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It is possible to beat teams like Man C and Chelsea. But it takes care and patience.

By Walter Broeckx

How depressing  to see teams win titles that are solely build on the money from the owner of the clubs is something that we have experienced the last weeks.

Manchester City, Chelsea…two clubs that have been spending money that is not theirs. And winning things that way. Their fans won’t mind it but the rest of the football world looks at it and shakes their head in sadness.  A sadness enhanced if they also play a park-the-bus kind of football. Indeed one of the greatest players of the world, Cruyff, was disgusted by the way Chelsea won the Champions League. And he surely would not have liked a Bayern victory because he dislikes Bayern. He said it was a sad day for football.

Where are the days that the league was won on the field? Those days have been left behind us for the past 8 or 9 years when Chelsea won the league after Abramovich opened his wallet and paid out more money each year than Chelsea could make in a few seasons on their own.  Since then the football world isn’t the same any more. Clubs put themselves in debt and became totally dependent of the goodwill of their owner. If the sheikh or the Russian owner has enough of it, those clubs are gone in a minute.

Some people will say: it will never happen, they are too big to fall. Tell that to a Glasgow Rangers supporter these days. And they didn’t even have a foreign sugar daddy who used it as his personal toy. Bad management and a belief that the money will come from somewhere, anywhere. And it does until you start selling the income from tickets for the next three years to pay for last year’s debts.

I don’t think I need to remind you that the Arsenal board is doing all it can to avoid such scenarios. Because the only certainty these scenarios give in the long run is that they bring uncertainty. Some will prefer this and take the cups in the short term success period. But a real supporter of the a club only wants the best in the long run. If that brings some titles great, if not we will have the certainty that in 10, 20, 30 years time we still will be able to support our club. Do the others have that certainty today? Maybe they forget this in the heat of the success but one day they will wake up in tears.

But with mad spending Chelsea won the CL, with mad spending Man City won the league, with mad spending Real Madrid won the league (it would have been the same with mad spending Barcelona if they would have won it), and so things look rather bleak for the others. People who want Arsenal to spend money we don’t have will say: see them, it is the only way to success now.

And yet there is hope for teams that want to work in a different way. Because this weekend Montpellier won the French league. They came in first before PSG. PSG, the French version of Chelsea or Manchester City.  In French terms they had spend an enormous amount of money on new players to bring the title back to Paris. But they failed.

The little club Montpellier won the league and that was the first time in their history.  They had won the French cup in 1990 or somewhere around that period. And in those days the president of the club tried to buy a few big names. But it all ended in tears and relegation a bit later. And then he vowed to work in another way. The sensible way of only spending what you got. And now they have beaten PSG for the title on a budget of only £29M.

If you only think of the fact that last summer PSG spent £37M on one player (Pastore) you can get the picture. The biggest money spent by Montpellier was £1,7M two years ago on Giroud. I think this makes it clear that on paper Montpellier had no chance at all to win the league. Let alone come close.

And yet they did it. The small town team beat the big city team. The small money team beat the big money team.  So it can be done. And this is why this victory of Montpellier is a beacon of light in the football world. One to treasure. It brings hope to all the other teams who are living within their means. Hope for teams like Arsenal also.

Of course Montpellier only had to beat one big money team. Arsenal has to face at least 2 of them. So it is a bit more difficult. And I don’t know about the refs in France but maybe they are a bit more even when they do their games, compared to the PL where the most attacking team in the league doesn’t get a penalty at home for more than one year. You know such little details could be helpful when it come to winning a league.

The most important lesson we could learn is that if all people who are part of the project believe in it, you can move a mountain (as the idiom goes in Dutch) [and almost the same in English – Tony]. So let us take the example of Montpellier and believe in what we do at Arsenal. The good guys can win if we would all support our club and give our support to the ones who have to do it on the field.

Or are we just going to sit on the ground and start crying before it even starts? Last season after 7 games nobody believed in Arsenal ending in 3rd position. And yet we did it.  We did it because the players believed they could do it. Maybe if all would believe in it, anything can happen.

39 comments to It is possible to beat teams like Man C and Chelsea. But it takes care and patience.

  • Gary Coulson

    Walter, its not about spending money we dont have, but about spending the money we are told is available,season after season.

    Arsene Wenger has been far too loyal towards too many average players. Would players like Squillacci, Almunia, Djourou etc have been so successful, financially, at Man Utd?

    Wengers brand of football communism is a major problem at our club. We need to start paying players what they are worth. Not hurting the feelings of those sensitive souls is costing the club a fortune in wages, and more importantly, costing us our very best players.

    Where is the drive to become better, and thus earn more money, if as an average squad player you can earn £50-60,000 pw?

  • E. D . Allen

    I get your point but it must be said some of the teams had fallen on hard times and thus become susceptible to a rich owner getting in on the cheap and using the club as a playtoy. PSG is the most recent example of this phenomenon. And Chelsea was about to go into administration when thee Russian bailed them out of their situation. Can you really blame the fans for getting behind the project when the alternative is adminstration or relegation. They could care less about winning the right way when faced with the grim alternative. I think Arsenal should be commended for their ability to field a competitive team yearly and staying within their tight wage structure. But would you really begrudge them if they went and shelled out 100 million on M’Vila, Hazard, Podolski, Goetze and Neymar. Nope you’d go to the matches, cheer on the boys and enjoy the trophies that would follow.

  • wolfgang

    Greece won the Euro 2004 as rank outsiders. This shd serve as an inspiration.For Arsenal to do likewise,Wenger must have experienced players not wc promising kids.Then everyone must play his part as a team member.The Euro tournament has at the most eight to ten games.
    To replicate the team performance over nine months is tough but as Arsenal 1971 have proved,it can be achieved.Everyone must row the boat and there shd be no passenegrs repeat no passengers.
    Then we shall see.

  • Lanz

    Thank you Walter. But could you please furnish us with figures from Dortmund? They have won the league two years in a row now and trounced Beyern 5 – 2 to win the Cup. How many of these players did they buy for over 10m? I personally believe the good manager is the one that can deliver with little money. That is why I love AW and like David Moyes. Frank Ryjkaard once seemed like a God. Aston Villa needs a manager now, let him apply and we will see how he does! I await info on Dortmund please.

  • Legolas

    i believe all our players this year had very good experience and now there is more harmony in the team . experience comes with time but still lot players will be better next season : Sczeney- Gibbs-Per Mertesacker( his 2nd season lot of players struggle 1st season koscienly is a good example but Per wasn’t bad he was good ) – Ramsey- Ox- Gervinho ( 2nd season as well and not bad was it ? ) . i guess we have the potential next year we still need reinforcements to arrive but i believe Wenger will make it right as usual .

  • what an idiotic article smacks of outright jealousy-ALL top teams whether its Chelsea, City, United Real, Barca, Munich have bough their way to the top- to be the best you have to buy the best otherwise you will win nothing-grooming players form an early age at clubs academies helps but only a little. Chelsea do not even have top quality players but won it through sheer guts and nver say die attitute-in addition they have won the youth FA cup, the womens youth FA cup and are also in the final of the womans FA cup-so the club is achieving on all fronts and this cannot be possible without huge investments.

  • Your article worth reading over and over again, but BABA wenger should offload those dead wood and super quality to save his job, if iam the one about 15 players will leave the club this summer and bring just four to five players. Even when you in your rooms watch arsenal you will feel happy. They struggled to win matches therefore putting fans into hyper thinking.

  • Jacobite Gunner

    Gary,

    how much would you pay RVP? I assert that if he wants over 100k we should sell him. He is 29 soon, has had about 2 and a half good seasons worth of football in 8 seasons and arsenal have developed him and have looked after him when he has been injured. Giving him a new 4 year deal for circa 150k plus a 5m sign on fee would cost us 30 million over 4 years with no guarantee he will stay injury fee.

    I don’t see the sense of paying him more just to compete with the inflated wages paid @man u, citeh and chelsea.

    I do and would like him to stay but no at a ridiculous expense that players seem to get away with!

    -the club will adapt and live on if he leaves…

  • Jacobite Gunner

    …and if he decides to go and we get 25/30 mill for him then gr8, we will have done well out of it. We can use the funds to strengthen the 1st team and as an option, we could sell cham/vela but retain Nicky Bendtnar and have him as a credible back-up to poldi in the striker position. B52 does have talent and could quite easily score 15-20 goals for us in our team-we can use the excess transfer money to further pay down our net debt

  • ziggy

    @Gary I understand your point of not spending money they say is available but the truth is the money available can only buy average players of players equivalent to what we already have, so AW’s philosophy is why buy a player who is just the same level of one I already have? Which to me makes sense. If a better player becomes available at a reasonable price, he will buy, ala Podolski. A lot if people are bigging up Hazard but in truth is he worth the same as Fabregas or is valued for his potential. From what I’ve seen of him, he is no much better than a fit Diaby or Nasri for that kind if 3 mill+ valuation. The best team is not always made of the most expensive or the best players but the ones who are prepared to play for each other. The togetherness without primadonnas. Man city almost imploded cos of Tevez, Chelsea cos of Lamps Sulking but look at Fulham, Newcastle and Wigan all pulling together and punching above their weight. Arsenal have a very good squad but they need we as fans to also unite and back them but the media has been allowed by us to drive a wedge between us and the team and us are suffering for that reason. Prime e.g of unity at Arsenal was CL v Ac Milan. The world was in shock how we came together.

  • ThePups

    Diddums!

    I’ve had enough of your Arsenal bleating.

    Champions of Europe!

    The Abromovic buying success line is old news. It’s only Arsenal fans who are still caning that one.

    again, Champions of Europe!

  • ziggy

    typo 30mill + valuation.

  • Gooner.NZ

    Hallelujah Jacobite Gunner. Spot-on.

  • nicky

    Walter,
    Your example of Glasgow Rangers falling from grace puzzles me. You say they had no sugar daddie to bail them out. Surely, if they HAD one they would still be solvent.
    As for Arsenal, I’m not entirely convinced of the players’ belief during our spate of troubles early in the season.
    In my view the advent of the FFP Rules are vital if we are to compete with the sugar daddie clubs on an even playing field.
    The alternative is for Kroenke or Usmanov to take control and plough in the dollars or roubles a la Abrahmovitch and I’m sure no self-respecting Gooner would want that.

  • Arvind

    Yes no doubt its possible. It just really very hard. Specially now when you have 6 or 7 teams all fighting for the 4 slots. And you suddenly have a team like Newcastle who can come from nowhere and surprise you too. And also when you have refs who are largely incompetent/biased when it comes to AFC..

    I’m not sure what will happen to Montpellier next year though. Didn’t Leverkusen win the league once and then lose all their players to Bayern and elsewhere? I think Ballack played there too, there was a player called Ze Roberto too I remember..

    But yes it is possible and as long as AW is there it is not a total dream either.

  • LOGAN

    madrid wants him so lets swap him for benzema and 5mil and get rid of vela,djourou,ramsey,squid,gervinho,bendtnar,park and arshavin so we gt belhanda,kagawa,hoilet,vertonghen and mvila.eish nto forgeting our two goalies fabianski and manone.

  • ziggy

    We cannot be a bad team that need just big name players if after the start we had and our luck with injuries and decisions(referees) going against us more than most, we still were the best of the rest in the PL.The media and so called experts have just gone quiet on th negativity about Arsenal for now. Liverpool spent in excess of 100mill on players who wouldn’t get in the Arsenal 11 bar one and won a trophy our reserves and u18 have been on the verge of winning and finished 8th in the league. By what we read and hear from some fans abd experts that was quite successful. utter drivel IMHO .Spuds were playing the best brand and were supposedly miles ahead of us…errm?? We relied only on RVP, well that was his role, to bang them in when others did the donkey work. Walcott not good enough, had more assists than 40mill rated Modric and 20 mill Downing, Parker better than Song, yeah in demeanour but on skill and composure and the odd ability to split defences? please. Arteta panic buy he is no Cesc, of course he’s not but talk. about tidying up and calming the midfield. BFG too slow, interceptions and clearances? Why buy a kid when we need PROVEN players, what impact the OX made. Are all these players average?Hmm if they are not good enough Spurs and Liverpool must be really Crap but have a lot of proven players.

  • Damien Luu

    Have you ever asked a Man C supporter how his club will be if one day his sheikh get enough of throwing his money away? Maybe he would answer: “Well, we will just go find another sugar daddy! There are a lot of them out there, right?”

    Hustlers.

  • Damien Luu

    Oh, and yeah, it is possible. Because we beat the hell out of them in last season, which supposed to be our worst season from the ice age, right?

  • WalterBroeckx

    The Pups,
    I don’t know on which island you are living but I can assure you that where I live most of the people who care about football said that football died this season with Manchester City buying the league and Chelsea having bought the CL.

    And those people (like Cruyff) are not Arsenal supporters at all. But people who want the best for football in general.
    Maybe now after reaching his dream the Russian will start losing his interest…and starting to spend less. Nothing lasts for ever. Even the Roman empire didn’t last…

  • CGooner

    Just wanted to say that this is the best blog around, you actually care about the club. I’ve been reading Le Grove as well and i can’t take it anymore, all they do is bash the players,manager,club etc…! So keep the good work.

    Cyril
    Paris

  • Jacobite Gunner

    Walter, Nicky.

    Rangers did have a sugar daddy in the form of David Murray but his business interests have made massive losses in the last few years and he could not afford to bankroll his love (rangers) anymore. I have a genuine friend who works for HBOS (well, before it was lloyds) and he told me that david murray had lost loads a few years ago and is one of the reasons why rangers are in the state they are in alongside the EBT’s ect.

    In fact, under DM custodianship, i’d be surprised if rangers ever made a profit each year. Their signings were ridiculous, tore andre flo for 12 mill, bert konterman for 5 mill etc all on ridiculous wages

  • Tram

    Would RVP still take the Sheik’s money if it meant no CL football? The only hope for football is Platini’s FFP rules. Chelsea, ManU and ManC all intend to spend big, not just on transfers but on wages. If FFP lives up to expectations then the gap between their incomes and expenses will see them penalised. Platini will just have watched a financially properly managed club mugged by an English financially doped club. If his FFP rules fail, football is doomed. The rich clubs will not give up without a fight. They will point at the 2 Spanish giants (who Platini won’t dare to touch) and demand equal treatment. My fingers are crossed. But my expectations are that until FFP we face at least a year of more of the same.

  • Archnemesis

    All of you raise valid points, but it is my feeling that you are missing a few valid points. First, every league is won or lost depending on a team’s consistency. Arsenal were better than chelsea (head to head is what am talking about), equalled city and was only below united in such regard. You however lost matches you shouldnt have lost and drew many more you should have won. I am not an Arsenal fan but I strongly believe that the team that beat Milan could floor United or City any day but you seem to have some problems you are not facing up to as a team.
    1. Inconsistency (patchy form and unnecessary losses and draws)
    2. Too many excuses (the approach that makes you fail to acknowledge the serious problems you have as a team)
    3. Too many injury prone players (you really need to get rid of this dead wood)
    4. Focus on yourselves as a team (you only play 6-8 matches with title rivals, but evidently you have been failing elsewhere).
    It is my view that saying so and so bought this and that instead of working on your consistency as well as accepting no world class professional will play for peanuts, at the same time keeping your finances in order..food for thought: If Arsene was buying TWO GOOD players every year for the last five + the immensely talented youth you have coming through, where would the club be? One word: champions.

  • marcus

    I would be fascinated to see how a major financial crash….you know the sort, Greece defaults on its debt, the Euro falls to bits, rampant inflation, etc etc….

    If clubs left right and centre went bankrupt, the whole structure of football might need remodelling.

    Personally I would like to see supporters owning clubs, to some significant extent.

    I believe it would greatly reduce many of the anomalies at present.

    E.G.
    As a shareholder would you countenance paying a player £150k per week?

    As a shareholder would you be screaming “Wenger out” (shakes head in despair when someone says yes)

    As a shareholder would you tolerate your Company being defrauded?
    Would you accept a piss poor regulatory structure for your industry…(i.e. would you accept the dreadful refereeing standards?)

    Sure, it would take a perfect cataclysm of financial wreckage and
    proven malfeasance by regulatory bodies, (in fact a major scandal to erupt), but we can but hope….

  • SouthernGunner

    “In order to be the best, you have to buy the best players!”

    Whoever said that clearly doesn’t understand football. If you need an example, look at French Champions Montpelliers squad, and compare it to second place PSG’s.

    Football is about building a team, not hyping individuals. Thats how the likes of Michael Carrick, Ji Sung Park, Darren Fletcher and Jonny Evens have Champions League medals. None of them are anywhere near being the best players in the world, but they’ve complimented their team.

    There are teams who’ve won their medals, and teams who’ve bought theirs.

  • Gary Coulson

    We are told that between £30-50m is available each year. Last year, we also received £60m+ for Cesc, Na$ri, Clichy, Emmanuel Thomas etc. We bought The Ox, who at the time was not expected to have been involved as much as he has been, and then waited until we had been humiliated at OT before we bought Mertesacker, Arteta, Santos, and also got Benayoun on loan.

    By my maths, we still had a surplus of between £40-70m! I am not like certain people that believe we have to buy all the young starlets to be successful, but I do believe that we need a little more quality to challenge.

    Personally I would look at the possibility of getting in Given as back up for Szczesney, Tiote from Newcastle, and someone like Dempsey from Fulham. If we got these and kept most of our current squad, we could really push on, for a spend of around £25m.

    Wenger has tried to copy the Barca method, with two key differences. Firstly, they bring in a superstar signing each year, while usually allowing one or two to leave as either their desire or their ability start to deteriorate. Secondly, the base of the Barca squad is Catalan. Young players that really love the club.

    Our youngsters are brought in from across the globe, with little or no real affinity for the club. Most see us a stepping stone, where we will give them a good grounding in the game, then sell them on to another club where they can challenge for trophies.

  • Ong Bing

    This season Montpellier, Dortmund and Liverpool give light to football, and send messages: money is not everything!

    (for Liverpool is also: trophy is not everything! LOL)

  • Persian gunner

    @Ziggy! Very nice comment!

  • Andrei

    @Tram “If FFP lives up to expectations then the gap between their incomes and expenses will see them penalized.”

    Even with FFP in place Chelsea and City will still have advantage over Arsenal and likes. They have the luxury to spend close to 100% of their football operations revenue on wages and stay within FFP. Arsenal on the other hand have to balance between spending on wages and investing into the club infrastructure.

    Besides, I’m not convinced that FFP is a good solution to begin with. It doesn’t deal adequately with Chelsea or City abusing the system. And it gives unfair advantage to the clubs with established revenue like Arsenal or Manchester United over smaller clubs trying to play catch up.

  • Rezy from SR

    yes, it is possible to win titles without big names. Because nowadays big names goas to big spenders. Although Montpellier won. Even Greece won the EC in 2004 without quality players in their squad. But these teams did not play that type of quality football like us. With average players you can not play nice technical footbal, the only possibility to win titles is the Mou-type of football: a very well organised defence and midfield, with many faults and fast breaks a few times in a game, wich ,if you love football, makes you puke/womit…Thats the horrible thing, the big spenders like MC, MU, Chelsea, RM, Juve are playing shit football with the best players on the market…Shame on them!!!

  • Notoverthehill

    In any calculation of QUICK CASH for a Plc is Debtors + Bank Cash (incl. Petty Cash!) less the Creditors. The majority of companies use a 12-month calendar Budget/Actual forecast. Therre are one or two who will use the 13-4 weekly version of forecasting.

    Both debtors/creditors will be on perhaps Current, 30. 60. 90 and Overdue. These debt lags can easily be reduced within the software capabilities.

    Looking at Arsenal Holdings plc Financial Report for 2010/2011, Notes 14, 15 and 16 prove that there is NO transfer budget or fund of £50 millions available in CASH!!!!

    Mr Gazidis is referring to the intangible assets for HIS transfer availability.

    Mr Wenger refers to a £20 millions profit BEFORE he can start thinking of a transfer budget.

    Anybody who has dealt with EU VAT knows that the Fabregas Value Added Tax payable to HMRC, must come from the £29.9 millions paid to The Arsenal. Because of the Per Mer purchase, this will reduce to approx. £4 millions for the EU VAT return!

    The VAT will automatically be transferred into the Creditors’ liability.

    The latest accounts will end on 31st May 2012. In brief, Season ticket renewals will in the majority of cases be Standing Orders, Direct Debits, Credit Cards and cheques, not much cash, I suspect.

    We are on the outside and we are a good 12 months with out-of-date detail. The AST calculation in February 2012 was complete and utter garbage!

  • SouthernGunner

    The Premier League clubs collectively made record losses this season alone, despite being given £2.2 billion by the FA.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2012/may/23/premier-league-losses-2010-11-profits

  • Adam

    As always a good read, However it always seems to leave me with more questions than answers. Still think there is too much money available to footballers.

  • Johan

    Damien,

    I would imagine a Man City supporter who has had 45+ years of misery would be more than happy for someone to spend vast amounts of money to win a few titles even if it meant another 45+ years of misery. Because if they didn’t it would still be the same old finishing mid – low table every year.

    One thing we as Arsenal supporters have to be mindful about is that we were lucky when the changes happened about 15 years ago we were in a good cycle as if we were a mid table club then we could have been stuck as a mid-table club.

  • ARSENAL 13

    spend Wenger spend…….BUT why??

    Look at the quality of players at his disposal. Do we need more? All we need is hunger. Hunger to succeed, hunger to win, hunger for more. We’ve been finishing top 4 since the big bang. We are used to that, players are used to….
    All we needed was a difficult season. Season like the one just ended. Our young guns learnt a lesson or two the hard way……

    We have failed to bring silverware 7 years in a row, But thats just the calm before the storm… We will win it, we will win it the ARSENAL way…

  • Domhuaille MacMathghamhna

    The Arsenal you see IS NOT the Arsenal you get! This season, we had our usual rash of eternally long injuries (Wilshere)and inconsistent returnees (Diaby) as well as zero penalties at home!! Those three facets of our game would reduce any club’s chances significantly, at the start of a season.
    Last season we had to integrate 5 new faces into the lineup in a matter of days…that was well beyond any team’s adaptability and we paid the price for our injuries as well, fielding a very young and inexperienced team against the Manure, who on THAT day had every shot they took resemble Ronaldinho supergoals.
    When we had a fully fit team where we fielded our best 11, we won 10 games in a row. Once we lost Arteta in the run-in, we won only 3 of 7 games BUT lost only 1 as well. It was enough to get us 3rd and a CL spot but had we kept our best 11 for the entire season, been awarded a few penalties at home we deserved and had our strikers score a few more key goals, we’d likely have been right up there with the Mancunians.
    We DON’T need to spend like Shitty,Real ,the Chavs or anyone of their ilk, we need to continue with our current management philosophy and ignore the panicky whining AAA crowd.

  • Ed

    what disappoints me is the way Man City, Chelsea, PSG buy their way to success. as arsene wenger puts it, it is financial doping.

    i have no problems with teams that build themselves up over a few years or decades like manchester united or bayern have done. That is the same as an athlete who has put in the hard work over a decade to become the best in the world.

    teams like chelsea and man city who have billionaires pumping in money (that they overspend by 50-100m even a few years after the initial input) means they are like athletes who inject steriods and performance enhancing drugs for a quick fix to success. that is cheating in case you didnt know.

    as for Montpellier, it is a wonderful story, but i feel the french league will go the same way. PSG have only had the financial doping for 1 year… even chelsea and man city took a few years to finally win anything. eventually, this cheating will show and they will win the league.

  • goonergerry

    Notoverthehill – yes you are right that there is no identifiable budget surplus of 35- 50m in Arsenals accounts for transfers-It is a myth.

    About the only chance of a big money purchase is if RVP is sold for cash and even then it is very unlikely because Arsenal will not pay equivalent salaries. Eden Hazard for example was never an option-not when he already earns 100k per week.

    Just because 2 clubs who have won trophies this year (by the narrowest possible margins) have spent huge amounts on expensive players-it has to be said wasted huge amounts on players who have not performed better than much cheaper ones- does not mean that is the only way to win-and indeed the cost of many of their players may have been incidental to their victories.

    Both Chelsea and Man City had other things in common-like defensive tactics, an ability to grind out results against better footballing sides, better goalkeepers than we had that they did not pay huge amounts for, better defensive capability throughout the team than we had.

    Arsenal do currently have the 4th largest salary budget in the EPL. Should that not mean that we at least compete with the top 2 and not end up 19 points behind the second placed team with early exits from all cup competitions to help us get third place?

    Surely we did not get value for money for the total outlay on salaries this season? Not when we have to play a keeper with a shoulder injury for 5 weeks because we don’t trust either of the reserves to come in and do a job. Not when we have had one effective striker all season.
    Not when a team with a salary budget 20%-30% less than ours finishes one point lower.
    Not when we concede 49 goals in an EPL season.

    It never ceases to amaze me that comments on here only ever attribute injuries to bad luck.
    Whilst we have had bad luck with injuries again this year-maybe not all of it is down to bad luck-with Diaby, JW, KG, Frimpong, Mertesacker for example, and why risk Santos our only fit LB in a nothing game?

    Why should we assume that players with significant injury records will not pick up injuries next year? If it was business- players injury records would be factored into the risk analysis.

    And what is going to change next season for referees to give us a higher proportion of debatable decisions?

    When it comes to injuries, it is easy to over-look the luck we did have this season- RVP our only effective striker- who himself has had his fair share of injuries playing in every league game-10 more than he has ever played before- scoring 30 goals and 13 assists. IF he stays, what are the chances of him staying injury free for another season?

    One avenue which may not be so open this transfer window is for the club to balance the books by selling our top players like RVP and Theo for big money to Spanish and Italian teams who can’t pay in cash.
    Who in their right mind would trust them to be able to pay off by instalments in the current financial climate?

    I