner to say Gary Neville is a wonderful pundit that I enjoy to listen and read more than any football expert. I hope people will take some leaves out of his book.

Friday, 7 September 2012

How long will they ignore Arsenal?

The international break is really the party pooper uncle we all have in our family. And again as always it has taken the fun out of the staggering Barclays PremierLeague season start.

Three games into a season is too little for conclusions to be drawn. But as far as media, fans and bookmakers are concerned, trends, possibilities and winners are being chosen all over.

For Arsenal it is three solid games without conceding and with most probably the future best player of the league in Cazorla.

For the rest of the world it's like the fat chick of the block who suddenly after some intense regime is turning out to be the sexiest girl around and everyone's scared to make the first move towards her as we have all mistreated her or said some hurtful things to her in the past. In the media, it certainly seems so.

They all see the lovely traits and charmful walking and stuff but they are refraining themselves as much as possible from pouring in compliments and in debt analysis. Instead they are still on a certain Dutchman and they are failing to indicate how much a not so settled defensively  team he has joined or how much his new team's midfield is no match of Arsenal's. Chelsea and Manchester City are not showing any more solid defensive displays either.

And the quality on display from Arsenal especially in their last game against Liverpool has set the bar as far as the new season is concerned.

And the individual displays of Arteta, Cazorla and lately Diaby are on par with the best we have seen in the premierleague.

And as if none the above is relevant we have entered the season without 60% of the first choice defensive players as Schzesny, Koscielny and Sagna are for different reason in and/or out. You add to that the fact we are on our way to welcome back Jack Wilshere whose display blew away the Barcelona's midfield, the best midfield in the modern game and the rejuvenated Rosicky.

As things stand they are lurking around the new look sexy ex-fat girl but how long can the football world ignore the quality and seriousness of this new Arsenal team!

Monday, 3 September 2012

Just Abou-t perfection and Liverpool were beaten 2 nil

A win at Anfield is a big task for anybody and I think Manchester City who played just a week ago won't let me lie. Liverpool line-up looked very strong I thought. Having watched Joe Allen for Swansea and Great Britain, I did know how a good midfieldet he is. Nuri Sahin the ex-bundesliga MVP that we tried to sign from Real was part of the midfield trio along with the ever eternal Stevie G. At the back Enrique, Agger and Skertel are maybe as good as you can get in the PL. Add an England international at RB and you see nothing shabby in such defense. Say what you want about Suarez, he is a world class player. Sterling is a great prospect who will undoubtly be an enormous player. Borini was the only player from the Liverpool team I had no idea of the type of quality he may or may not have.

The unknow quantity

Arsène surprised some people with his team selection. Dropping both Theo and Gervinho was unexpected. It meant Oxlade-Chamberlain started as a right striker or winger if you prefer. Diaby, Arteta abd Cazorla kept their places in the middle of the park. At the back the boss had a decision to make with Koscielny 's availability. He finally opted for continuity as the Big German kept his place along Captain TV.  So the defense that kept two clean sheets previously remained unchanged. Schezny still out means Mannone kept his in between the posts.

The game started as you would expect with Liverpool starting the early pressure. But our new look defense and offensive defensive midfieldet as I love to call Arteta were just too good to be troubled. Some nervy moments from Mertesacker and Jenkinson a part with some woeful passes, we were rock solid and started growing into the game. The hour mark it was all us and the first goal our first of the season came when captain TV intercepted Gerrard's through ball and the clearance fell to Poldi who fed Santi. The little genius put the accelerator on, the Liverpool defense dropped, Giroud made a good movement making Skertel and Agger have second thoughts while Poldi never stopped running and when, Santi found him with the neet little pass, only one outcome was possible and the was a goal celebration for the mighty gunners. Liverpool tried to respond with their teenage sensation hitting the woodwork. We still remainded fairly untroubled at the back for the reminder of the half.
Giroud had his chance to get off his goal tally but could not hit the target. But Cazorla's goal around the seventyeth minute mark meant we stayed calm and won confortably at Anfield against Liverpool.

The individual performances were what they needed to be to win a big game. Cazorla was really good. Podolski was very good. But to me the two most outstanding players were Arteta and Abu Diaby. They made the last couple years Arsenal midfielders look amateur. I tell you that how good they were.
Let's talk Abou-t Diaby
Abou Diaby had a perfect midfield display, beaking plays, spraying passes, driving forward past opponents and creating perfect goalscoring chances for attackers. Just Abou-t Perferction!