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With Wenger we get trophies and records – while Liverpool & Newcastle slip down, down and further down

The general view among the more thoughtful fans of Arsenal (well, my mate Ian and the two guys I met down the pub) is that the Lord Wenger really has had a masterplan and has not deviated from it. And it is now being revealed in all its glory.

And in common with earlier Wengerian teams winning stuff is preceded by breaking records. Being the first team to score 10 in the two opening games of an EPL season is not as huge a record as “49”, but it signifies where we are.

Of course if that were all there was this would be a very short blog, but no, there is more.

There are two other little indicators that there is something wonderful happening at the club. First, the Lord Wenger, has said some utterly amazing things about Diaby, comparing him to Vieira for example. Given that this is not his normal style, it is certainly something to note with interest.

And then the reserves. We’ve all noted that the first team squad has drawn only in a limited way on the reserves this season – Merida and Wilshere most obviously. The implication of that is that there is a wealth of talent lurking below, maturing all the time, and being kept in the background as the next bunch of stars ready to burst through.

Hoyte-the-younger is still there, along with Francis Coquelin, Sanchez Watt, Nacer Barazite, and Gilles Sunu: they were all playing last night beating Fulham 3-0, and once again Barazite, Sun and Coquelin looked terrific. To my untutored eye they are ready to step up. I could go on naming them for ever: Jay Simpson and Rhys Murphy, JET (now on loan) – and we also saw a old boy: Kerrea Gilbert, who must by now have a full house of loan cards and be classified as an old boy rather than one of the under-5s.

Anyway, watching the kiddies and then hearing of the Liverpoolian shambles, it brought home the difference. Arsenal’s tough times have always been tempered by a knowledge (for anyone who didn’t have eyes wide shut) that

a) we had not spent all our money already and so could buy Arshavin
b) we didn’t have bank going beserk at us
c) we had a constant stream of youngsters coming up into the team

Liverpool don’t have these luxuries, and so their crisis is an infinitely deeper crisis than that imagined by the Doomsayers at Arsenal in the last two seasons.

Rafael Benítez’ simple response to a start worse than ours last year (when we won 2 and lost 1) was to say Gerrard, Mascherano and Torres had to sort themselves out. Yes, well, even my cat who sadly died two years ago could have seen that.

Assuming the Insolvents don’t sort it out this season it will be the 20th anniversary since Liverpool won the league. I think celebrations are called for to mark the occasion.

All of which drags me to the world of the Zebras. It seems that our old mates the bankers (my new t-shirts “Tough on banks, tough on the causes of banks” will be on sale soon) are causing problems for the north-east’s most insane team.

Newcastle Untidy have been told by Barclays that it must cut its overdraft now – and at the moment the men stuffing themselves with billion pound bonuses don’t look like budging on this.

Newcastle are said to owe Barclays £20 million on the overdraft but, and this is the big news, the facility comes to an end on Monday. Not next Monday week, not December 1st, but just a few days time. On Tuesday next (one week from today, just to be clear about it) the overdraft facility reduces to £10m. If the Zebras don’t cut back then the interest rate on the money owed goes up to a banker’s heaven of 20% or so. You can see them with their snouts in the trough already.

Newcastle face a Leedsian scenario of players on insane salaries who won’t willingly move for less money. Leeds tried (and failed) to get out of this mess by selling players and then continuing to pay part of their salary for years to come. This was a major factor in sending them into the Batesian nightmare and bankruptcy.

So what was the response of Newcastle to this fiasco? They seriously thought of offering the management job to David O’Leary, whom we all adored as a player, but had extreme doubts about his sanity thereafter. Makes you think.

(c) Tony Attwood 2009

26 comments to With Wenger we get trophies and records – while Liverpool & Newcastle slip down, down and further down

  • aliu abiodun

    What a piece from an expert. Good to know afterall that we not a “sick” club. I pity Liverpool because benitez is killing them fast.very fast indeed.

  • Gf60

    Haven’t felt sorry for Liverpool (let alone the bar codes) for many years. But last night seeing them starting Lucas and then replacing him with Veronin did ask for a hint of sympathy. Which is found in the dictionary…between ‘sycophant’ and ‘syphilis’

  • steww

    You are a constant source of reassurance in a mad world. The idiot cries for more players, more signings and spend more money which we read all over the place seem unable to grasp what that means for most clubs who try it. OK it worked for a couple of years at Chelsea but that’s it.
    Like you Tony, my snout started sniffing the air with a sudden keen interest when the first record was broken last season. I too recall how the Wenger team which went on to be invincible seemed to break a new record every other week and bam we start this season with, admittedly a minor record, but a record nonetheless. Biggest ever away win on an opening day then first to score ten in the first two.
    I stress to the misery doom mongering blind anti-support out there that the records alone are not what I’m talking about, they are relatively insignificant at face value, it’s the feel that we are once again setting and breaking records. That’s how it felt a few years back and look at the dizzy heights we scaled then.

  • Gf60

    That is so funny, I wish I’d thought of that.

    But, of course, if I leave it a few weeks, I can claim that I did.

    Brilliant – you made my day.

    Tony

  • Syke gooner

    I really feel 4liverpool.i think they’ve had enough 4rm rafa.he keeps on splashin d cash but 2no avail.its not because he’s unlucky.its cos he aint good.wen u compare his style 2wenger’s it only becomes more obvious.he doesn’t really care for the clubs future dats why he spends a lot and has got a crap youth system dat cant help him curb his spendin.
    About d young lads in reserves.yes they ar talents but they shouldn’t be rushed.it’ll only be disastrous for arsenal in the long run.

  • Surinder

    I guess this just confirms what so many have been saying, but no LFC fans would believe. They’ve been talking about being favourites for the title, because they got close last year. The fact of the matter is, LFC do not have a squad capable of challenging for the title, add to that a manager that tends to be chizofrenic. There are some good players at LFC in the 1st team, but when you look at the bench what do you see?? If everybody were fit this are the LFC benchplayers: Dossena, Degen, Kyrgiakos, Skrtel, Riera, Plessis, El Zhar, Lucas, Babel, Voronin and Ngog. Let’s be honest, it simply cannot be denied this is a very weak bench compared to the other top 4 and City’s bench. So when the 1st team is not performing (which can happen to any team), the subs that are called upon simply are not up to the task! They lack in quality and quantity! LFC’s squad is small compared to Utd and Chelsea’s. Some will argue Utd’s bench isn’t exactly world class, but when you look at the different kind of players at our disposal, we can adapt ourself easily. We can chose to put on a more defensive full back, or a more attack minded full back, we can put on left or right wingers, we can put on strikers who can play behind the front man or out and out strikers. We have everything at our disposal to adapt ourself to a specific kind of problem in a game. This is also why Utd more than often manage to win a game in the end, because we adapt! LFC fans, I guarantee you’ll again be disappointed at the end of the season, unless a cup win satisfies you. I hope some of you will finally wake up. This will not be your year, again.

  • Damn_Gallas

    surinder umm in case you have not realised we are arsenal supporters on here 😉

    Liverpool’s finances amaze me – thank you for the excellent article yesterday

  • LRV

    I was truly sorry for Liverpool yesterday night. I have Four VERY CLOSE friends who are Liverpool fans. They kept shouting preseason how they were going to win everything this season. I told them I couldn’t see them winning a glass cup. Now one of them is not talking to me since their match yesterday.

    Arsenal fans should learn from this. For 19 YEARS, the league has eluded Liverpool. If I am correct, they last won it in the 1987/88 season and we took it from them in 1988/89 season. That should make it 0 title in the last 20 YEARS. To make matters worse, they are almost insolvent.

    Arsenal fans should really truly appreciate their club and how it is run. We are now at the final ‘P’ of the ‘PPP’ principle. At the first ‘P’ stage, we were faced with PROBLEMs. Thankfully, we found Arsene Wenger. He immediately moved us to the second ‘P’ at which stage we started gradual rebuilding and needed ‘PERSEVERANCE’. Now gladly, we are at the ‘PROGRESS’ phase. Long may it continue.

  • on the nth(n>20) anniversary of Liverpool not winning the League, Stevie me expressing his thoughts : http://img249.imageshack.us/i/s3ty0mrcgjpg84pmbc3q.jpg/.

  • We are coming up to some great and tragic anniversaries…

    On the tragic front this season is the 20th anniversary of the Heysel Stadium disaster, and I trust that just as last season we sympathised with all those who lost loved ones at Hillsborough 20 years before, so this year Liverpool supporters will express their dismay at what their fellows did at Heysel.

    On a more light hearted note it will indeed be 20 years since Liverpool won the league. (How come the press get so worked up that we haven’t won something for four years, when Liverpool’s 20 year failure is ignored?)

    Actually moving forwards NEXT year will be the one to celebrate 50 years since Tottenham won the league. That will be one to enjoy.

    For Arsenal 2010 marks 100 years since Henry Norris took over the club – which led directly to the move to Highbury, and the creation of the modern club – it was Norris who brought in Chapman.

    This season also marks 80 years since our first major trophy – the FA Cup in 1930 and 40 years since our first European trophy.

    I’ve been talking to Arsenal Independent Supporters Assn about starting “Arsenal History” within AISA and they are consulting the membership about this. Also, if I may add this yet again, in October “Making the Arsenal” comes out – that’s my book which tells the story of 1910.

  • Surinder

    its a good thing Fergie and Anderson have fallen out, coz he generally plays well against us. with them playing 4-4-1-1 now, we have the chance to over run the midfield. i am praying that Cesc can make it. i honestly think that we can win at OT. and at the council ground against City! our TRIO of Cesc, Shava and RvP are un-rivalled in the Prem…Liverpool have Torres and Gerrard…Man Utd have Rooney and…… Chelsea have Drogba and Lampard…and Essien. but the thing is, everyone seems to harp on about depth..Chelsea without those 3 end up playing with Sheva and Malouda and Deco. not good enough! Liverpool play Babel and N’Gog…fearsome! and Man Utd have no replacement for Rooney at all. it would be Berba and Owen up front. with Nani and Valencia out wide, not scary at all! thats like a Spurs team! but we can play Nasri, Walcott and one of Vela/Bendtner/Wilshere. now tell me, who has more depth? who has more attacking talent? who is gonna win it all!? Barsenal!!! the best thing out of The Sun EVER!

  • t00farg0ne

    It seems so bizarre that when you look at Rafa’s policy of 2 seasons ago (and before) where he changed the starting XI every game that he now finds himself in such a position of having about 16 players in his squad that he will willingly call upon. He bought in so many young players but never gives them a chance. They can’t all have been that awful. Remember how good Babel looked before signing for Liverpool? I have a feeling if he’d come over to the Ems he’d be playing first team football now.

    I think it was the summer before last when Liverpool signed around 8 players. One was Torres, one Babel and one Voronin. I think the rest were all future prospects, where are they?

  • pig

    And ye think that ye have problems, my missus is a liverpool supporter.

    last night was very depressing for her, but liverpool never looked like winning, except for the few minutes after they scored until villa popped in their third.

    neither team looked confident in mid-field, the passing wasnt fluid. liverpool seemed to rush forward in breaks down the middle until villa got wind of it, and there their tactics seemed to end.

    the liverpool goal was a moment of class only countered by the scramble in the first half where gerrard and torres missed twice each in the space of 5 seconds or less.

    ok, manu put 5 past wigan, but burnley beat them and they only just scraped past birmingham 1-0.

    chelsea have only had hull sunderland and fulham. they woin all three, but were lucky at hull.

    city have played blackburn and wolves, and won both comfortably, the spuds have also started well with three comfortable wins also.

    from this very limited snapshot of the premier league, the ‘big four’ this season may be quite different this year.

    as much as i hate to say it, the spuds and city are looking good, and may join us and one other at the top of the league.

    although these are pure semantics, when we win the league in 9/10 months time, were not going to care who came 2nd, 3rd or 4th.

  • LRV

    t00farg0ne: Many of those players that you talk about have been subjected to ‘Career Euthanasia’ by Benitez.

  • Marc

    I am certain that all the readers of this blog either heard or have had repeated to them Phil Thompson’s recent claim that there is now actually a top 3, not top4 and Arsenal are the club to have dropped out. Now it is going to be highly entertaining watching him squirm on Soccer Saturday but the bigger thing is this, I have a feeling building that Thompson has done a “Hansen” and where Hansen predicted that ManU would win nothing with kids Thompson has predicted that Arsenal are not only outside of the big 3 but would finish 5th.

    Does this mean Arsenal will win the league or that it will be Liverpool who miss out on CL football? I don’t know but both would be nice.

    I could of course have completely misunderstood him, he could of meant the big 3 overdrafts but somehow I don’t think so.

  • Marc

    Apparently Anderson has been told he can leave ManU after faling out over missing the Charity Shield game. Who is going to pay anynthing like the £15 – £18 million that ManU paid for him? ManU cannot afford to “do a Benitez” with players and sell them at a huge loss.

  • Marc

    “The Big 3… overdrafts”

    Brilliant. Poor Liverpool. They don’t qualify for the big 4 in terms of league victories, they don’t even qualify for the big 3 in terms of debt.

    What a sad decline.

  • steww

    I was also struck last night over how silent Anfield was. For all their reputation as having the noisiest most passionate support I could clearly hear Friedel organising his defenders, while liverpool were attacking. So out of that top spot too.

  • 26may1989

    Benitez is certainly a weak manager. What would Wenger, Ferguson, Mourinho, Hiddink, Moyes or O’Neill have said after a defeat like the one Liverpool suffered last night? Each would have used a different ploy, but each one would have made sure the players would have felt he was still there for them, whether by focusing on the silver linings, deflecting, slagging off the referee, whatever.

    But how did Rafa react? “It is up to the team to improve, not just some names, but it is also up to the senior players to take the responsibility and take us forward.” I.e., don’t blame me guv, it’s the players’ fault.

    With Liverpool lacking the excuse of a capital investment equivalent to Arsenal’s, the guy’s had buckets of cash (his net spend in the last three years is second only to Man City’s), has chopped and changed his signings and his line-ups, and yet only has a core of four undeniably excellent players surrounded by a squad thin on quality.

    Just how much patience can Liverpool fans have?

  • Muppet

    I think dismissing Liverpool is very dangerous. Yes, we can all have a jolly good laugh about their defeat to Villa, and the hilarity of Phil Thompson’s comment about the top 3. But I don’t think we can question Benitez now. For to do that, would be the same as questioning Wenger when the chips are down, which is what enough people have done in recent times. Sure, let’s hope that we finish as high as we can, preferably 1st.

  • Marc

    Thanks Tony!

    26may1989 – All of the top managers will take a bullet for their players or at least deflect criticism. Benitez is at best a cheques book manager, at worst he demonstrates serious mental deficiencies. As for “has a core of four undeniably excellent players” Torres – yes, Gerrard – OK, who else?

  • walter

    I also got a feeling that there are some amazing things to come our way in the next seasons. Some things we never could or would have dreamed of.
    Some things that are unthinkable until now. If this team can stay together for some years they will be maybe the best team the world has ever seen.
    We’re coming closer to succes. Have faith.

  • Marc

    Muppet – Come on. Benitez couldn’t find a bargin in a pound store.

  • walter

    And on the anniversary of the Heysel-drama it is a thing which still hangs around in Belgium.
    Off course the Belgium authorities are to blame for there lack of anticipation and on the terrible way they sold tickets. The lack of the police who didn’t spot the trouble coming and stayed outside the stadium to long. So we shouldn’t blame the Liverpool fans alone.
    Off course they didn’t have to make a charge to that part of the stadium which supposed to be filled with neutral fans, this was very stupid to say the least.
    A few days back I saw a documentary on the Belgium TV about the drama and it was sickning to see those people getting crushed to death.
    Pictures that can not be forgotten.

    And the link with the Arsenal ? Well some years before that we went to the same stadium, lost the final 🙁 , but we didn’t disgrace our club and our colours. This is something we can and should be proud of.
    Being a football fan is not only about winning but more something about losing with dignity. And even in defeat to keep your coulours high and be proud of them. Not always easy but something we should try to do.

  • Muppet

    Marc – Well. Yes. We can all have a jolly good laugh about £18 million for Glen Johnson as well.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    LRV- Liverpool last won in 1990.Arsenal won it the following year -losing only three games that season[if memory serves me right].Arsenal lost their only 1st division game in Feb[to chelsea I think],lost in the FA cup semi-final to Spurs and once in the League cup.They only conceded 17 goals in the league.It was in this season that the chants of” 1-0 to the Arsenal ” began.Arsenal would score early and then parked the bus in front of their goal.Tony Adam’s raised hand would soon be followed by the refs offside whistle.This proggesively got worse culminating in the boring and painful to watch League cup/FA cup double win 2 years later against Sheff.Wed.AW has got it right in many fronts.Enjoy this time in the sun.