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Inside the mind of H Redknapp. London in the EPL next season (continued)

London in the EPL, part 2
By Tony Attwood
.
As Mr Redknapp prepares for his day (or perhaps week), in court, defending himself against charges related to fraud and corruption during his previous managerial life, he has taken on a new life, doubling as the man asking the Tiny Totts chairman Daniel Levy to finance three players he feels he needs to get back in the top four.

What is interesting here is that while most of the quotes relating to Mr Wenger and Arsenal players appear in one source without being clearly attributable, often relating to a tiny fragment of a sentence that Mr Wenger might have said, rather than the whole paragraph, with Tottenham we have the innocent until proven guilty Mr R saying on Sky Sports News “I want Daniel to go out and get three fantastic players now to come in.”  It sounds a bit like apportioning blame before the knife goes in.

He continues…

“You can’t say that just because we didn’t make the Champions League, we’re not going to improve next year. If you do that then we’re not going to get in it again. That’s a fact, because you won’t pass the teams that finished above you last year.  If we don’t improve then they will improve. Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal – they will improve, and Man City… they’re unbelievable. They are never going to stop improving as will Kenny [Dalglish] with Liverpool now.   You have to keep improving if you want to keep anywhere near those teams. I certainly feel we need three players of real quality if we are going to compete with those teams otherwise it will be very difficult.”

And you can see his point – and it is one he has been developing for some time.   His theme is always the same, City, United, Chelsea and with a grudging twitch, us, plus Liverpool lurking.  What now for the Tinies? he keeps asking.

But they are £30m down on income before they start.  And yet, hang on…  Haven’t the Tinies been making as much or more money than we have each season?  I have never quite worked out how, but that is how it seems.
Now compare and contrast the chairman/owner/manager relationship at the Tinies with that at Arsenal.  You have Daniel Levy/Jo Lewis in the Bahamas/The Redknapp (innocent until proven otherwise).   Not exactly working as a team I’d say.
We have Mr Hill-Wood/Mr Kronke/Mr Wenger.   OK Mr H-W has his critics, but he is in fact a figurehead – there to represent the long tradition of his family running the club.  Mr Kronke is as foreign as Jo Lewis but he’s around a hell of a lot more, and we can see what he has done with his other clubs.  And we have Mr W (although I have long wondered when it will be that the anti-Arsenal Arsenal groupings suggest that we would have won the league under Mr Innocent-until-proven, as opposed to Mr Wenger.

So what has Daniel Levy said?  In fact he has spoken not of the need for more players, but of the need to streamline the squad.  So while Mr Hill-Wood always says, the money is there for Mr Wenger, at Tottenham there is a total conflict.

And since the Tinies got rid of their reserve team about five years ago in order to save dosh, streamlining  can only mean two things.  One is to pull out of the youth leagues, and the other is to cut the first team squad.

And here’s another thing.  While we spent much of last summer looking at the impact of the 25 rule, this season it hardly gets mentioned.  But for the Tinies it is an issue.

Three Tinies are no longer outside the 25, having become 21 years old during the season, and so adding to the numbers are Sandro, Bale and dos Santos.   More pressure.

Then there were the big time big money men out on loan: Keane, Naughton, O’Hara and (oh yes he is still there) David Bentley.  All back and in the 25.

WHU, as we know, and as mentioned in the last article in this little series, can’t afford to keep Keene.  Giovani has been at Racing Santander and the word on the rather dirty streets around the mucky end of WHL is that Arry don’t like him.  O’Hara has a long-standing back injury and may or may not survive.

Ledley King is another problem.  £75,000 a week for a very modest number of matches in a season – a dozen if you are lucky, half a dozen if not.  Quite expensive really.

Woodgate and Cudicini are out of contract this season I think, so I guess they go just to cut the wages bill.

Then there is Pavlyuchenko, Hutton, Kranjcar, Corluka, Palacios – all big money men with big salaries – which makes them harder and harder to sell.

So what is the poor club to do?  Sell Bale for £30m to Real Mad?  Or maybe move on Luka Modric who has five years to go on his contract?

This whole muddle has come as a bit of a shock to the club I think, and the quotes from Arry suggest that he is as much in denial about the Tinies lack of finance as he is about his forthcoming court case (and there he is innocent of course until anyone decides otherwise).

Last season we were endlessly told that the Tinies were bidding £30m or more for Rossi.  The AAA moaned that soon the Tinies would overtake us and would take our place in the Champs League because we refused to spend.  But in fact it almost looks as if they are in Leeds-world (you will remember the Champs League semi in 2001 followed by a quick tumble into their spiritual home of the third division).

So what of Diego Forlán – wasn’t he trotting the Tiny way – or so we were told.  Except he is paid over £6m a year.  So perhaps not.

“I don’t know if we have any money to spend,” said Redknapp a while back.  s. “We might not. I have not asked the chairman. We will have to wait and see. But if there isn’t, we will get on with it again and be strong again next year.”

The big problem of course is their endless delay over the stadium.  While we went on and just did it, they got planning permission for the WHL project (complete with hotels – who ever would want to stay in a hotel at WHL?). Then having muddled that through they decided they wanted the Olympic stadium instead.  But they didn’t get it – so now they are fighting another expensive legal battle.  This could run for years and years, and all the while they have a ground smaller than Highbury.

Of course the press do not see it as a disaster.   They consider Redknapp’s one season in the Champs as “remarkable” given the size of the ground – forgetting that we have been there year after year in Mr Wenger’s time.

But now certainly times have changed and the challenge for the Tinies is simply to keep going financially.  If the rich overseas owner pulls out (and we should never forget, the Tinies are just like QPR and Chelsea in this regard – financed by a rich owner) they are in an awful mess.

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45 comments to Inside the mind of H Redknapp. London in the EPL next season (continued)

  • cris

    Who is financing the move to the new stadium? And how are they going to get monies to blimmin build the stadium?

  • eac

    Reference Mr Redknapp…he appeared on the Alan Sugar programme about the unsustainable football future ..he said to camera that he had no involvement in negotiating for players or their wages infact “he had no idea what any of his players earnt”Surely this is the reason why he has left in his wake a chronicle of overspending and financial ruin at the Clubs he has managed …know what I mean Arry!

  • Maverick

    You bring up some very good and startling points there. It is so easy to forget the balancing act for the 25 squad and teams in general have to sell before they buy. Which makes me think just how stupid the likes of Mancity are buying up every footballer out there only to realise they will have to cull from their squad, who is gonna buy players that are on extortionate wages, they wont be happy not playing, same goes with tottenham by the sounds of it………noone will buy those players so they have real problems.

  • cris

    To be honest I’m more worried about our situ then the spuds to be honest

  • Stevie E

    @cris – don’t worry about our situation fella, we’re tiptop because of foresight and the ability to plan for the future 😉

  • snehal

    @Stevie E – Compared to Spurs yes we are in a tiptop position but when you compare us to say the top 3 then I’m not really convinced.

  • Richard B

    Arsenal proved that in order to successfully move into a new stadium you have to have a full-to-bursting season ticket waiting list built on a long period of success and CL qualification. You also need to have a young squad which doesn’t need that much money spent to rebuild it and, preferably, a new stadium site which is no more inconvenient for fans to get to (or into and out of)than the old one.
    Just how many of those boxes do they tick up the Seven Sisters Road?

  • Snehal

    These figures come from the Football Management blog:

    Starting from the 1995/96 season the table below shows the percentage each club grabbed of the total points scored, and the percentage of time they spent in the Premier League over the sixteen seasons.

    1 Manchester United 7.88 100.00
    2 Arsenal 7.22 100.00
    3 Chelsea 7.08 100.00
    4 Liverpool 6.61 100.00

    5 Aston Villa 5.31 100.00
    6 Tottenham Hotspur 5.12 100.00

  • snehal

    @Tony, thank you for the stats. However I came across a article (which i can’t find at presnt) which basically highlighted the plight of our financila situation. Now, we have certianly moved a milestone by going to the Emirates but I fear if we don’t start winning things on the pitch then all this commercial success will not propel us to the success that we all know we can get.

  • snehal

    Looking at the Ajax model is quite comparative they have everything we needs right now?

    The team, famed for its academy’s youth development and their attacking style of play, have 3 players that would fit Arsenal perfectly IMO.

    1. Jan Vertonghen: Nearly 6’3″, who partnered with Vermaelen at Ajax until TV5 joined Arsenal. Also Belgian, leading to even better chemistry with Vermy. I assume they partner together at the back of the national team. 24 and ready for the next step in his career; valued at 9-12 million Euros according to goal.com

    2. Gregory van der Wiel: An emerging worldclass talent at rightback with an attacking mindset. 6’0, fast, only getting better at 23. Would be far more dynamic than Sagna, and already has 108 games with 9 goals for Ajax. Did not have a stellar campaign with the team in 10/11 and valued at about 12m Euros by goal.com

    3. Maarten Stekelenburg: Nearly 6’6″, in the peak of his development at 28, playing fantastic in the last few years. Conceded only 6 goals in WC2010 in 7 matches, two from penalties. Would be more than familiar with Vertonghen, vd Wiel and perhaps Vermaelen. Value suggested to be 10 million Euros according to goal.com

    Fucking take 40 for Cesc and sign these three up, that’s what I’d do. Sure they’ve only played in the Eredivisie but that didn’t stop TV5 from having a dominant first season with Arsenal. Not to mention Dutch/Belgian internationals aren’t anything to scoff at. Besides, how often can you buy 3 players at once who all would contribute to your team’s weak area AND all be familiar/experienced with each other?

    That being said, I bet they’ll be split between City, Chelsea and Bayern for about 10-15 each.

  • bob

    @Snehal, all: Are you really sure that we couldn’t raise the 40M you suggest (or jest about) by a variety of sell offs and creative rentals of the Ems, etc., and the “secret” war chest at Arsene’s disposal? Why think in terms of dumping Cesc for money as if that money can’t be raised any other way? How do we really know? I’m not blaming you for any of what follows, but it opens a line of thought that I think worth pondering as we enter this very-important transfer window: I mean it’s a justifiable business secret so that no other clubs can hold us hostage to their demands, etc. However, I don’t think that we fans should play the part of assuming that our club has no significant money – especially with the new money-bags owner as a wild card factor – unless we sell off Cesc (or any other major asset of ours). One reason, for example, that we are attractive for young guns happens to be that the likes of Cesc are here, etc. I hope this opens the question: is it our duty/desirable as fans to dampen our dreams and desires rather than constructively pressure management to splash where necessary – maybe for one of your guys here – without pretending we can do a lot of it. I don’t buy into the idea that we can only get a big fish only if we sell off a big fish. Fans should not be put into the position of apologizing for their wants and dreams in order to spare management the pressures of our wants and dreams. We can and SHOULD be very loyal and constructively thoughtful AND expressive of our well thought-out desires on behalf of a side we love. The books are not open to us and I don’t think we should be self-censoring accountants rather than people who love their team and mount the best possible arguments at this time to dream out loud and lobby and pressure on behalf of what we think needs to be done to improve the side internally. (While at the same time doing all we can to deal with the external ref-shite.)

  • bob

    @snehal:
    p.s. Aside from the selling off of Cesc bit, I really do think your dutch desire-dream above is well thought out and argued, and you’ve hooked me on it. Cheers!

  • cris

    I think I agree with Bob and Snehal. The three names he mentions have been talked about for at least a couple of years so I think I think they are real prospects. However, if they’ve been talked about for a few years (Citeh, then Bayern, then Radrid etc) and at least two don’t appear to have been the subject of bids, it makes me nervous.

    I get the impression that lots of players are thought of as ‘prospects’ but that the bigs clubs are not totally convinced and that they’re all waiting for each other to make a move. Sometimes, like with Ashley Young, the big clubs miss the boat. But with memories of ‘the fox in the box’ Jeffers still fresh you can understand why clubs have looked at Phil Jones, Oxlade-Chamberlain etc for a while pondering a move.

    My preferred choice for targetting players is to use the Football Manager database. So many of today’s great players have been ‘wonderkids’ in the game and it would save money to disband AW’s fantastic worldwide scouting system that has brought us the likes of Koscielny and …. and…??

  • walter

    Snehal, just also add Alderweireld to it. ;-)Then we would have apart from Kompany almost the entire Belgium back 4 in the team. By incident Vermaelen is mostly played left back in Belgium and Alderweireld on right back and they are both centre backs in their team. But then we get in to the secret thinking and world of the coach of the Belgium national team and his love for certain players.
    And I would take Kompany any day.. that would be the complete back 4.

  • bob

    @Walter: Kompany’s name came up a lot in the dread January transfer window (folly). What’s your best guesstimate on how much money (and a sweetner) it might take to pry him loose?

  • bob

    @cris, all: Do you/anyone know the names/regions of anyone in Arsene’s worldwide scouting system? is that publicly knowable; or a business secret? Can anyone match a scout to one of his recommendations? I’m keen on knowing who identified some of our greater and lesser lights in the recent past and so, their track record.

  • Stevie E

    @bob – for some reason I seem to think that ex midfielder Gilles Grimandi is now a scout for us, but that could just be my brain making things up…

  • Adam

    I bet Spurs tap up their benefactor and find the money. Their finances are shrouded in mystery and they have probably topped out with football- related income. Sugar’s money is apparently in property as every product he has ever been involved in has become a byword for unreliability. In other words they have been shit. I well remember him slagging Arsenal for spending £7.5 million on Bergkamp. He insinuated that it was stupid and irresponsible spending when in fact it turned out to be just about the greatest signing the club has ever made. How he is revered as this great businessman is beyond me.

  • Stevie E

    @bob – just found this http://m.bleacherreport.com/articles/29326-arsenals-scouting-network-revealed turns out Gilles is a scout! 🙂

  • bob

    @Stevie E: Many thanks for providing your link. I think it might give some fans a more knowledgeable glimpse into some workings of the transfer window. Here’s what Steve Rowley (in charge) stated in June 2008, and perhaps needs a bit of updating 3 years later:
    “First of all let me say it’s a real team effort at Arsenal. I have 12 scouts based in the UK, and aside from that we have a worldwide network. We have recently developed the Americas. We have our former left-back Danny Karbassiyoon in America, and he covers Mexico too. Then we have Sandro Orlandelli who looks after the scouting in Brazil, Argentina and the rest of South America, along with Pablo Budner and Everton Gushiken. Bobby Bennett does all of Scandanavia, where he has been doing a great job for seven years. We have Francis Cagigao who does Spain and Portugal while Gilles Grimandi does France and Switzerland. Jurgen Kost covers Germany, Czech Republic, places like that. Then we have Tony Banfield in Italy, Slovenia and Croatia. Finally we have Peter Clarke, another of our former players, who is based in Holland.”

  • nada

    Can anyone confirm this ? “Hulk got of a plane from Brazil. Apparently arsenal’s london coleny training base is his destination”

  • dr kox

    Wenger not only sits in on board meetings but DOES have a say in the financial strategy of the club. The AST brought this to light a little while ago. That’s a very strange thing to happen because a manager then has a conflict of interests ie: his job is to be successful and to strengthen the team if necessary but if he is overly concerned with finances then it affects his primary job. There you have one of the main issues at Arsenal – Wenger is far too concerned with things that shouldn’t concern him. Arsenal pay finance directors etc to look after our finances, Wenger should concentrate on being a manager!!
    _________________
    Wenger supplies the mental, who provides the strength??

  • Mandy dodd

    But I thought spurs were supposed to be a breath of fresh air, I know because I read it in the papers

  • Stevie E

    @dr kox – I would suggest AWs contribution on the board is a very good thing, the finances of the club are second to none, while the football we play is the best in the league. He has won trophys, built teams, developed youth, secured the future of the club etc etc etc. Im not really sure what else you could want from a manager unless you are one of the “6 years?!?!?!?” brigade? I think AW has earned the right to have his say on the board, and the finances proves his contribution is valid. I honestly don’t understand why this upsets you so much?

  • menace

    Inside the mind of H Redknapp –

    The answer is VACUUM!!!

  • agent_smurf (Tottenham Hotspur)

    I can’t believe I have stumlbed upon the dark side….But without trying to sound as though I am having a pop, what is going on at Arsenal? There seems to be a few first teamers on their way out already, without the usual Fabregas to Barca nonsense going on. I was already thinking they are odds on for forth next year but I no I’m not too sure. I mean, ManU. ManC and Chelsea are top3, with Liverpool, Arsenal and Spurs fighting it out for 4th. Worrying times if I was an Arsenal fan. (Do I need to say again I’m not trying to have a pop?)

  • cris

    @Stevie E – Nasri scuttling off to United for as little as 8m, Clichy off to Liverpool for 5m and Cesc finally away to Barcelona this summer for whatever they can afford. In short, we’re screwed! Because 1. Wenger won’t spend sufficiently to replace them and 2. Which top target will want to come to a club where they see their top players deserting.

    there have been people on here for the past six years telling us that our squad is suddenly gonna gel while those of our rivals are gonna fall apart. It hasn’t happened. The sad fact is the gulf is just as wide now as it ever was (apart from the time we finished 20pts off the top but we won’t mention that!). Yes, our rivals’ squads may need some overhauling over the coming years but they have the money and the will to do that. I also think you’re overlooking the huge, inherent flaws within our own squad. We’re not poised to capitalise on any weakness in our rivals. On the contrary – given half the chance, we are ready to capitulate when the going gets remotely tough. We lack the basics: mental strength and the will to win. That’s down to the manager and the type of player he brings in. And those qualities are not magicaly gonna appear just because our opponents wobble. Look at last season. Both Chleski and Man U had ropey seasons by their standards. Could we capitalise? I honestly admire your optimism, marcelle, but your naivete is breathtaking and the weight of evidence over the past six years certainly ain’t on your side.

    And please By God NO to gervinho – another money grabbing mercenary

  • Shard

    @cris

    The papers lie about transfer stories more often than they tell the truth. Also, that Wenger won’t spend sufficiently to replace players, is an assumption, over and above the assumption that those players are leaving in the first place. If they do, and if Wenger doesn’t ‘spend’, that still doesn’t mean that they would not have been effectively replaced.

    regarding our weaknesses. You are correct. the squad showed them amply during last season. But in no way is the table entirely reflective of the teams’ actual capabilities. That isn’t excuse making, it is quite simply fact. We did not play on a level playing field.

  • There’s a comment above that says…

    Nasri scuttling off to United for as little as 8m, Clichy off to Liverpool for 5m and Cesc finally away to Barcelona this summer for whatever they can afford.

    — Oh I love this stuff. Where do you get it from? Do you really live in a world where you believe all this?

  • cris

    The point is not one player has come out and quashed the rumours…the only thing i remember a few days back is nasri saying dont believe the rumours i will tel you when I leave. Hardly reassuring for us fans is it? Think we are finally seeing the after effects of not winning anything and this will be a slap in the face for wenger – the players he has so backed, poured blood into are all wanting out.

  • Shard

    Nasri tweeted saying he’ll tell if something happens, not if he leaves. When do players ever come out and squash such rumours. I’ll tell you when not. When they have a contract up for renewal. In any case, haven’t a lot of fans wanted the players who Wenger has poured blood into out? Now those same fans criticise Wenger if they do go? I’m not worried. We gooners always seem to assume the other teams will somehow find a way through their troubles and that we won’t. Makes no sense.

  • Stevie E

    @cris – I think most of your points (I especially enjoyed your glimpse into the future by the way ), have already been answered by others above. I will add that I am by no means under any illusion as to the strengths or weaknesses of the team, I don’t however, read the absolute nonsense which the press have the audacity to call a story, and believe a word. Nasri hasn’t denied he’s going to Manure? So what? He hasn’t denied he’s going to Man city or Chelsea or Liverpool either, does that mean it’s a done deal? Cesc to Barca? THEY CAN’T AFFORD HIM!!! FACT! Clichy may well leave but, unless you are him or his agent, you have no idea what’s going on and neither does anyone else, especially a reporter. These stories are always attributed to an “unnamed source” or “somebody close to the player/club” or some other unsubstantiated “insider”. I hate to break this to you, but the press make this all up to sell papers. You accuse me of being naive, the fact that you believe all this rubbish proves to me that you, I’m afraid are extremely gullible.

  • Agent Smurf – if you are still following this…

    You are a Tottenham supporter, and that is not a problem to the editors of this site (although I know some of our readership will get a little agitated), and I am grateful you made that quite clear in your comment.

    The article I wrote is of course totally Arsenal-centric and written for Untold’s audience and with the sort of sniggers and jests that most of us enjoy down the pub before the game.

    But I am sure that neither you nor I believe the stuff in the papers about transfers until they happen. I have no idea who is leaving Tottenham this summer, nor if the owner will put more money in so that the club can have another go at getting into the top four.

    But what I really would like to know is what is going on with the stadium – why go to the trouble of getting the planning permission and everything sorted out, and then get so worked up with the Stratford business. Yes you need a new stadium, as we did when at Highbury, but is WHL Mark II just a fall-back position if Stratford fails?

    Incidentally you don’t ever need to take any pot-shots at Arsenal – our “supporters” (I use the word lightly) do that more than enough. Do you have Tottenham “fans” who criticise your club over and over for not winning things, the way Arsenal fans do?

    Tony

  • The Blaze

    I was thinking that Tottenham could become the new Leeds. Quite funny how Harry Redknapp (A.K.A. Teh gee-nyous of Ingles futbol) seems to completely decimate every club that he is managing; West Ham, Southampton, Portsmouth, now Tottenham. Hey Harry, how about if you coach United when Ferguson leaves?

    As for Arsenal, we should try and sneak in a naughty bid for Modric. They need the money and Modric would fit in any team. Kept the Spurs alive more than once, the true leader of the team.

  • frodo

    while there are a lot of “if’s and butt’s” about the arsenal at the moment, but the one thing we cannot allow to happen is anarcy,cause when it does, we could have a few years of doom and gloom that will leave us even further behind.i think we need to be careful what we wish for and i’m going to back it up with some examples.look at what happened to liverpool after they last won the title,they changed managers,stopped recruting from within,and thought the grass was greener elsewhere when it weren’t,putting the club further back than competing for the prem lge.another recent example is martin o neil.since he has left villa they have nose dived very rapidly,and are in turmoil at this moment in time,i bet villa fans wish they were finishing 5/6 like they did with o neil,and they played in cup finals.the point is when you are nearly there(competing for trophies)it’s essential that we all stick together and support our club.yes,give your point of view of how things have gone wrong and,what mistakes have been made.but it’s very important that we don’t allow anarcy to set in because thats how clubs fall apart.another example of a club 40 miles down the road from me,cardiff city.dave jones done a great job there and i seen an interview lately where a fan said they want him out because he doesn’t show the passion that the supporters show,good god almighty,how pathetic is that.now they are in turmoil with all their top players leaving,i do find that a shame.YOU have to look at what can happen when things REALLY start going wrong with your club.let’s all wait and see what will or will not happen before silly rush to judge reactions are made.i’ve been watching football way to long to know what can happen when problems arise from everyone.think about it folks.

  • snehal

    Someone who calls himself Tim sent me a link to Who Scored dot com on twitter and now I’m obsessed with looking at pretty pretty numbers. Every time I think I have an article I find something new and I before I know it, I’m stuck in a stat hole and can’t get the fuck out.

    I’ve been trying for two days now to write an article. It started with the rumor that Arsenal were going to swap Clichy for Leighton Baines. I looked at their numbers and first I was in favor of Baines and now I’m not sure because I can’t tell if he’s really a defender! Here, read the insanity for yourself:

    …if Clichy is leaving then Arsenal shouldn’t replace him, but should instead upgrade. Clichy is Arsenal’s 11th best player in aerial duels and teams know that so they target him there. Last season he was basically 50-50 in aerial challenges. There’s also a small problem with the fact that he gets forward so much and yet he completes less than 1 cross per game. That said, defensively, he is Arsenal’s most prolific tackler at 3.4 per game and tops the list in terms of interceptions with 3.2 per game. He also only gives away one foul per game.
    There’s some speculation that if Clichy leaves Arsenal have targeted Leighton Baines as his replacement, which I thought was strange at first. But when you look at the season he’s had, 5 goals, 11 assists, passing rate of 80%, and winning 63% of headers you can see why Arsenal might be interested. To put that season in perspective, Andrei Arshavin had 6 goals and 11 assists and he’s an Arsenal forward and Arsenal’s best crosser of the ball. Baines’ assists ratio is no fluke either: he had 8 last year and 6 the year before. He’s getting better every season.

    Baines excels at crossing the ball, putting in three successful per game, and in key passes putting in 1.95 per game. That key passing rate is second on Everton and if he managed that number at Arsenal, he would have been second at Arsenal as well, above Nasri. Defensively, he’s 5th on Everton in tackles at 2.2 per game, but only Fellaini makes more than 2 tackles per game for them which I find odd. Clearances are similar, with both players 5th on their team in that category, but Clichy called on almost double the number of times that Baines is.
    See? And the more I look at the numbers, the weirder it gets. Why does Everton have such a low number of clearances per game that Baines is 5th with 2.2 and yet Arsenal who dominate possession have Clichy at 5th as well with 4.5 clearances a game?

    And don’t even get me started on the hole I’m in with holding midfielders.

    This is madness.

    But then again, to me it’s even crazier to just sit around saying things like “Oh never mind your stats, Baines is good, I’ve seen him play” or “he’ll add British Steel to the team, I know because I loaned him my Judas Priest collection.”

    Maybe I will find a way out of this. For now, I’m going to keep digging.

  • agentsmurf

    I think the McClaren/Forest match is a match made in heaven. He is an extremely underrated manager, and Forest are an under achieving club. Always had a bit of a soft spot for Forest, still think Cloughie was one of the greatest managers ever, a manager who actually had morals unlike a majority of the current bunch and expected his team to play with pride and more importantly, honesty. As for McClaren, I think the ‘Wolly with the Brolly’ tag was a little bit unfair and his recent European adventures is only going to improve him as a manager. I just hope the club don’t expect too much too soon (but a few loans from ManU!) Good Luck to both!!

  • agentsmurf

    @tony – in response to your questions; To be honest I don’t know why we decided to go into the Stratford area – We are based in North London and I think thats where we should base our ground – like a lot of spurs fans we want the rivalry with your lot to flourish and though some gunners cannot see it I still think our season ended up on a better note than yours.

    Saying that, I think there is a issue with us not making the CL and that will hit the revenue, but to be honest Im not too sure why there is the hold up with the stadium. I hope it gets resolved soon but I’d be happy (for the time being) to be where we are.

    And finally yes there are always people calling out for drastic changes and we have overly critical people on our forums too so don’t worry you are not alone. 🙂

  • agentsmurf

    Just read the Gazidis article, personally i feel Arsenal should have brought new players last season. With the financial fair play coming up soon, this will be a very busy summer and there will be some major reinforcements by United, Chelsea, City and even Liverpool. It will be much more difficult to win something next season.
    with all due respect this is not something he should be saying but doing its off-season for God’sake. i m sure arsenal will bounce back once the stubborness is gone!!!!

  • snehal

    I’ve read conflicting reports about the reason why Nasri has refused to sign up to this point. The three different reasons I’ve read are….

    Please don’t just cut and paste from others work – the original article can be read here:

    http://arsenal.theoffside.com/team-news/whither-nasri.html

  • frodo

    Will be good the see a new striking threat come into the club if we do sign gervinho. We are short in that department and have been for a year now. I still think if we play to Chamakh’s strengths as we did last autumn, he is more that useful, as his goals for Bordeaux in the CL have shown. Another CB and perhaps one DM, out Squillaci, Clichy, Denilson, Diaby, Almunia and Bendtner and things are looking up. Not worried whether Nasri and Cesc remain, build the team round Jack and Aaron.

  • Sammy

    I used to be in awe of Wenger all these years. Even stuck by him through all those difficult years. But when last year he refused to sign a GK, apparently the additional £1-2mn asked for Schwarzer being the deal-breaker, I just came to one conclusion. Wenger has lost it! It is not an understatement to say that past 3 years we’ve had two jokers and a novice in the Goal. Now what kind of manager refuses to correct such a basic weakness in the squad, whilst flogging the £32m of profits he made during the year? How would Cesc, Nasri, Clichy et al feel motivated to bust their gut when they know that a stupid Almunia, or a lethargic Diaby, or an indifferent Denilson will undo all their hardwork with a moment of madness match after match! It’s sad to say, but I’ve seriously lost trust in Wenger. I am not even angry with him, I just feel disappointed and let down. A man whom we trusted and adored and stood by when we were told that he hasn’t got any money to spend – that man compromises a promising season after 5 years of frustration by refusing to splash that extra £1-2mn (not asking to spend 30-40mn, mind you) on a goalkeeper!

  • Sammy

    I used to revere Wenger. Two years ago, someone asked me given a choice which famous person I’d like to invite for dinner? My response was Arsene Wenger. All the criticisms labeled against him in the previous 4 years meant nothing to me as I thought it was not fault that he had no money to spend, and he was doing a fantastic job. But then the chairman came out in open and said that Wenger has £40mn available to spend if he wants to. And what does he do?

    He gives a cold-shoulder to the bloody GK problem we’ve had since Lehman retired.

    He increases the contracts for Diaby and Denilson who’ve virtually made zero progress in the past 3-4 years I’ve been watching them.

    He lets a worldclass Defender such as Gallas go and signs unproven Squallaci and Koscielny instead (now I got nothing against Koscielny; he is a mighty fine prospect. But didn’t we need someone more solid and proven at this stage of the team’s lifecycle?)

    And he blames everyone from the media to the Refs for our failure, without acknowledging to the deficiencies in his own squad at any time!

    I feel so betrayed and disappointed. I incurred my wife and family’s wrath for many years trying to plan my family commitments around Arsenal’s fixtures ensuring I didn’t miss a match. But when the team lost that FA cup match against a Man Utd reserve side; I lost all hope. I’ve not seen a single Arsenal match since. I don’t know if I can again if I keep seeing Almunia in our goal, or Diaby’s lethargic stroll in midfield after losing the ball in a dangerous position, or Denilson’s indifference and happiness just after conceding yet another soft goal.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Sammy,
    Almunia hasn’t been in goal for months expect when all the other keepers was out injured. Even Lehmann sat on the bench during the closing games.

    Diaby has been kicked to shit this season (and the previous seasons also at times) without the refs doing anything about it and as a result suffered serious injuries. From the moment he gets the protection he needs he can progress but how can you make progress when you are being kicked to pieces each time you play?

    Denilson has hardly played for Arsenal this year.

    So now you are as lethargic as Diaby… or as indifferent as Denilson….

    By the way have you seen Schwarzer in goal for Fulham this season…. Liverpool…