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The application of a common sense solution to Arsenal’s problems.

By Tony Attwood

The common sense analysis of Arsenal’s problems comes down to this: because of the ineptitude of the manager and the board, Arsenal don’t have good enough players.  We should spend more, and change the manager.  Possibly a new head of the club with a lot of dosh would allow us to spend our way out of trouble.

It can work.  When Manchester City was sold in order to be part of the promotion of the World Cup in the middle East it had all the money from the oil rich state pumped into it and the club won the league.

On the other hand Chelsea have had unlimited funds – but have spent quite a spot of money on changing managers.   They have not won a league match in their last seven – apparently their worst run since dear old Glenn Hoddle was manager in 1995.

So they suffer fans’ protests – in fact they were suffering them even before he took control.  I don’t like their manager, although of course I have never met him.  But reviving confidence in a team which has lost a number of its natural leaders looks hard going.  If Benitez does turn things around, it will be impressive.

If Benítez does not get Chelsea into the next part of the Champions League all he has left are the domestic bits and pieces.  

But it doesn’t look good.  And yet owners of clubs often appoint managers that the crowd don’t like.   I don’t think anyone much liked Howard Wilkinson and certainly not when he turned up at Sunderland.    Newcastle didn’t take to  Sam Allardyce and in fact West Ham haven’t always loved him.  His public pronouncements about fans that don’t like his style and his bizarre outpouring that one can only denounce that which one has personally heard or seen (thus allowing most of us to ignore such minor matters as the Holocaust, the Vietnam War, the way the Taliban treat women and destroy the relics of other religions etc etc).

What on earth Tottenham were thinking about when they appointed George Graham at Tottenham I have no idea, and as for Villa giving McLeish a job, that just seems plain insane.

And this is the problem.  If Mr Wenger were to go, who would we get in his place.   Benitez (who might well be unemployed any day soon).  Or Jose M. – another ex Chelsea man who is seemingly on the way out of Real Mad. 

And then there is the issue of the finances.   Just imagine (if you can) being a Leeds supporter.  Ken Bates weaves his magic after the club collapses under a mountain of debt.  Eventually he sells the club to GFH Capital – which looks good because they are from Dubai, and there is money in Dubai.

Then the PR spokesbeing and chief operating officer of GFH declines to answer any questions about himself.  Then his web site is taken down.

But David Haigh, the man in question, won’t answer questions – and why should he?  After all he’s only been taking over the club for seven months and these things take time.
But Leeds United Supporters Trust say, ‘We have concerns that are not being addressed,” either amount the money, the owners, or the fact that the new top man in the club has in the past written about how wonderful Man U are.

Perhaps the problem with Leeds man Haigh is that he puts up things on his web site that suggest he has done stuff and won stuff, which actually wasn’t quite right.  The removal of the site was apparently just a coincidence.

But what is interesting is that the website for GFH Capital is seemingly registeredd to Mr Haigh himself despite Gulf Finance House having done $$$billions of deals in the last few years.

The Guardian also reveals that Haigh once stood in local elections for the Conservatives in London and came ninth out of thirteen.  But that isn’t really relevant to football.  I once stood for the local council and came third out of three, but I am not sure that stops me being interested in football.

Anyway, in two weeks Leeds United will be owned by a firm based in the Cayman Islands, and from then on we’ll have no idea what is going on (not that we have any idea just now).

The training ground and the Elland Road ground are already owned by a firm in the Virgin Islands.

So what’s my point?  Simply that replacing the board, and Mr Wenger, doesn’t guarantee success.   Be careful what you wish for.

“Common sense” I am told, suggest that a full scale change is needed now.  And it could mean we ended up like Man City, winning the league but with an FFP problem.  Or we might end up like Leeds United.  Or Chelsea.

Be careful what you wish for.

The books…

The sites…

————————

83 comments to The application of a common sense solution to Arsenal’s problems.

  • Chris Doyle

    It hurts, but it is really what it is. The so called elite of current Arsenal players don’t match with any of the potentials that we can call them “Title Contenders”. Van Persie, Nasri and other players who left the club were absolutely in their right frame of mind. Games are won with the spirit and the desire to win, but not with the un-professional approaches like we can see in the current Arsenal players, taking the games for granted that they have won it already. Why Man U is champion every year, because of their desire and hunger to be champions every year, and their never give up attitude towards the game. Even we can see Van Persie in making make the precious saves in his own half. And Mr. Professor is not bothered about it, because he wants to make the club rich, selling the core of the players to his rivals and giving back the wealth to the Master to save his job. Goalkeeping department is shame, having 3-4 goalkeepers of same cheap quality and not doing any business in the transfer window is another example of Mr. Professor conservative approach towards the club. You have the money after selling Van Persie and others, and still not buying a world class striker, considering that your core groups of players are leaving the club because they believe this club is gone crazy like a selling club, without any real desire to do well at the top level.
    So if Arsenal will be in the top six (06) at the end of the season it will be huge achievement.

  • Anyway, from the very first paragraphy your article doesn’t seem to be worth finishing. It doesn’t mean if you have difficulties in your family you turn to your wife or chase her away. Which player in Arsenal do you think is worthy keeping or selling? Can Arsenal make a line up of 11 plus 5 subs according to you?

    Do you know that Arsenal is a business but not charity?
    Were you invited to support Arsenal? Just as you came, find where you enjoy your football. With me, its the players who need to be pushed to deliver. They are good players but they are not using their heads at all.

  • thundertinygooner

    would that be Chelsea the European champions,possibly just about to be World champions-the team that has done two doubles and won the cup three times in the past four years?
    The issue with them is their lack of style in parting with their managers but at least three of them are a significantly better bet than 2012 (Mr.) Wenger.
    Martin Samuel is worth reading in today’s Mail. i think the Gazidis hype has not convinced him.
    Klopp,Guardiola,Loew and Rijkaard all suggest themselves to me as much better bets than (Mr) Wenger

  • Roland C Rozario

    Let’s not be hasty and being too emotional.
    FACT: Wenger is still a good manager and who, on record, done a fantastic job for The Club Arsenal and the players, without a doubt, who has been nurtured into the Arsenal playing mould!
    In this modern world of employee / employer relationship, at both ends, there is no sense of ‘loyalty’ … Simply its the pull of monetary greed [to extent].
    FACT: The players must take the greater part of responsbility, in any game …. be it a win/lose or a draw.
    They are the guys who play and dictate ‘their job’
    The greater flak should be on the players!
    So hopefully this winter window will see, hopefully>>
    1. Critical recruitments
    2. The ‘release of the deadwood’ that are just idle and bechwarmers for the best part!
    3. The introduction of the ‘potential reserve’s and the recall of the loanees …. to name just a few >> Ryo, Campbell, Gnabry, Eisfeld,
    We just be surprised when they take on the big boys since the seniors appear to have lost their way most of the time!!

  • Stuart

    Tony,
    I think you are asking a bit much to have common sense applied to anything football in England.

  • Jed

    Common sense is telling me we have a decent squad that are performing below their level because of outdated management techniques. The footballing world has moved on and the boss is still stuck in 2004. He hasn’t changed in the last 7 years, we see the same problems year after year, only a little bit worse each time as the good players get disillusioned and leave.

    Whilst you are right to point out that there are managers out there who would make the situation worse, the fact of the matter is that for Arsene’s £7.5m a year we could get pretty much any manager in the world to join us – for me the man to go for is Klopp, he’s the 21st century Wenger.

  • Stevie E

    Jed
    The footballing landscape has changed ridiculously since 2004. It’s not really fair to say a management technique hasn’t changed when you consider what has actually happened in football since then (I.e. the billionaire era). I agree the squad is performing below par right now but I don’t presume to know why. I trust that we have one of the greatest managers in the world at the helm right now. Could Klopp do better? Don’t know, but at the moment we have a man who’s record in unquestionable at the helm and I trust him to so the best for the club. One thing I do know for sure, Klopp couldn’t stop the players who have left leaving because the finances are what they are. We’ll never know if another manager could have got Arsenal into the top four for 16 years…

  • Jed

    Stevie E

    That is the point, football has changed and Wenger hasn’t. Ferguson keeps changing his approach, Wenger doesn’t.

    Wenger’s record before 2005 was unquestionable; but since 2005 he does have questions to answer, I simply don’t understand how you could sit through this season’s games – especially Swansea – and think he still has what it takes. We were a shambles on Saturday and thoroughly embarrassed by a team assembled for peanuts.

    My loyalty is to Arsenal Football Club, not to Arsene Wenger. Managers come and go, the Club always remains. Wenger has had his day, it’s time to look to the future and bring in a new man with a new approach.

  • Tony K

    Hi Guys,

    Its been a while since I have written here but I felt I really have to comment today.

    O.K so the team is going through a bad patch and things are not gelling. It was admittedly madness to sell Song and I was bitterly disappointed about that. Especially as we have not replaced him.

    However all these people calling for Wenger ot be sacked need to go and support another club. Look at the clubs llining up for Wenger, our Shogun manager. PSG, Real Madrid but to name two.

    What exactly does that say? That we have one of the top top managers.

    However the recruitment by the club of new players needs to be upgraded and the ambition shown by the club needs to real and not just words only.

    It is now impossible to win the league without spending significantly.

    We need to either pay off the players currently at the club and not use or use them,. I speak of Arshavin, Djorou, Coquelin.

    I am not sure whether Chamack, Sqillaci and the other fringe players can have any realy postive impact so they should be sold even paying off their contracts to get them off the books. It is demotiovating for the first team playerrs to know that several players are only picking up salaries but not contributing.

    Arsene has to have a long serious look at what he is trying to achieve and what the clubis trying to achieve and ask whether both are the same and even compatible.

    Personally I DO NOT and NEVER blame Arsene, I blame the board 100% for having no ambition, balls and most of all love for the club of its suffering fans, of which I include myself. It has always been the boards decision to give Arsene the bare minimum to work with. Season after season they have ripped the spine out of the team until there is no more team just a bunch of individuals playing for a club they only just became a part of.

    Problems with the squad are this. We are short of a class left back. Gibbs is not that and is far from that. He is a poor version of Clichy, who is a poor version of Cashley.
    We need urgently a defensive midfield beast. Selling Song was nonsense and L cannot forgive it.
    Also we need a striker. I don’t want hear about goal poacher or good header, or small or large. I want a player that can score anytime, especially when things are tight. That type of player cost money. There is no getting around it. Henry costed around 12million and that was then.

    What about Damiou, or Doumbia, Cavani, or even Falcoa. Is it outrageous for us to bid 38million on a player and pay them 150,000 a week. I don’t think so. Its more outrageous to live in denial about what is happening around us and to the club as a whole. If ever there was a time for a marquee signing that time has come now. Both to signal to the fans and players the seriousness ofd the club but also to show the rest of the football world we are Arsenal and we will not be pushed around by anyone.

    I fear these cries will fall on deaf ears as I have absolutely no faith in the current board and their true interests has nothing to do with on field success for Arsenal as they have clearly demonstrated over the last few years.

    However I am united with this site 100% in backing the Arsene [he will be hurting more than any of us right now] and ask all true fans to really get behind the players and the manager and show them some love. We are 5 points behind 3rd place I think now, so its not yet a chasm. It can be fixed.

    I will be back to deal with any haters.

  • Tasos

    Arsenal are a shambles?

    Vincent Kompany recently remarked “Arsenal are the best team we’ve played so far this season”.

    Form is temporary, given the required time to recover, Arsenal will regain momentum.

  • owens

    Dont know wat to say…just sick and tired of the sort of result we get week in week out.

  • Stevie E

    Jed
    2005 to Swansea…

    Right… Nothing has happened since then… No new stadium, no billionaire clubs, no consistent top 4 finishing… Cos it’s easy to get top 4 right? It’s easy to compete against unlimited resources yeah? You know fuck all son and the fact you think being in the top four for the past 7 years is nothing just proves what kind of supporter you are… A jonny come lately wanna be trofie hunter. Have a look at Swansea’s league positioning over the past 7 years. Mug.

  • jake

    sick of 5 2 against spurs or 6 1 against Southampton?

    its been 2 poor performances on the trot hopefully these poor performances are the exception to the rule that proves Arsenal are a good footballing team.

  • RIZ

    I partly agree with both Jed and Stevie… The Arsenal situation is a difficult one.

    After 4 games this season we looked great, then Diaby got injured and we haven’t been the same. But, in recent weeks Wenger has made lots of poor tactical decisions i.e. Ramsey on the wing, Arteta as our anchor man, Poldi on the wing (his goals to shots ratio is excellent), leaving Walcott on the bench, not playing our best central defenders, playing Santos anywhere (he is so, so poor).

    I have to blame Wenger for not replacing Song, you could say he wanted to replace him with Diaby, but then that must be bad management as you can only assume he will be injured. And although I think Arteta is a great player, he is slow and can’t tackle.

    Our actual style of play has been poor this season too as we seem to be creating fewer and fewer chances every game. My biggest gripe is that we spend the most on season tickets, yet we don’t even see good football any more..

    Wenger has been amazing for Arsenal in the past, unlucky over the last few years with the billionaire clubs and what seems like a ridiculous injury record to players, but he is looking tired and he does earn £7.5 million…

  • nicky

    @Tasos,
    The only voice of reason in a mass of panic.

  • Nick Lee

    Definition of panic:
    a sudden overwhelming fear, with or without cause, that produces hysterical or irrational behavior, and that often spreads quickly through a group of persons or animals.

    Panic don’t last for 5 year right?

    More like a cumulation of frustration, disillusion and perceived betrayal leading to angst.

    Booing, criticisms et al are the effects, not the cause of the current issues.

  • Andrei

    In order to address current Arsenal problems rationally there are two things that will need to happen.

    First, stop externalizing the problem i.e. blaming officiating, billionaire clubs, international breaks, tough schedule, weather, etc. Accept that the problem exists (it appears there is no consensus even about this) and it is internal and systemic. Therefore it is not about tweaking or quick fixes. It is not about finding a scapegoat (e.g. Wenger, the board or Arshavin). Everyone is part of the problem and everyone needs to change with all options on the table.

    Secondly, stop using FUD tactics. E.g. “If Mr Wenger were to go, who would we get in his place. Benitez … or Jose M.” or if Kroenke were to go Usmanov that ugly Russian-Uzbek dude would take over.

  • nikkogunners

    Maybe it time to shift things around abit. If i was named coach for tomorrow match i would try this team
    —–Giroud-Walcott
    ——–Arteta
    –Carzola —- Wilshere
    –Conquelin-Vermalaen
    Gibbs – Mertesacker- Sagna
    ———Szczesny

    The extra man in the midfield and a close knit 3 man defense and yes Vermalaen and Coquelin making a pair up in the defensive mid area. Walcott gets into the two man striking role. Arteta in advanced position with Wilshere and Carzola in the less advanced roles in the midfieled area. Second half podolski comes for either Walcott or Giroud.

  • Tasos

    @nikkogunners

    Here’s the Arsenal squad:

    Szczesny, Vermaelen, Rosicky, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ramsey, Squillaci, Coquelin, Arshavin, Jenkinson, Gervinho, Chamakh, Angha, Ansah, Hajrovic, Meade, Monteiro, Shea, Akpom.

    The games a dead rubber.

    WBA on Saturday takes precedent.

  • nikkogunners

    @Tasos, then testing ground should be WBa, we need to find some goals and i feel this squad arrangements can get us the goals, Arteta scores them once in while, Giroud and Walcott had developed an understanding some time back and it could be back…Carzola and Wilsher too can turn up with them and Vermalaen, without the shackles of staying and defending can score 5-10 odd ones…Barca would be scared

  • Nick Lee

    @Andrei

    Well said and totally agree.

    Can I also add that we be civil in our comments. No name calling, shouting et al. Opinions defer, and naturally so. We are here for the common good of Arsenal

  • Shard

    Andrei,

    Who are you talking about in your post? The club doesn’t say anything about an external problem. And the club do need to think about what happens if Wenger goes. SO I assume you aren’t talking about the club.
    On the other hand, if you are talking about the article, and Tony, he, nor anyone among us, has the power to “address current Arsenal problems”. So who are you talking to?

  • americangooner

    @shard you’re correct. I think most in the arsenal blogosphere believe that UA is a unofficial mouthpiece of arsenal and the writers here are paid employees of arsenal.. UA writers can write any article that is logical enough and debatable. I find article here intriguing so as to welcome questions and a common sense debate. but whatever is presented here is solely an opinion not arsenal’s or wenger’s stance. I never heard wenger explicitly blaming the current form against RA, weather, schedule or anything else. he is determined to change things and I hope the players are behind him.

    Anyways I will be watching the CL match despite the U21 team playing. its going to be a new experience for the boys.

  • RedGooner

    Jed,
    Have to really disagree that we have a good squad but are not performing because of out of date managerial skills …Utd City Chelsea can afford to play different systems with 4 good strikers each we cant we dont have the cash to buy and pay them.

    We had to settle for a system that buys more midfielders and wingers and one decent striker while waiting for commercial deals to improve I have no doubt wenger with finances will become great again….
    The biggest issue is the rubbish from the board saying we have funds to spend the whole time common sense tells you we didnt. It could be a long tough hard season even if we buy in january but from next year we should start to see the tide turn slowly.

  • nicky

    Until Arsene Wenger retires and writes the inevitable autobiography (what a tome that will be!) we will never know the inside story of transfer dealing, wage negotiations and contracts over the past few years.
    Whether Arsene was restricted in his freedom of action in any way. And how much control is exercised at the Emirates by the Club’s financial division.
    A best seller is assured, full of surprises.

  • Adam

    About the Leeds takeover, When an announcement is made that an investment fund is behind a person then that is all you really need to know.

  • slugboy

    Arsenal are not a bad team. Arsene is not a bad manager. We are playing poorly, but for what reasons? A couple of years ago we played well but let in a lot of goals to crosses. We were too short as a team. Before that we were too one dimensional- lots of tipp tappy and no end product. Each year, we finish top four, qualify for Europe, adjust the players and resolve the problem of the previous year. This year, I fear we are a bit slow and a bit static. Slow and static at the back, slow and static at the front. We will adjust it and come back, because the players are good.
    I do have a worry about squad age and depth. Young people are not resilient. To few quality players will lead to reliance on the same guys. They will tire.

    Finally, I agree to an extent with the original post. Who would replace Wenger and keep with the sustainable ideology ? One thing for sure; we wil never compete financially with the oil barons

  • Andrei

    @Shard Well the original post talks about “address current Arsenal problems” and what it means to apply “common sense” in solving them. So was responding in kind and posted some thoughts on what it means to apply “rational approach” to the same problem. So you may say it applies to anyone interested in discussing the topic.

  • Stuart

    Jed,
    I can’t see how an (as you call it) ‘out dated management technique’ would result in what we are seeing now, if Wengers style is ‘very 2004’ then surely we would be seeing performances like that of the Invincibles (not necessarily unbeaten runs but same performance on the pitch). Just because time has passed, does not mean that a technique used years ago has gone out of date and therefore you will no longer see players playing from their heart and soul.

  • Pat

    Nicky, I’m looking forward to that book too. I hope he writes it. It’s the only thing to look forward to once Arsene Wenger retires.
    I heard what Mikel Arteta said about the Swansea match on the Arsenal site. He expressed understanding for the fans’ disappointment. He also said Arsenal could have won the match. That’s football. Those Swansea goals went in late and the second one went in because we were trying to get one back.
    I think people put far too much emphasis on one match, disappointing as the result was.
    The players need to stick together. And we need to stick by them. And the manager.
    Those players haven’t suddenly become rubbish overnight.

  • bjtgooner

    Tony – I very much agree with the last line of your article “Be careful what you wish for.”

    The present anti-Wenger hysteria is not just about fans being unhappy with results. Of course fans are unhappy, but many of the attacks on Wenger are due to instability – caused by the presence of the fat Russian.

    The concept or rather the hope that the fat man will pump money in and allow the Arsenal to spend like City or Chelsea is not substantiated. Don’t forget this man suggested that the shareholders (obviously including himself) should take a dividend – rejected by Stan. Further, we all need to look at this man’s record and the way in which he has accumulated his money – does he look like a benefactor – definitely not!

    For now, we need to keep our heads and back the team and manager. Lets remember while we all think we know a bit about football, we only know a fraction of what Wenger knows. Wenger is still the best man for the job, we need to support him and let him get on with it.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Agree bjt, if usmanov wanted it that much, he could easily make kronke….supposedly a money man…an offer he cannot refuse. I think there is an agenda against the board from usmanov and Darren dein, and maybe clubs worried any success we could have may make them look silly pleading against ffp , wenger is just a lightening conductor caught in this crossfire, a magnet lazy elements of the gutter press , bitter fans and spud protagonists on the Internet. An easy target…..no trophies, yet some of these elements want him replaced by the multi trophied moyes…Wenger has made mistakes this season, maybe for good reasons, but he is certainly nothing like what some are portraying him to be.

  • C4

    My goodness, daily mail and guardian are in overdrive, churning out AA pieces at an alarming rate. These guys just don’t seem to learn. Oh well, I guess they’ll suddenly claim to have supported Wenger all this time once he turns things around again, and the sheople with goldfish memories will keep dancing to their tune. Same old same old I guess. Amazing how malleabe the masses’ minds can be.

  • Nick Lee

    1. a person deemed to have a tainted record does not mean that he will do that again, re Russian shareholder. Neither a person with clean record exempt him from committing fraud et al. (just look at the suited men in Wall Street. Do they look like crooks or have past records?). In short, we are not in the inner circle of AFC to comment. Conspiracy theories and perceived agendas don’t solve our current football issues

    2. we should focus on what’s good for Arsenal. Nobody is indispensable in this world, not Jobs not Bill Gates. So why should Arsene be an exception? If Arsene is beneficial for Arsenal, then he should stay. There’s no need to engage in unnecessary FUD ala snake-oil salesmen.

  • Nick Lee

    3. Fan reaction… its getting boring trying to justify this as a knee-jerk action, game to game reaction or fans trying to knife Arsene and hang him out to dry. It is a cumulative effect, not a 1 day affair.

    4. Why must we quote extremes when presenting our arguments? The super super rich and Leeds for examples. Are there no rational in-between that fits our model and football

  • Gord

    @Shard

    When I seen an article at the BBC about this

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-20583970

    My thought was to mention it to UntoldArsenal. I am surprised that nobody has commented on it. How can three 15-16 year olds kill an official? They have been arrested. They will get their hand’s slapped. No harm, no foul.

    It was nice to not see any bad headlines after Hill-Wood had a heart attack. I was sure the AAA blogspace was going to use this as a starting point for trouble.

    Yes, I can support XYZ while they are winning. But as soon as they tie or lose, we need to change the manager. And it is all BS. These people aren’t supporters, they haven’t a clue what it means to support a team.

    And I wish everyone (except the AAA bloggers) a wonderful holiday season.

  • Gord

    I guess Untold Arsenal blocks certain non-html things in angle brackets. The paragraph starting with “Yes, I can support XYZ” was supposed to be in a quasi-XML markup indicating sarcasm. I wonder how one should do that at Untold Arsenal? Use square brackets?

    Take care, real supporters.

  • rupert cook

    @Gord, it’s not when we tie or lose, it’s the constant repeat of the same mistakes season after season or haven’t you noticed?

    @Jed, I understand what you’re saying but this team doesn’t play like the invincibles. It plays slow tippy tappy football in an attempt, it seems, to emulate Barca. The invincible team was a lot swifter and let’s face it had far better players. Very few of this current crop would make the subs bench for that great team.

    I have no problem with emulating Barca but the one thing they do, which we are rather inefficient at, is they press the opposition in packs when they don’t have the ball. We need to work harder when we don’t have possession.

    Comparing Leeds to Arsenal is like asset stripper of the poor George Osborne comparing the English economy to Greece’s.

    I find this demonization of Usmanov by some on here remarkable and yet Kroenke, who I suspect couldn’t care less if Arsenal win trophies as long as AFC makes a profit, is immune to criticism. I suppose when you are virtually invisible you are hard to criticize.

    Having said I don’t trust Kroenke I also don’t trust Usmanov. Whether he does pump loads of money into Arsenal or not (and why hasn’t he already if he’s such a fan?) I for one will seriously question my support of Arsenal. Like Abramovich Usmanov will have made his money by nefarious means and I don’t think we want his crooked money financing our team.

    But then you could argue what money is clean? People trusted banks and they got ripped off. There seems to be no honesty anywhere.

    Sorry I’ve started arguing with myself here.

    Good luck tonight AFC in Greece. I hope the reserves can show the first team how it’s done.

  • Yommex

    Lumping all sorts of criticism together under ‘Wenger must Go’ is a great disservice to our great club, Arsenal. Some of the criticisms are really founded and ought not be discarded as coming from the AAAs.

    If you are a true supporter of Arsenal Football Club, you cannot sincerely claim to be satisfied with the trend in recent years. An occasional blip can be understood but when it’s becoming a norm, it calls for serious attention. That I think is the concern of some of us posting on this site. I, for one, would not come here to slate anyone but would rather respect everyone’s opinions and would expect same.

    Lately, the performance of the players on the field is a far cry from what we have grown accustomed to under the Wenger era and the reason for this obviously would be multifactorial. The board, the manager (coaching crew) and the players cannot be absolved of any blame in the matter. Attacking anyone that questions the role of the manager in our present imbroglio and laying the blame at the feet of either just the board or the players is short of the articulate academic discourse this site has always provided. There no doubt would always be one or two folks out of order which is quite normal.

    Ideally, every team plays to its strength to maximize its opportunities. Looking at the current Arsenal team, we don’t seem to be doing that. We simply don’t have the quality of players for the tactics we employ match in match out. That’s one of the reasons why the team has struggled lately. We are too predictable and easy to nullify! All Ferguson had to do was to deploy Rooney to man-mark Carzola and that was the end of our game plan. We are no longer as fast as we used to be so our passing game has lost its effectiveness. Any team that wants to play against us now just needs to adopt a pressing game and we are out of our strides.

    The Invincibles were dynamic all over the pitch. Henry was very highly skillful and unpredictable. The team played to his strength and recorded success. Our playing formation then basically was 4-4-2. But as soon as he left, Adebayor stepped up in the 07/08 season and we were still up there with the best. I believe Arsenal would have won that season’s league but for the referees. When Wenger realized that Adebayor would leave, he switched to the current formation of 4-3-3 so as to play to the strength of our midfield of Fabregas, Nasri, Rosicky, Flamini, Song and Diaby. We were also very highly effective. But since Fabregas and Nasri left, we have stuck to the same formation for all our games despite not having the benefit of continuity in our midfield. Wilshire made the innocuous observation earlier in the season of playing alongside Nasri and Fabregas the last time he featured in the side. It takes time before a midfield gels. I think it’s the manager’s responsibilty to analyze this and come up with a solution. That explains the angst of some of the supporters against Wenger at Aston Villa.

    I think changing the tactical formation periodically would do this side a great deal of good until the midfield beds in. Players that cannot be trusted should no longer be acquired – Park, Chamakh, . We have enough legs in our academy for that. There are gems in the reserves that need the opportunity of the odd games when there is the need to rest the tired legs. The results cannot be much different from what we are now seeing but the benefit would almost be unquantifiable. Players like Benik Afobe, Einsfeld, Frimpong, Ryo, Gnabry, Chuks Aneke, Joel Campbell should be trusted some more and one would be surprised at what competition they’ll provide for those ahead of them moreso they also represent the future of the club.

    These are some common sense solutions proffered.

  • rupert cook

    Lots of good points Yommex. I have my doubts about Frimpong but I’d certainly like to see Eisfield get some time in the first team.

  • Tumelo

    I have to agree with you Yommex. I think Wenger has also noticed it but might be a little slow in implementing it(the formation change). watching the Everton game, it certainly looked like we played a variation of the 442 formation and it looked much better but for the silly mistakes that lead to the equalizer. I think with TR7 returning to the team, we might see more and more changes to the formation but we also need to address the players’ movement on and of the ball, for me it has been the most frustrating thing to watch us win the ball in midfield and everyone off the ball making forward runs into marked spaces, and no one making an intelligent run into space for the pass. I have been very impressed by Einsfeld since seeing him in the pre-season games and watching him bringing the much needed calm and control in the capital one thriller. True its has been a poor start, true we have our work cut out going forward but I am also enraged by those that just want Wenger’s head because we couldn’t beat Swansea, Everton, Villa and the likes only because we well off than they are, glossing over the fact that these teams have improved tremendously. I don’t there are anymore easy encounters in the league. All the supposed big teams are going to struggle against the so called smaller teams this season as well just watch and see.

  • Dave C

    With all the negativity levied at the players year after year, I’m surprised they can continue to win a match let alone finish in the top four. If your constantly told you crap over and over by the media, fans, and bloogers, you eventually begin to believe they are right. There’s no arguing we have good enough players to finish in the top four, but constantly bashing them isn’t going to make them play better. A supporter by definition is someone who supports. If you aren’t doing that, then your not a supporter. We live in an age where people play FM or fantasy and think they can do better. You can’t, and if you could, you’d be the manager. So shut up and support the club because all the negativity is definitely not helping.

  • Doublegooner

    Dave C:

    So it’s basically down to the negativity of the fans that we under perform & make the same mistakes annually ?

    It’s down the negativity of the fans that the best players are sold & leave ?

    So when I’ve often sung my guts out for the team & then they play like 2nd raters and I bollock the manager & players after on blog, does that not make me a supporter ?

    Maybe I should become another sheep instead.

  • bjtgooner

    @Dave C

    Well said. You have obviously wound up the xenophobic double talking Doublegooner. I wonder if before he was singing his guts out was he marching his same guts out – at the double?

  • Stuart

    @ DoubleGooner
    One thing is for certain, negativity doesn’t help

  • Mandy Dodd

    Completely agree Dave c. Also worth knowing that not all those bashing arsenal are actually arsenal supporters, a few quite the opposite. How do I know….my cousin is one of them, constantly goading me of his tales how he is helping cause civil war amongst arsenal supporters by pretending to be one of the disgruntled. He is young and not the smartest yet convinced he is playing a part in the teams downfall, if I ever discover his alias Id….or ids. …..I would be extremely tempted to let you all know them.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Forgot to mention, my cousin is a die hard spud. But that’s enough of the dark and embarrassing secrets in my family for one evening.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Don’t worry Mandy Dodd, each family has its black sheep 😉 But to be honest… I don’t have a spud in the family that I know 🙂 Lord have mercy the day I would find one… LOL (just joking)

  • WalterBroeckx

    Bad joke after my earlier article today… fuck… sorry…

  • Mandy Dodd

    You are lucky Walter……this guy is not just a spud, but one who pretends to be an arsenal fan when it suits. Still ….I suppose some families have worse to contend with, maybe those related to jimmy savile, himmler, lee Harvey Oswald , Margaret thatcher or Phil Collins.

  • Linz

    So Tony as you marched to remove Terry Neill(I remember you wrote it on this very site)i take it you were the original AAA.So when YOU decide its ok to get rid of a manager thats fine,when anyone else does it they are not proper fans.You sir are a hypocrite.

  • Doublegooner

    Mandy, imagine how embarrassing it would be if you had an Ian Wright or Frank Mclintock as a family member moaning away about the club all time.

    You’d have to spend every moment trying to re-educating them !

  • bob

    Tony K,
    My Kudos for your getting real:
    “We need urgently a defensive midfield beast. Selling Song was nonsense and L cannot forgive it.
    “Also we need a striker. I don’t want hear about goal poacher or good header, or small or large. I want a player that can score anytime, especially when things are tight. That type of player cost money. There is no getting around it. Henry costed around 12 million and that was then.
    “What about Damiou, or Doumbia, Cavani, or even Falcoa. Is it outrageous for us to bid 38million on a player and pay them 150,000 a week. I don’t think so. Its more outrageous to live in denial about what is happening around us and to the club as a whole. If ever there was a time for a marquee signing that time has come now…”

  • Mandy Dodd

    I would be very respectful to either Ian wright or frank, complete Gooners legends…..would be the same with Merson or Adams ….but maybe not Stewart Robson….not really that status….but would respectfully ask any of them if they had done as much for the club as wenger in their careers, very very few have done so much to build a club as our manager has done. Since he has arrived, turnover has increased ten fold, our stadium has increased significantly in capacity, state of the art training ground, cash rich, sponsorship deals coming through. We need to start moving ahead now and that means greater success, but double Gooner, those you mentioned are entitled to their opinions, but history will not put them anywhere near what wenger has done…and is doing.
    BTW …hopefully by feb, we should have another top Dutch striker in the team.

  • Gord

    @Rupert Cook

    I’m an engineer (MSE), if I design a material based on properties I am supposed to meet, and the material does not meet those specifications, I have made a mistake (and I will be held accountable).

    The condition of all players eligible to play in a game is a trade secret. And Arsenal protects that knowledge (as does all other teams). Hence, anything you see in the press, is either a guess, or it is a report by someone who will shortly be fired for communicating trade secrets.

    The manager picks the team that he thinks has the best chance of winning on the day. And he has access to all of the data. And he augments that by giving instructions to players, as to what they should try to do while playing. And this includes the substitutes. And none of us in the general population have any clue as to what any of this is. It is a trade secret.

    In terms of game management, there is NO ability for any fan to be able to PROVE that management made a MISTAKE, as there is not enough information available to do so.

    Let’s look at buying and selling players. Very similar situation. And staff member leaking information is likely to be fire very soon. And nothing we see in the press or the blogs has any basis.

    All we as fans see, is results. We may not like the results. We can think about why such as result could happen. We have ABSOLUTELY NO ABILITY TO ASSIGN ANY RESULT AS TO BEING A MISTAKE ON THE DECISION BY THE MANAGER!!!!!!! If the manager says that he made a mistake public-ally, we have a mistake. Those admissions are rare.

    Fans are willing to compile there lists of MISTAKES, but fans need to realize that there is NO PROOF that ANY of them is a MISTAKE.

    And if you can’t follow that for whatever team you follow, you are not a fan of that team.

    And please don’t bother us with your drivel.

  • Gord

    And I apologize for the couple of typos which crept through.

    The summary still holds.

    Please don’t bother us with your drivel.

  • Dave C

    @doublegoober
    Sheep or not, I’m a supporter, by definition. As far as you, the truth hurts. Doesn’t it?

  • Doublegooner

    Dave C:

    How do you define yourself as a supporter ?

  • rupert cook

    @Gord, fine, then our defensive problem that’s existed for about three years is nothing to do with the manager? He bought the players, he picked the squad and for the last three years we’ve conceded more goals every season.

    But it’s not the manager’s fault and we’re not allowed to have an opinion because we don’t know every issue. In that case why have an opinion on anything? It’s an opinion ok, don’t get all flustered, and that’s all; meanwhile the evidence on the field speaks for itself.

  • TommieGun

    Very easy common sense solution, Tony: You are a very good writer, but (no offence) a bit of a demagogue. Your post deals with “what will happen if we sack Wenger”. Well its easy – common sense, even: keep Wenger, do something (and I mean ANYTHING)about (in this order and in particular) the major shareholder, the chief executive officer, and the rest of the board members who decided that it’s ok to turn a football club into a business prospect. Very, very easy.

  • bob

    Gord,
    You have given a passionate recipe for silence. Yes, silence.
    Is that what you want? Or is it verbal rose petals
    only? Is it sheep only? Is it lemmings only? Is it
    stiff armed salutes with the same two words 24×7?
    You might consider that your passion to protect trade secrets
    is an iron muzzle on loyal critics whose passion is a better
    display on the pitch for the side we love.
    Silence may be golden to you, but it steals oxygen from others.

  • A. Stewart

    @ Gord, it’s football…not rocket science, brain surgery, resolving geo-political conflicts, nuclear physics…just football.

    It doesn’t take a genius to understand the basics of the sport as played (regardless of level). Obvious and repeated mistakes are just that, obvious and repeated mistakes.

    And just so you know, if you dismiss us mere fans as having know knowledge..do note, that many ex-pros including former gunners, and people far closer connected to the professional game in various capacities have also called or questioned Arsenal/Wenger on the same repeated and obvious mistakes.

    It’s just football bro. Football. It’s truly not as hard to figure out as you make it seem.

    If anything, the beauty of this sport is actually its simplicity.

  • Stuart

    We Rupert, you will be happy to know we have conceded less goals this season against the same teams 🙂

  • FAST forward,D year is 2012 D arsenal have become man$city and last season they bought sorry won a trophy have a new coach macini arsene and are certainly out of the Europa league sorry champions league or both. The Arsenal fanatics want more money to buy more trophies !!Hey give us a break n go look for better clubs. As always the devils surrounds us during our trying times; but we are always victorious. So who gives a fuck come next season we will be in the champions league and we might be there as the defending CHAMPS.Ha ha ha i just like d club.

  • Gord

    I don’t advocate silence, but there is entirely too much that people complain about results because we have incomplete knowledge. I do have interests in space (and could be called a rocket scientist) and I have studied nuclear physics since grade 5 (age 11-12). So in some senses, I could be called a nuclear engineer. But society mostly calls me unemployed because I have Autism.

    I see no point in stirring controversy. For the few people that actually have knowledge to complain about how Arsenal operates, by all means do. I suspect we are talking about maybe 100 people. And most bloggers are not on that list.

    For most people, argue with your wallet. If you are dis-satisfied with your team, don’t buy merchandise and don’t buy tickets. If you bought a season’s ticket, stop going to games.

    Team management (any team, not just Arsenal) will notice. And I suspect it is far more effective that just bitching and moaning in the blogs.

  • Arvind

    I agree with Gord. Actually, technically speaking, the fans like many others only have an opinion. An informed one for those who watch the football and follow their team or an uninformed one who make random comments with zero justification.

    As AW said, saying it loudly or shouting it out does not mean it is right. Having said that though, Arsenal does have problems right now. And I have no clue why. And I understand football reasonably well. I do not claim to know how to fix the problem.

    Honestly, on what grounds do anyone say.. ‘Arsenal are idiots because they raised prices’. Yes I do not pay 60 pounds every game before someone asks me if I go to the stadium. OR ‘AW is a tightwad because he does not spend’ OR ‘Pay RVP 250000. It is needed else we will fall to our doom’ or whatever. It’s a football club and a business now..and the people running it will operate it in a certain way because they think that’s the best way to keep it operational. Yes they could listen to the fans ..and I do think Arsenal.com has got better at this over the last 2 years and try and address the concerns they have. But that’s it.

    Again..Arsenal do have problems on the pitch. And Alex Song is a weird weird transfer. But I don’t know why..and till I don’t I can just say I don’t understand it…not that it was right or wrong. It may well have been a stupid decision whose reasons I don’t agree with, but I don’t hold the cards..do I? The people who own it..have and always will make the decisions. It will never be any other way. Nor should it IMHO.

  • bob

    ” The people who own it..have and always will make the decisions. It will never be any other way. Nor should it IMHO.”
    Gord,
    Then I suppose you won’t be opining any further about items and decisions that you deem to be management’s prerogative?
    Not much room for democracy either in your view that ownership is absolute, should hoard all information, and take all decisions with no input from non-ownership unless they decide. Is that your position?

    Arvind,
    And your with this too, right?

  • So where are the so called we want to buy first class products?Man$city did buy Cheal$ea did buy and where are they??Money really does buy happiness i here they say! I would better be with my Arsenal. I will be watching them playing champions league for a long time to come. By the way i saw the draws and Manure vs Madrid hmm what a match and this time around manure are lucky they have webb as the match official,ha ha ha.

  • rupert cook

    @Kampala Gun, I’m not sure what you mean, where are Chelsea, City etc? Well Chelsea are European Champions, dethroned admittedly and City are league champions. Please explain which club doesn’t “buy” trophies. Arsenal used to be known as the “bank of England” in the thirties when we had money and spent it, that’s why we won a lot in that decade. Barca, Real Madrid, they’ve all “bought” the CL in modern times.

    But yes if I’m in the vicinity of a Chelsea fan I’ll say “your team buys trophies” because I’m naughty like that.

    I’m not sure you’ll be watching Arsenal playing in the CL for a long time to come. I can guarantee you we’ll be going no further than the semi final, if we even reach those dizzy heights. Just an opinion, which I sincerely hope is wrong. Wouldn’t it be great to win the CL at Wembley? At least Chelsea won’t be doing it.

    @Stuart, yes very happy but unfortunately we have less points than last year, it seems the goals we have conceded have been more injurious.

  • Nick Lee

    @Gord and Arvind

    do you vote in your respective countries?

  • @Rupert Chelsea are former champs and Man$ity! i doubt with the devils in the lead and all their devil worshipers they might not servive. @Rupert i will ask Tony to tell me more of how we bought titles in the 30’s. But hey who talks about the chealse’s of last year otherwise why did Ambromov$ch had to kick that man’s butt?@rupert so do you wana bet that we wont be in the champions league next year?? I dont think you can so im still living the dream. ARE YOU?

  • A. Stewart

    @ Gord…re: “And I suspect it is far more effective that just bitching and moaning in the blogs…”

    Why does this seem to bother you so much, the explicit purpose of a blog is for its users to air opinions, while collectively the various pulses of the fanbase can gain some traction from blogs and other cyber sources (especially influence and instant influence unlike ages preceeding this technology), I really don’t think most posters (be it a pro, neutral or anti opinion) realistically think their venting of an opinion will individually affect anything at all, and more importantly I don’t think many actually CARE as to whether their opinion an a blog has a net effect or any effectiveness on what they are ultimately opinining about…

    But people post their views because they want to, they care, it’s entertaining, they are interested in the topic, want to discuss/argue or whatever….Some views will be ultimately correct, some wrong, some unproveable, some mirred in conspiracy, some strange or whatever.

    That’s the point of this type of fan-engaged cyber media. For the fans to get engaged on their opinions on what is just a sport, regardless of how effective you think it may or may not be.

    You really need to find better things to get worked up about and relax.

  • A. Stewart

    “Arsenal do have problems on the pitch. And Alex Song is a weird weird transfer. But I don’t know why..and till I don’t I can just say I don’t understand it…not that it was right or wrong. It may well have been a stupid decision whose reasons I don’t agree with, but I don’t hold the cards..do I?”

    And the point is Arvind, a fan (or an ex pro gunner for example) can have an opinion that it (or any other) was a wrong decision or not, whether they “hold the cards or not”…holding the cards doesn’t give an absolute pass on being correct about decisions. That’s just nonsense.

    I suspect the reason Nick Lee asked if you vote in your respective countries is that, do you give your governments complete trust and automatic correctness in all their decisions or at least the benefit of the doubt, since you “don’t hold the cards” and are not privy to every piece of classified information? I suspect you don’t or won’t and I suspect that you’ll admit that despite not being privy to all the cards, there are things you can have an realistic opinion of your government doing wrong, that have ultimately been proven to be wrong too, and it didn’t take you being a genius and sitting in on top secret government meetings to see this.

    Basically this giving carte blanche free passes to the powers that be, specifically and simply because they are the powers that be and are privy to things you the mere peasant isn’t, is as analogous to sanctioning a totalitarian rule dictatorship as possible in football terms.

    Nonsense.

    Again this is a football fan-engaged blog in the public space, and regardless of its stated bias, it’s for fans to engage and discuss despite not being privy to every or anything that goes on in the boardroom, dressing room, or training pitch.

  • Arvind

    So ..you guys have just picked out specific points of what I said and asked me questions. That’s not on. And there’s really no need to drag this to dictatorship and democracy and the like. For what it’s worth…I don’t think there should be governments at all…or countries ..or borders…but I digress and I’d like to take that offline if someone wants to talk about it. Lets stick to the football.

    Bob, A.Stewart: I love opinions. From everyone. Small to big. By itself though…it means nothing. It costs nothing. It’s easy to complain and blame people (in this case AFC) without full knowledge of the facts on why we’re doing things in a particular way.

    If Arsenal say for example…came out tomorrow and said…’Hey…we’re just going to make money…and sell you on when we feel like it’…. then you’d have a case. You could still choose to support it.. of course…but you could then conclusively say – Arsenal are tight. Stan Kroenke cares zilch. AW is a tacticless trainer. Etc.

    Without all the facts, all we say and do is speculation. Some more probable than the others…but speculation none the same. We can complain all we like here…or if you feel strongly enough.. write the strongest letter possible to the board or call them up and tell them what you think in no uncertain terms. But that’s IT. The club may or may not consider it, in which case you have a chouce to walk away if you’re not satisfied.

    However having said all that, a business has a goal..and that’s why there is a CEO who gets paid. He/She has definite goals for the firm and they cost money..like it or not. If they agreed with everyone who had an opinion (valid or not) and ‘spent some fucking money’ to ‘GET the old Arsenal back’ and replace AW ‘who doesn’t know what he’s doing’ … it’ll be a disaster very very soon. I guarantee you that.

    So to conclude..have your opinions, discuss it however long you want, agree or disagree..complain..propose..suggest…it’s all fine. But in the end you want people who will take all that on board, analyze it according to what the targets for the year are and decide accordingly. Ideally a few wise heads.

    What are those goals? I know they want to win trophies and expand the business and earn money as well. The trophies aren’t coming…so they have to sit down and think. Of course listen to people..I’m not suggesting Hitler come back. But making a decision JUST because 10000000 people who are fans…no..I won’t say that’s right. Because teh goals of the fans start and end with the football…the business is far far more than that.

    And no..I’m not a CEO or something. I hope I made my stance clear…if that’s not okay by you, as I tell Bob often 🙂 .. lets agree to disagree.

  • Gord

    If nothing else, the vote with your wallet approach automatically rules out the supporters of other clubs pretending to support Arsenal writing false comments. But for the real supporters, if they vote with their wallet, management will notice.

    @ A. Stewart

    If you had no way to tell if someone you were seeing (real life, face to face) was lying to you or not, what would be your expectation of opinions seen in blogs?

    If I use a solder that contains cadmium for soldering potable water lines made of copper, that is a mistake. For someone who watched a game and seen Arsenal lose to say that having any particular person start, or become a substitute at some point is a “mistake” is wrong. It is not a mistake, it is an opinion. No team provides all information about their players before a game, or after a game. All any fan can do is guess. Once in a blue moon, someone may leak information from inside, and shortly after the team discovers who leaked the information, they will be looking for a new job. Any fan who thinks that people saying whatever decision is made by management is a mistake is being confused. The person who makes the comment in the first place should present it as opinion, not fact. But too many people take up all these “facts” and act on them. And there are no facts. It is all BS chasing itself.

    If you are an Arsenal fan and disagree with management practices, the only course of action is to vote with your wallet. Don’t buy merchandise and don’t go to games. Anything else is just noise. And unfortunately, this noise bothers me because I have Autism.

  • Damien Luu

    No, it does not guarantee success. What it DOES guarantee, is CHAOS. Problem is many love the chaos (which they call “change”), and some live by it.

  • Nick Lee

    @ arvind
    … it’ll be a disaster very very soon. I guarantee you that.

    Sorry, but base on what is your gurantee? Fact or speculation ??

    And no, we’ll stick to football and not dictatorship, democracy, country et al. But you just mentioned Hitler…

  • Nick Lee

    @gord

    “..Once in a blue moon, someone may leak information from inside, and shortly after the team discovers who leaked the information, they will be looking for a new job.”

    Is that your opinion or fact on that “someone”, since you said no one is privy to the insider information?

  • Arvind

    It’s an opinion, by no means a fact. No more than yours or anyone else’s on this board. That is all I am trying to say. Changing just for the sake of changing..and clamouring for it without knowing the facts is not something I am into.

    Yes. I mentioned Hitler. That was just because I was accused of numerous things and it was part of a reply to it.

  • Andy Mack

    I think Klopp is probably a good manager but after good (ok, very good) years that’s not a certainty. Also, Dortmund have a really excellent following. I have Dortmund supporting friends who cannot beleive the sh1t our (so called) supporters throw at AW. I’m not certain that Klopp would want to come to a team that has such poor fans.
    He’s been a manager since 2005 and only taken one team down (although he did stay and take mainz back up). When AW does decide to retire then Klopp could be a reasonable replacement but I’d prefer him to get a few more good years under his belt to prove he’s not an AVB.

  • Andy Mack

    should have said;
    after two good (ok, very good)

  • Nick Lee

    @Arvind

    No worries. Everyone is entitled to his/her opinion. Don’t take ‘accusations’ too seriously. To me, all opinions are ultimately for the good of Arsenal, though they may differ in perspectives and often laced with emotions.