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Wenger: the nutty professor who should leave now? Or is it some fans who are bonkers?

Today’s Sponsor: Goonernews Betting Guide




This past week I have got a trifle cheesed off with correspondents on this site who have ignored the article written, and instead developed their own pieces declaring that Arsene Wenger should leave the club.

If you’re a regular reader here you’ll know I only cut comments where- plagiarism, racism, antisemitism and anything else that might land me in court is involved.  So, the commentaries about Arsene Wenger failing and effectively destroying the club are on the site and have not been edited.

But I have a problem.  It seems to me that while many correspondents write with careful detailed analysis (I would refer you to the articles by Walter, and the match previews by Phil by way of example) those who wish Wenger would leave are simply putting out assertion upon assertion, without any resource to facts or analysis at all.

To prove my point I have taken a commentary made yesterday on this site, reprinted here without any editing, and then analysed by myself.  I hope you see where I am going with this.

Here’s the original piece from Wednesday…

—————–

In all fairness i can see us falling behind to the likes of chavski and spuds. This nutty prof has gone as far as he can with this squad. My question to you all is How much longer must we wait for the promise to become reality? I fear we may never know. The pull of Barca must be getting almost unbearable for Cesc and we all know that it will happen in the next 12 months if not the next three. RVP will also begin to wonder if he could achieve more elsewhere in Europe and a good World Cup for the Dutchman will have Europe’s elite sniffing around. We all know that we need to invest in a new defence and a 30 goal a season striker, but will we be able to hang onto our best assets?

The defeat at Spurs was hard to swallow, but the weekend’s collapse at the DW was so much worse because of the shameful, gutless way we allowed Wigan to expose our frankly shoddy goalkeeper and defence. For most of the season our forward line and Cesc have carried us to wins and results. But at no point have we looked solid at the back. Without Vermaelen, I doubt we would be in the top six. So as it is election time in the UK, I say, “It’s time for change”. Several first team players must make way this summer.

Almunia has never been good enough. Simple as that. A new goalkeeper is essential if we are to challenge for silverware next season. Silvestre has never been good enough. Had his best days at United. Denilson has never been good enough. We need players who can pass forwards on occasion and take a hard tackle without falling over like a wounded deer. Walcott has never been good enough. All pace, no end product. He will never suit our style of play. Man City beckons…

Eduardo is no longer the player he was. This of course is not his fault, but the fact remains he has had a very poor time in the last few months, he looks slow and unwilling to even attempt a 50-50. I don’t really blame him, but how long can we carry a striker who will not put his foot in? Andrey Arshavin clearly is not happy in England. He has openly criticised the squad during the run-in and has gone missing since his annual show at Anfield. Great talent but another lightweight flair player we just don’t need. At least he will be fresh next season, if he is still here of course.

Unfortunately I don’t see much changing again. Wenger still has a firm belief that this current crop IS good enough to win silverware, when everyone else knows that is simply NOT the case. Possibly a new striker, possibly a new centre half, but little else will happen. Just three months of rumour and counter rumour about Cesc. It’s Patrick Vieira all over again.

Oh to be a Gooner can be painful…

—————————-

And here’s my commentary.

The writer begins with a personal assertion, “In all fairness i can see us falling behind to the likes of chavski and spuds.”   There is no justification for this, no evidence to be debated, just a personal assertion.

The next sentence follows in the same way, “This nutty prof has gone as far as he can with this squad. My question to you all is How much longer must we wait for the promise to become reality?”

This is a common trick in propaganda: set up the assertion, take it to be true, and then demand to know how much longer we will let this go on.  It is impossible to answer this question without admitting the assertion, and yet the assertion remains an assertion, with no evidence or logic.

Indeed this is the methodology in the piece – an approach which I find repeatedly used in most commentaries against Wenger.

Try this one, which comes next.  “The pull of Barca must be getting almost unbearable for Cesc and we all know that it will happen in the next 12 months if not the next three.”

I can quite clearly say “no” to all that sentence.  I am not at all sure that the “pull” is getting unbearable.  What evidence is there for this?  What this simplistic statement does not say is why Barca appear to be courting Cesc, and knowing that would be but the first step to analysing the claims made here.   We also need to incorporate the fact that one interview in Spanish was utterly mistranslated to such a level that it bore no relationship to the original (my apologies I cannot quote the exact source tonight, but we did deal with it in detail on this site when it arose).   As one piece was utterly invented why not others?  Without examining why Barca seem so besotted with Cesc rather than anyone else, the assertions are valueless, the debate unstarted.  Only with such an analysis can we then even make a slight guess as to the outcome.  (And one can of course say the same about Arshavin leaving – another story that is in the press over and over again).

The writer then says “RVP will also begin to wonder if he could achieve more elsewhere in Europe.”  Really?  How do you know, and where is the evidence?  RVP might equally be thinking, ‘God I have been an idiot playing friendlies for Holland, and that’s wrecked my chance of going anywhere else, I’d better stay put at Arsenal and hope for the best.”

He might also be thinking (and this is a concept that I have never once seen put anywhere in this debate) “I wonder why Dennis Bergkamp stayed at Arsenal, even when he was subjected to a year under Rioch?  He became revered at Arsenal and in football, without international games, and for a number of years without any club success.  He now has an almost god-like position in the game.  I’d like that.  I’d better stay at Arsenal.”  (And if that sounds odd to you, I would suggest it is no more odd than the assertion in the commentary).

“We all know that we need to invest in a new defence and a 30 goal a season striker, but will we be able to hang onto our best assets?”

Here we are again: “hang on to” as if it is desperate stuff.  I could write a piece which stresses how every professional wants to play for Arsenal, an article full of them “beating a path to our door”, and “virtually begging Wenger to let them play for Arsenal”, and concluding “how on earth will we ever choose which ones to take and which to disappoint?”

Such a piece would have as much factual basis as the one on which I am commenting.  if there is evidence about players leaving us, then it has to include Vieira and Henry who have had careers since leaving which one can argue have been less than their careers when here.

Next there’s this: “The defeat at Spurs was hard to swallow, but the weekend’s collapse at the DW was so much worse because of the shameful, gutless way we allowed Wigan to expose our frankly shoddy goalkeeper and defence.”

What is interesting here is the lack of all context.  I am writing this late on at night, and I am working from memory, but I think we had something like 7 league wins in a row, followed by a draw, and played those games without seven of our normal first team squad.  That is not to argue that these are excuses for a lack of focus at the end of the Wigan game, but if you are going to make a serious point about events, then context is important.  We might also add that this was the first Tottenham league win in 10 years (historically the best run since we started league games against them exactly 100 years ago).  And we can add that Chelsea lost to Wigan, so although we should have won, defeat for a top club is not unique.  I think Liverpool did too, although I might be wrong.

“For most of the season our forward line and Cesc have carried us to wins and results. But at no point have we looked solid at the back. Without Vermaelen, I doubt we would be in the top six.”

Now that is odd.  Having ignored the context of the Tottenham and Wigan games we get a spurious piece of context – the “without Vermaelen”.  What does that mean?   We only play with ten?  We put in a five year old boy?  Clearly we would have had someone else.   The manager had decided to buy Vermaelen, and from what I have read elsewhere, the club would have identified two backups in case Vermaelen didn’t come.  So what are we to make of “without Vermaelen”?   Without Vermaelen, someone else – who might have been better.

But let’s try this defence thing: in our opening game we had the team that Wenger wanted, we were completely secure and we won 6-1 away.    So what happened?

Looking at the table today we have let in 39 – a whole seven more than Chelsea.  Seven.  Yes the worst defence in the top four, but not the worst in the top five since Man City have let in 42.

And more to the point even without our best attacker most of the season, and with Eduardo getting injuries and Bendtner, Arshavin and Cesc all out for long spells we knocked in 78.    From my perspective I would sooner see us win 5-4 each week than 1-0.  With 5-4 I might have a heart attack and people will say our defence is useless, but still, it really is fun.

“So as it is election time in the UK, I say, “It’s time for change”. Several first team players must make way this summer.”

That is curious again.  First, it is an assertion.  Second, it is odd because most of the time we have not had most of our first team playing.  And third, there is that old point of getting the people we want.   To buy a new player the following needs to be true…

a) the club has to be ready to sell and the player ready to move.  Remember we are “hanging on” to Cesc who is apparently ready to leave, so if we can hold on to a player who has already moved in his mind, how the hell do we get players to come to us if the club and/or the player is not minded to move?  I think this is a major point – if we can keep Cesc this long, how are we supposed to prise away players from elsewhere.

b) the club must be ready to sell at a reasonable fee, rather than one that is insanely high, just to put us off.  Chelsea and Man C can pay double the cost for a player, but the rest of the league can’t.  (Man U and Liverpool did for a while, but that has added to their financial collapses.)

c) the player must be willing to fit into our wage structure.  We have the third highest salary bill in the league, so we are not mean, but if the player says, “I want to be the highest paid,” that could well produce turmoil in the club.  Chelsea will do it, because they’ll put up everyone’s money – but they end up with a club for of A Cole and J Terry, and I personally don’t think that’s a very good idea.

d) all the medical bits have to work.  Players can develop problems while they are at a club, which make them less attractive on a transfer.  They might be playing wonderfully today, but the medical reveals a doubt.  There is a risk – so how much risk do you take.  Spend £10m on a player who then gets has endless ankle problems after 3 months, and no one thinks you are clever.

e) the player’s family needs to want to move and want to stay, and the player needs to be of a type who is ready to settle.  England is not everyone’s cup of tea, and there’s no point in bringing in an utter genius who will then not play well because of psychological issues or worries.

It’s even later now, and I am tired, so I am going to stop without dealing with the final part of the original comment.  But I’ve done enough and you can see where I am going.  I believe that if we ever are going to have a debate, we need to have some reasoning, not a set of personal assertions.  I hope in a small way I have actually illustrated how that debate should work.

Tony Attwood

————————

Background Noise

The World’s Gone Wrong: how would other clubs have coped with this level of injury?

The Origins of Corruption. How the football league has been corrupt since its very first season.

An analysis of statistics. A look back to the Tiny Totts game

Ten minutes of insanityA retrospective on the Wigan game

Full list of articles

Read the book – it will do you good

54 comments to Wenger: the nutty professor who should leave now? Or is it some fans who are bonkers?

  • kperry

    Arsenal’s idea of defending is to overcommit the fullbacks and quite often the center backs by playing a high line and leaving the flanks exposed that makes the team vulnerable to the long ball or quick counter attacks with opposition players that are quite often faster than our defenders( such as Rooney). Until Arsene learns how to tactically defend the club will never win another trophy.

  • c1gooner

    Thanks Tony.

    It’s easy for one to pick a negative and comment without much thought in times likes this (which, even though will not bring us any silverware, I don’t think are bad times at all).

    It takes guts to think outside the box and look at the whole picture as you guys do.

    As you said the other day, no silverware does not mean failure. It just means we are among the other 19 (for the league) that just didn’t win it.

  • E4superfly

    I cant wait till Arsene proves all these people wrong

    A few months ago I read an article that proved if we stay with this current method in just a few years we’ll be the richest club in the world (thanks tony for that article) that combined with our youth system and large stadium …. oh boy it’s scary

    we will have a huge squad (injuries covered)

    we will have the money to buy who ever we want when we want (like a world number one keeper)

    all revenue coming in will be the clubs not the banks (loans will be paid up)

    we will have a team that have been together for years (good for morale)

    most of them will be reaching their peak (ooh 3rd now with most our future stars being no more then 22)

    we’ll have no need for players like silvestre lol

    All this thanks to Wenger the man truly is a genius

    I’m sorry that itself already equates to 10 trophy’s in my book the league is ours for the next ten years.

    Lets not be short sighted Arsene has had to do what he can on a small limited budget , I’d like to know if any manager in the epl can do what he’s done with such a little.

    something he had to do cause he simply had no other choice.

    It’s starting to work and now you want to shoot him down (I’m talking about the big picture not a trophy cabinet) when fergie leaves yes he’ll have a lot of trophies but man U will be left in tatters in debt and sinking fast something his contributed to with his spending his club is in debt yet he spends more rafa same story look at loserpool in debt whats the answer spend more.

    the difference between a winner and loser is how they think

    a loser will win at any cost even if that cost is his own club

    within the next 2 years we’ll be winning trophies liverpool will be a memory and the banks will be ready to collect from man u and where will they be then (you cant buy a league with no money you cant buy players with no money you cant buy a ref with no money you get less money if you don’t make it into champions league.)

    If all of you think money is the answer guess what soon we’ll have it … lol without a sugar daddy who can sell us off when things go sour.

    thank you lord Wenger.

    thanks tony you always make my day.

  • Lanre

    Tony, there’s a saying in my part of the world that says ‘let them say’. meaning let them talk. Think its about time we start ignoring them (i mean the ds&gs or catastrophists). Yesterday,I had a discussion wit a very good friend of mine and Arsenal, who is very sick (i pray he doesnt die) and we agreed that our fans are part of our problems. Those who get to the stadium and those who do not. I believe we are spoilt, moan the most and are not appreciative. We hear we should av bought this n that, sack wenger, change pat rice (yes i read that here just yesterday) n in keown (who has had no serious experience), buy him, buy them, buy you, buy me. I just laugh. Forget wage structure, price n willingness to move. How about adaptability? Do we think all players can adapt easily in a club. Shevchenko didnt find it easy in chelski, neither did melo in juve. Also, let’s talk about injury. Eduardo was never an injury-prone before he came to us, neither did rosicky. So u cannot tell authoritatively predict if a player will court injuries. Guess thats why wenger takes his time when he is to buy. We are finishing 3rd n getting to the UEFA quarters wit all the negativities n lack of real support. Imagine what we would achieve wit total undiluted support. I am very sure liverpool would av been relegated without the support they get.

  • E4superfly

    I agree fully with Lanre

  • well-endowed gooner

    Tony, I don’t see anything wrong with that blogger’s post. The gist of it was that:

    1. We are falling behind our competitors. We are behind Chelski, and have been so for a long time. We are in danger of being caught by Man City and even Tottenham, finances permitting. Tottenham are just six or seven poitns behind us, with one game in hand. It’s not unreasonable to suggest they could pip us for 3rd.
    2. We were abject at Wigan and Spurs. It’s not so much that the players were of poor quality (which they were), it’s that they lacked drive, hunger, desperation… there was a league title on the line, and they fluffed their lines both times.
    3. Almunia costs us points.
    4. Eduardo isn’t the same player he was since his injury, doesn’t have a natural position in a 4-3-3.

    These were the main points that that poster was asserting. It was interesting to note that you either agreed with his points (i.e losing like we did to Wigan was gutless), or chose to ignore them. But the bulk of your commentary was spent picking apart his “speculative” comments about Cesc wanting to leave and play for Barca one day (which is reasonable considering he’s Catalan, a Barca fan, idolises Guardiola, is best mates with Pique) or van Persie wanting to go to another club for success.

    And to clear something up for you, “without Vermaelen I doubt we would be in a top 6” means that if we didn’t have Vermaelen in the side, the poster doubts we would have won enough games to be int he Top 6. I presume this means we still would’ve let Toure go, not bought anyone, and paired Gallas with Silvestre or Senderos for the entire season with Bartley or Nordtveit as backups. And the poster has precedent for saying this; when we let Vieira go, we promoted Cesc to the first team and paired him with Gilberto; when we let Flamini go, we promoted Song and Denilson; when we let Cole go, we promoted Clichy; when we let Lehmann go, we promoted Almunia….. some of these were good choices, some of them were poor.

    It’s interesting that you read that the club “identified two backups” in case Vermaelen wouldn’t come. It means that it’s not THAT difficult to find players to play for the Arsenal. One might even speculate that there is a dossier of players that we keep an eye on. Perhaps we should’ve bought two defenders last summer instead of one? Actually, I find it difficult to believe that identifying and buying players is as difficult as you make out. Clubs all over the world buy and sell players. We do so every year as well. We employ people to scout players, and we employ people to negotiate contracts and transfers. It can’t be that difficult that we can’t bring in more than one defender a season.

    When you get down to it, Tony, your line of argument is based on half-truths and misinformation as well. It’s just that you choose not to see the other side, and when someone says something you don’t like, you deride them for being “bonkers”. I don’t see the point of pasting someone’s post on your site, nit-picking their arguments for cheap points, and then sanctimoniously declaring that debates should be managed in the “right” way.

    But then, it must be late in England.

  • Matthew B

    I think you’ll find the gap in understanding and ability to debate in a reasonable manner is entirely down to the age of the poster.

    Launching into a post/response with ‘we’re crap, we need to buy players x, y and z…’ is pretty much standard practice on internet fora when discussing Arsenal.

    This seems to be down to kids posting nonsense rather than having a good hard look at the situation.

  • chuks

    Tony i have been a regular reader on your blog but i have noticed something, why don’t u ever criticise Wenger and his team? is it that Wenger is perfect or is he God? i accept that some criticism of the man might be harsh but not everyone will understand the club and its policies the way u do.people are entitled to there opinions that is why there is freedom of speech and for u to pick out a comment on your blog and criticise i think u are going too far,for Christ sake this is not a political campaign it is a fans forum and the joy of a fan is to say what he wants.All u should do is to forget them and keep on pushing your point for more people to understand thanks.B4 i stop did i say that u are one of the few bloggers that really make sense when they write but respect other peoples views it is a free world.keep the faith

  • Matthew B

    “And the poster has precedent for saying this; when we let Vieira go, we promoted Cesc to the first team and paired him with Gilberto; when we let Flamini go, we promoted Song and Denilson; when we let Cole go, we promoted Clichy; when we let Lehmann go, we promoted Almunia….. some of these were good choices, some of them were poor.”

    I think This is at the heart of what some Arsenal supporters find so maddening: Promoting youth players or bit part players to the first team when they are felt to ‘not be up to it’, rather than spending obscene amounts of money to keep up with Chelsea, Man Utd., and now Man City. Even Tottenham spend more than us!

    It’s like there are two competitions: one played on the field and the other with the cheque-book. Some fans want/expect us to be challenging in both.

    I’m convinced this was a combination of Wenger’s principals, wanting to see the youth experiment out, but moreover; Arsenal’s lack of funds.

  • GoonerGaz

    No excuses, Arsene should get sacked for injuring all our players.And if the next manager does not put us at least 300 million pounds in debt after a year then i will never watch them again.

  • no one does it better dan arsene wenger

  • cinjo

    This is sure.
    Arsenal is not going to win anything under Wenger.
    But main problem is, if he goes who will come.
    No good manager will come to manage this average team and no good manager will come to Arsenal without giving enough transfer fund.

    Our club is not going to give big fund to anyone.
    So Arsenal wants to play at least CL, then we need a very talented manager to manage this average team.
    Can anyone say who else can do this. Only wenger can do this.

    So Wenger should stay………………..

  • lp

    who care what other people said about Arsenal falling behind. in fact we’re not. that poster must be a spud pretending to be a gunners. all i can say to those people who start chanting sack wenger, sack the board etc etc…”FOCUS” = f##k off coz u stupid…

  • amit

    full of optimism as usual…can i expect an article which identifies weaknesses and failings which when put to light would help overcome them in some way….in business there is always something known as SWOT analysis…strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats….the articles posted are full of positives and do not discuss the other side of the coin….

  • cape gooner

    Almunia has been the target of many posters’ ire. It is my opinion that last season he was a shoo in for England goalie. How things have changed. I‘m not sure what did it; the hard time he got over the England position, his infection, his mother in law getting killed. But this season he has not reached the same standard. Will he next season?

    One of the two sensible suggestions for his replacement has been Lloris. Last night he played against Bayern. He was dreadful. In the first half he flapped at a corner resulting in a free header for Schweinsteiger at a goal defended by one outfield player, while in the second half he was badly at fault for the goal.

    Of course, this does not make him a bad player. However, it does put Almunia’s performance into some kind of perspective. I think we are too harsh on him.

    Fabianski is a different matter. From what I have read, he appears to be a wonderful goalkeeper who has poor temperament. It is a pity that the only way you can find out about how someone will perform when it counts is to play them when it counts! I suspect that AW now knows and will, regrettably, let him go.

  • FinnGun

    Great article,

    a depressing amount of posts seem to be written by disrespectful ingrates with a terminal case of attention deficit syndrome, no sense of perspective and no understanding of economical realities. Apparently they are also telepathic because they always seem to know what AW and the players are thinking. Also, have you noticed how many are unhealthily concerned about male sexuality and their own manliness? Well-endowed my foot.

  • I understand the “let them talk” philosophy, and indeed in my everyday work I’m often debating with colleagues whether we should let a story that affects a client die or whether we should encourage them to respond and deny allegations.

    For me there are times when “let them talk” does not apply – and I think we have this here. In my view what is being spread is a form of black propaganda in which the club’s prospects are talked down by a combination of newspapers that run the Cesc and Arshavin stories and the bloggers who make statements but do not back them up.

  • Well endowed, I totally disagree with you, and you are using the same tactics as the original correspondent that caused me to write this.

    To take just the first sentence of your piece…

    1. We are falling behind our competitors. We are behind Chelski, and have been so for a long time.

    I do not believe this is true – but you set it out as your opening assertion, from which other issues follow. To argue against it I would suggest…

    a) If we look at the financial issues we are not behind Chelsea – our position is sustainable financially and theirs is not, given the new Uefa rules.

    b) Our back up squad, although a little young, is in place and every month gets closer to going. Chelsea have an aging team with a star player who many writers seem to think is on the wane. They will need to replace much of the squad, and yet again this will take them into a position where they are breaking the new uefa rules.

    c) Our stadium is vastly superior to theirs, and they are seeking to move. Moving is disruptive, and on this matter we are in front.

    d) A major factor in our falling behind Chelsea in the league this year was our injury list – particularly the now infamous last two games where we had six or seven first teamers and their backups missing. All clubs suffer injuries, but our run over the last three years has been extraordinary. I believe that it will come to and end, and that will take us very much up and beyond Chelsea’s level.

    e) Chelsea has a fragility from being based around one man,, which we don’t have.

    Given these factors, I don’t agree with you. Now you might argue that my points here are themselves assertions. I could go on and develop them further but constraints of going to work prohibit that.

    However I would make the point that you just make the statement, and at least I give five reasons.

    The same is true for the rest of your post.

  • walter

    Great article Tony. You should have started writing earlier so you could have finished it completely. 😉

    Like you said you can not argue with sentences like : “Now Cesc will certainly leave this (or next) summer”. And if you keep repeating it time and time you will be right at the end but no one but Cesc, Wenger and the board will now when that day will arrive.

    I once reacted on such a statement written on some site, which I’m not going to name, in this style: “If all Arsenal fans would be like you and doubt the loyalty of Cesc every time, and if I would be Cesc I would leave Arsenal because of the fans and for no other reason”.

    I do think that Cesc is much more a Gooner than many of those “he will leave now for sure-gooners” can realise. Messi has said in the last years a few times that because he thanks it all to Barcelona he does not want to go anywhere else. Maybe this also could be the case for Cesc? After all Cesc also has Arsenal and Wenger to thank for the great start of his career. Yes he is still at the start of his career!

    And I realise that my statement ‘Cesc will stay for some time’ is only an assertion, but it is based on what the player himself has said some 1246 times.

  • Tone

    What has been a real pleasure for me is commentators, pundits, bloggers and supporters in general saying how much they ENJOY watching Arsenal play.

    I too would like some silverware soon but the contribution that AW and this Arsenal side have made to the general appreciation of what good football is should not be under-estimated nor dismissed lightly.

    Even the Rusian ganster accross town wanted a manager who played attractive football rather than a steam roller of a team, despite all their success.

  • Rhys Jaggar

    Tony I agree with the supposition of your article, but here are a few things I think you, Walter et al must acknowledge:

    1. If Spurs get 7 injuries, they are not a bigger club than us, nor do they possess a sugar daddy a la Mr A. so we cannot use our injuries as an excuse when we lose to them. This site does precisely that again and again. Their stadium is 36,000, ours is 60,000, so their match day income will be less than ours. They are not as financially powerful, so they can’t buy their way to a Chelsea squad. So we don’t possess an excuse if our ‘squad members’ are weaker than their ‘squad members’. And they played many ‘squad members’ against us last week…….
    2. We can ask whether their stand-ins did better than ours and whether Mr Redknapp is assembling a better squad than ours. I presented that analysis yesterday – you can agree or disagree with it, but I’d like it rebutted with analysis and, if I agree with you, I’ll hold my hand up. I doubt I will, but I’m open to the arguments…..
    3. We can ask whether Spurs’ wage bill is sustainable financially if: a) they make next year’s Group Stages of the ECL b) they end in 4th this year but get shunted into Europa League or c) they finish 5th or worse. I don’t know their wages, but if Gareth Bale is on £20,000 a week, as reported in the papers this week, then some of our £60k a week pampered stars need to raise their game………£120m a year is our wage bill. I’d like to know who it goes on…………
    4. We can ask what age their players are when they start performing at top whack: Lennon before he got injured? (23), Bale (no older), most of the others 25+. Is their age profile different to Arsenal’s and does that impinge on the way they are playing now? They appear to possess a team with more in the sweet spot of 26-30. Sir Alex’s belief is that that is the peak age range, not mine…….
    5. How many players past 32 do they possess? Not too many….
    6. Are they distracted by the new Stadium plans? Well, time will tell if they need to cash in on a superstar to pay the builders a downpayment, whether they call on fans to participate in a big equity raise to build the facility or whether they manage it through commercial loans. I guess they may see ECL cash as the cash cow to support that, but that’s their business not mine. And if you think that Mr L., Sir Alan Sugar and Joe Lewis are such inexperienced businessmen that anything I do or don’t say on this site will knock their business plan for six, then you may be in need of examining their track records of making money………

    If you want, as a businessman, to say that people are young and not yet ready, in general you pay them in a manner which reflects that. If they are ready for the big time, aged 18 (like Rooney on debut for Man Utd) or 35 (like Ryan Giggs right now), then you pay them the big bucks. What you don’t do is pay them the big bucks, then say they aren’t ready and we must pamper them.

    I’d personally like Arsenal players on performance-related-pay where they get a 25-30% pay bonus for winning the league against finishing 3rd. Finishing 3rd/4th should be the ‘on target earnings’ performance for Arsenal. Sales guys double their money if they shoot the lights out, so Arsenal’s salaries should double if they win the EPL+ECL as opposed to getting to the QFs and finishing 3rd. You think Arsenal’s players could hack that?? And more to the point, would the club rather they finish 3rd and get knocked out at the QF stage to maximise profits???? A fine balance in the HR department, that, but I’d put 60% of all the excess income from gate money, prize money, media money and spikes in club shop etc sales due to winning those tournaments into the players’/manager’s bonus pool.

    Because we saw in the past two weeks that players on £20k a week can do the business against Arsenal and Chelsea. And I’m of the firm opinion that being rewarded in the pocket for that is a good idea…..

    My opinion, that’s all.

  • Abhishek Kumar

    @ amit..

    Let us change this blog for SO(strength and opportunity) analysis only. There is already too much negativity for Arsenal blogs. So all we fans need to come to some place to relax. Perhaps its too positive but its very logical and if we choose to ignore some small negativities about Arsenal, I dont mind it.

  • Gtr gooner

    Hats off to you tony…… I think only wenger could have got us so far in title race without spending money and keeping finances in mind. Any other coach would have demanded transfers consequently raising debts. Thats why wenger is perfect for this project i have full faith in him. I dont even look at those stupid punditry and clueless articles which favours change in arsenal system. I still remember when at the start of season everyone wrote us off they even thought that arsenal will be one who will struggle to qualify for c.league. And now look they had to eat their words.

  • critic

    @rhys jagger

    jesus christ!!!!!!!20k for gareth bale….amazing…considering walcott taking home triple amount at 1/3rd of his form…..

    i have to agree with ur pay as u play idea. It’s really good. it’s mind boggling if player like walcott takes home 60k weekly at present stage when cesc gets 80k.

    But and there’s a big BUT, how will board implement this, i mean for winning a tournament one needs whole squad to perform. A player might go unrewarded who’s performing out of his skin due to lack of skills of his team mates. You can have a separate committee to single out good performers in a match and reward them but then human nature takes over and committee might be biased in favor of a player and against other….

    Add to the fact this will be new to players and they might not want to be a part of it and look for greener pastures.

    Only managers can take appropriate action against overpaid individuals like most of u think wenger did with adebayor. Plus, their will be some pressure to perform on players when they take home good salaries.

    All in all present structure is good and shouldn’t be changed as we are already suffering the consequences of a change in stadium, although it is temporary.

  • critic

    @tony
    “The same is true for the rest of your post”
    then write another article countering what WEG is saying for past 1-2 months, countering each and every point not a lame excuse like u gave above.

    @WEG
    People here are blinded by the light shown by tony but people like u don’t follow anything blindly. One needs proper logic behind any argument whether it’s D n G or untold.

    tell u what tony also puts his assertion by saying arsenal have golden 30’s or blah blah, goes gaga over youth system without acknowledging the fact that their are very rare instances where some1 makes it big from youth system. If he can any other fan can.

  • critic

    @WEG
    how do u change ur picture in comments???

  • well-endowed gooner

    Critic, I’m using two computers.

    Tony,

    1. I’m talking about results on the pitch. Chelsea have a stronger side, and have had for a number of years. I agree they have an ageing squad, and are reliant on Drogba and Essien. But for the past few years, they have been stronger than us. I don’t think (personal opinion) Abramovich will let them slide. They still have Mikel, Essien, Cole, Boswinga, J.Cole who are under 30 (I think) and can form a solid base for their new generation. They have good young players coming through (Kakuta). They need new centre-backs and a centre forward, but they still have a few years before their veterans decline too much, so as long as they continue to add one or two players a year, they’ll replenish well enough to maintain their superiority (on the pitch).

    2. Again personal opinion, but I think it’ll be easy to circumvent UEFA laws. Convert the money into shares. Buy sponsorship. Buy a lot of corporate boxes. I would like to see what happens when UEFA laws come into effect, and clubs like Real Madrid, Barcelona, Man Utd, Liverpool, Milan, Juventus are excluded. Will the CL make enough money to support itself? Will UEFA have the courage to uphold its laws, or will it back down? Again, personal opinion, but I’d bet that they’ll back down and let the bankrupt clubs into the competition.

    3. On what are you basing your assertion that our injury-run will come to an end? Facts? Speculation? Misplaced optimism? If you supplied a list of physios and medicos we’re going to employ next season, along with our revamped rehab protocols and our revamped fitness and conditioning programmes, I might believe you. Failing this, I’ve got to presume (again, personal opinion) that history will repeat itself, and Gallas, van Persie, Diaby, Eduardo and Walcott will be injured for significant parts of the season, and we’ll have too thin a squad to bear it.

    4. At the moment, we’re reliant on a number of men (van Persie, Cesc, Song, Vermaelen, Gallas). Unfortunately, two of them are injury-prone, one went to the ANC and had no backup. The other two got injured, and now, we’re in free-fall (personal opinion). This season, we’ve been too thin in certain areas (personal opinion).

    5. Which back-up squad are you talking about? If it’s the 18 and 19 year olds who won the youth double last season, it’s a bit early. If it’s Denilson, Diaby, Eboue, Silvestre, Campbell, Gibbs, Fabianski… I think the past couple of games have shown that they lack the heart, determination, talent, fitness to compete for first team spots of a genuine title challenger. Again, that’s personal opinion, but we played those guys against Tottenham and Wigan, and (personal opinion) we didn’t show a lot of fight, or spirit, or desire to get back into the title race.

    I don’t make 5 arguments on any point, Tony. I don’t have that kind of imagination. I just make the obvious one, the one that makes most sense, and leave it at that.

  • I’ll just reply to one of these for the moment (sorry pressure of time)

    3. On what are you basing your assertion that our injury-run will come to an end? Facts? Speculation? Misplaced optimism? If you supplied a list of physios and medicos we’re going to employ next season, along with our revamped rehab protocols and our revamped fitness and conditioning programmes, I might believe you. Failing this, I’ve got to presume (again, personal opinion) that history will repeat itself, and Gallas, van Persie, Diaby, Eduardo and Walcott will be injured for significant parts of the season, and we’ll have too thin a squad to bear it.

    I based my view on the following:

    a) The three year run of injuries is the worst I have ever seen, in watching Arsenal since 1958, and if the cause is random, then ultimately it will come to an end – just as ultimately the dog in trap 1 will win a race, just as after 3 months in which it doesn’t rain on a tuesday, it will rain on a tuesday.

    b) If however there are causes for the injuries (the change in tactics by lesser teams, the fact that we use younger players, the fact that the game is so much faster) then I expect Wenger and the Arsenal team to find a solution, on the grounds that I start from the premise that he is highly intelligent and has a good team with him.

  • Rhys – regarding Tottenham, they are the one club whose finances I cannot understand, and I have said that over and over on this site.

    I am not an accountant, so I need help with such matters, but I get financial reports in my own company, and I can read them. Same with the other clubs. But Tottenham?

    I even got in touch with people at the Guardian (who can do financial summaries well) and begged for help. Nothing.

    Where does the money come from for the profit they declare? If you do the estimates, and take into account the players bought and sold, it just does not add up.

    Add in the fact that the controlling company is, I think, with the owner, in the Virgin Isles, where there is no financial control over companies, and I get suspicious.

    I have seen the comments saying that they revalue players etc, but I still can’t get any of it to work.

    If you know, please spell it out for a dumbo like me. Income and outgoings on players, income from TV, match days etc (all are known or can be estimated) and the outgoings (ditto).

    If they genuinely are spending all the money Arry spent, and they are making money, then surely they should be the role model for all of football, and their methodology should be on public display, not hidden in unpublished accounts in the Virgins.

  • Finsbury

    Not specific to the above, but focussing on the Media coverage of Arsenal in the UK, and comparing to another sport:

    It’s apparent that some think they are on a mission to ‘reclaim’ the club.

    For club, and country.

    Listening to the pathetic, embarrassing jingoism on BBC5Live and ITV commentaries last night, and then comparing it to the BBC’s coverage of a ‘boring’ sport in which the UK is a leader, F1, it’s tragic.

    There is a made up clash of football cultures that now surrounds the club.
    But I have a feeling that this ‘debate’ was resolved long ago.

    When the separate laws of Rugby & Football were written down in two different dusty tomes.

    This ‘debate’ has been waged before, a long time ago.

    And Football won.

    I posted this link on ACLF, but it is very funny.
    An Untold Arsenal story:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y4CXY6TVBMc

    I think it’s obvious, that Comedians like Paul Whitehouse, Harry Enfield and Steve Coogan
    [ Alan Partdridge started out as a lampoon of a p(l)undit ] spent so much time and some of the licence fee satirising aspects of Football,
    because they are Football fans.

  • Lanre

    Now Critic n WEG, would ur arguements be different if say we win the league at the end of the day?

  • Lanre

    Me, i think the current squad’s okay wit the inclusion of chamakh n a CD. Why would u want to tamper wit what u av been building that’s almost done. All the squad need is self and mental belief, extra effort in games, n support which we can give.

  • amused_gooner

    well-endowed gooner here’s my view on the squad. The squad is supposed to fill in for the first team players when one or two of them are not playing. And when that has happened we’ve done reasonably well. Its like maths you know. Suppose the main players or the best eleven are given a full 10 in rating each. And most of the squad are a notch lesser at 6 or 7 or 8. When you have a couple of the first 11 out and that they are replaced by squad members then the dip in total quality ratings really doesn’t go down a lot. But when you have 6-7 of the first eleven out and probably 1-2 of the better of the squad out then the total quality of the team really takes a hit. And this is not exclusive to out club alone. It would happens in each and every club. But you say you expect the squad to be better. But if the squad is as good as the first team you can’t expect them to stay in arsenal as a substitute when they are as good as fabregas, arshavin, van Persie, Vermaelen or even Song. Thats why they are squad. So that they fill in for the better players when they are not available. But when all of them are filling in together you can’t expect them to perform every day on the same level as the first eleven. And for all it matters. I know we’ve lost the last three games but Barcelona are just that much better than us. They are just better and thats it full stop. At Spurs for all the score we were the better team in terms of creating chances and having the ball. And on another day the score could easily have been 4-2 to us. Gomes was on song against van the man. And at the DW it was the lapse of concentration that was disappointing. If there is anything here you can be really pissed and critical about it is this lapse in concentration that the team showed. Championship winning sides don’t lose 2 goal leads with 10 minutes to go against relegation fighting teams. This is where you can tear into the team.

  • The Law

    What I find most amusing is how people who come on blogs of recent to chant “Wenger Out!” always add that they’re supporters of upwards of 30 years standing, and have paid thousands for their season tickets. This wasn’t the case before, so one could easily identify the Jonny-come-lately’s by the quality of their comments.
    If you’ve really been an Arsenal supporter of 30+ years standing, then you’ll have experienced barren spells the like of which the modern Arsenal fan can only imagine. In addition, you would have experienced some glorious occasions (such as Anfield 1989) which will live long in your memory. Having experienced the droughts before Wenger, when Arsenal weren’t considered an integral part of Europe’s elite, before we became a global brand, then your anger at Wenger becomes utterly baffling.
    Anyone who’s seen his team go 10 years without so much as a tin cup to parade is not going to be losing his mind at watching a team which is clearly a work in progress going 5 years without one. For everyone’s information, while Barcelona were building their current team, they won nothing between 1999 and 2004. That’s a 6 year barren spell in which Real Madrid won 2 Champions Leagues. And they didn’t have the cost of a new stadium weighing them down. In fact, after Barcelona built the Camp Nou, they didn’t win diddly squat for 14 years. 14 years!
    At Arsenal, we have been spoilt by Wenger’s first 8 years and it seems we do not wish to acknowledge that for the last 5 years, the man has been handicapped by the fact that the bottom fell out of the property market when the Highbury flats were supposed to be providing us with the bridge income we needed. I suspect that without the credit crunch, Wenger would have been able to continue his previous policy of getting in 2-3 players each summer, and a couple in January.
    Losing to Wigan in the manner we did hurt. It caused the taste to go out of my mouth and made eating my lunch an incredibly tough chore. Combined with granting the scum their first win over us in 10 years, it was enough to make heaven weep. But, to hear all the vitriol spewed in Wenger’s direction from the safety of the internet, one would think he’d just been found guilty of genocide. All the man is trying to do is a difficult job in extremely trying circumstances. If you can’t see that, and yet claim to have been a fan since 1970 and whatnot, then you’re either blind, stupid, or lying about how long you’ve been a supporter.
    And one more thing, I’m sick and tired of reading about how much it costs to support Arsenal. Arsenal isn’t some dame you’re trying to nail so you get to complain about how much it cost to buy her dinner and take her to the movies. Arsenal is the wife you marry, and when she says her hair looks raggedy, you smile, hand over the cash and hope she turns up with a hairdo you can lie about liking with a straight face.

    I’ll let the catastrophics figure out the difference between the two.

  • AnonymousGun

    Anyone plays “Where’s Waldo”? You’ll see what you wanna see, peoples get so focus finding Waldo that they never look for other things on that same pictures as well..

    I think most peoples falls into these trap as well, they are so obsessed in looking for the “so called” weakness that they failed to realize the beauty of the whole picture.

  • mbusi musa

    I do understand most people’s current discontent,but I do believe that we are all capable of understanding the reasons(and a few excuses)for the current state of affairs.But for a blogger to call this team average really amazes me.I doubt if an average team would be one of the most watched on the planet,and I highly doubt if the poster would change this team for another.All assertions of course,but I beg that you keep the faith as you’ve always done.

  • tim

    The Law — That is an excellent comment, and I feel that it could easily have been an article.

    It even seems that people here care about Arsenal more than their wives (oh this might get me in trouble)…

  • geeGunner

    @The Law
    April 22nd, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    “Arsenal isn’t some dame you’re trying to nail so you get to complain about how much it cost to buy her dinner and take her to the movies. Arsenal is the wife you marry, and when she says her hair looks raggedy, you smile, hand over the cash and hope she turns up with a hairdo you can lie about liking with a straight face.

    I’ll let the catastrophics figure out the difference between the two.”

    Agreed with ur whole post and classic analogy!

    what irritates me the most is not other fans\supporters of other teams cause i can take their banter – but other Arsenal fans\supporters who have this indefinite doom impending, hate filled negative bile where everyone at the club is a c*nt trying to somehow destroy the club from the inside(players manager and board – hell even the medical staff are coping it now) and the everythings gone tits up,sell everyone and quick get the credit card so i can spend my way outta trouble crowd. (i remember huntalar and melo were top targets for this crowd and wenger was a fool or worse for not buying them – shows how much they know).
    They seem to be dominating most so called ‘Arsenal fans\supporters blogs and its really boring!!

  • Matthew B

    Great comment from The Law.

    Looking at the way the other big clubs are run, it’s increasingly clear that the model isn’t sustainable.

    Massive debt, fans leading revolts to sack the chairmen, so much unrest, and instead of our supporters rubbing their hands together in delight knowing we’re in a great position and will soon be financially independent … Instead, some supporters want our club to follow the same clearly doomed and deeply broken business model.

    Crazy.

  • Arselicked

    Another EPL team has confessed that they are in trouble. Hull City FC. They are placing the blame squarely on Duffen for spending money that he didn’t have. They have fast forgotten that he spent the money to keep them in the premier league. Go figure.

    Tottenham beat Arsenal and Chelsea. Wigan beat Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool. Tottenham and Wigan are a threat to Arsenal and Chelsea. Go figure.

    Nobody bothered if Flamini buys out his contract, most saw him as greedy when he signed for AC Milan for free, Almost everybody would have been happy if Song had signed for Charlton Athletic, now most would kill to see Song’s name in the teamsheet. Almost everybody wnated AW to sign Brede Hangaland, even after he had signed TV, Now, “had it not been for TV, we would have conceded more than the 39 goals”. When are we going to start trusting AW’s judgement?

    Keep those posts coming Tony, some of us can see what you are trying to do.

    Assertion: The world has ganged up on Arsenal. Since they lost to Tottenham and Wigan the entire team needs to be replaced. Starting with the manager. They are crap.

  • amit

    @law:
    how can you co-relate a critic giving some comments to whether he is a fan or not…that point of view is out and out superfluous…people saying good things and who question certain things are both involved emotionally with the club…and either ensemble wear da same jersey and root for the same club every single time even if they may or may not like the manager…right???

    if you are critical you are D&G club member…dats the reason all optimists give if something is said against the policies being implemented…

    a manager, a player and a fan represent a club…they are not ‘THE CLUB’….

  • Chuks – the reason I set up the blog was because I felt that by and large most of what Wenger did was right. But I felt that most of the blogs I read, and 99.9% of the media were against him.

    So I took the view that what was needed was a blog that is 100000% behind Wenger. The catastophists have 100 blogs they can turn to, in order to debate their position. I just felt that the pro-Wenger lobby needed one.

    But I also wanted to explore other areas that I believed were not properly covered on blogs or in the media:

    Football corruption
    Football finance
    The role of the media in football
    The way lesser teams are responding to Arsenal’s speed and style, with their Zero Football approach

    Which is why we have the mix we have now. If someone writes in with an anti-Wenger article I will be polite, but say no, this is not for us. Same if someone sent in an article about Brighton and Hove Albion’s chances of promotion or relegation. Not our area. But I try and give a place where we can talk about the positive side of Arsenal and Wenger, and consider the footballing world around him

  • critic

    @lanre
    probably, iam saying wenger should slap some players and make them a bit insecure about their places so that they can play with gr8er intensity than they did at wigan.

  • Lanre

    @ The Law. Really like ur comment on so call 30+ fans. I wouldnt hide behind the fact that i havent been a fan forever myself. This year being my 11th year as a gooner. Mind you i am just 27. Startd supporting when Kanu joined the club(kanu being my fav player). Even when he left, i had already fall heads over heels wit wenger n the club. Not becos of the trophies then, but the style of playing the game. See, i so much love football, especially if it is played right(i.e. passing, dribbling n scoring fantastic goals. Not zero football or rotational fouling). Arsenal offered me that. Could be cos i played a little, as an attacking midfield, until i had a little break of toe. There, i vowed not to play again n to appreciate good football. This club is on the verge of history. Dont disrupt the build up.

  • Lanre

    Please guys, the title’s probably lost. Let’s rally round the players for the last few games. Let us support whoever is fielded. Pleaseee

  • Gf60

    Well said The Law.

  • Paul C.

    What I find really funny is how suddenly Tottenham seem to be the “model” club for many who are commenting on this thread. They seem to have a better squad, better prospects, better manager, etc etc. Did people actually watch the two games between the clubs this season? Earlier in the season when the 2 sides were roughly at equal strength, we spanked them 3-0 at our place. We dominated the match. The second game between the two teams was controlled by Arsenal and we lost to a wonder goal and a bad, shoddy piece of defending (I won’t make ANY excuses for their 2nd goal). We very nearly drew the game and would have definately deserved it. We were missing ALL our world-class players and were playing those “2nd rate” squad players who would be unable to challenge for a place at any decent team. Tottenham were missing a few probable 1st team players (the only DEFINATE 1st team players missing were Lennon – who never would have scored the goal Rose scored – and Palacios – who would have done no better than Huddlestone, who I thought played very well) but nobody who would have made the impact of Cesc, Arshavin, RvP (as we saw in the final minutes), Song, Gallas, or Vermaelen (who might have prevented their sloppy 2nd). And yet our 2nd rate squad players (and we didnt even have our best “squad” players such as Ramsey and Djourou) outplayed Spurs for much of the match (although seriously lacking a cutting edge – something Cesc, Arshavin, RvP would have definately provided).

    How much better can Spurs play than they have these last 2 games, both at home? Not much better, I would venture. That is my opinion but I just dont see too many players at Spurs who are going to get noticeably better than they are now. Huddlestone, Modric and Bale perhaps. Who else? How much longer will Ledley King play? Crouch, Pavlyenchenko, Defoe are all mature players now. Thay have no “wonder” youth players such as Wilshire. How much better would their injured players make them? Palacios and Lennon would improve them, but not hugely, as Palacios would come in for Huddlestone, who has been excellent. Lennon would be the one obvious improvement.

    How much better can we play than we have in the past 2 games? I think we all know the answer. Obviously it is ridiculous to expect EVERYONE to be fit for a whole season but how many times have we actually been able to put out our STRONGEST team this season? Not many times. If we could put out our strongest team (and squad) how much better would we be with Cesc, Arshavin, RvP, Song, Gallas, Vermaelen, Ramsey, Djourou, and Gibbs available? And Chamakh will make us even better next season.

    Before we have even spent a penny this summer we would appear to be in fantastic shape for next season. Of course we need improvement in some areas, and our manager has admitted that recently and so has pretty much committed himself to buying. In previous years he always said “I like the squad I have, I want them to grow” and that is what he did. Now, these past few weeks, he has said “I think we need improvements, new players in our squad, we have money”. It seems he has now seen which players are growing and which are not and now you can make proper judgments. Had we gotten in all those expensive players these last two years, we might never have known if Denilson, Song, Diaby, Bendtner etc were able to handle it.

    If you are going to commit to a period of developing young players, then you’d better be willing to give the young players every single chance and stick with them. AW has done that. He knows now which areas need further work.

    The important thing is to hang on now for 3rd (or 4th) place. We have been absolutely slaughtered with injuries at the worst possible time and now just need to hang on and get that CL spot. If we secure another top-4 spot then once again you would have to say that the season has been good.

    Has the season been excellent? No. That would mean trophies. But our team has been exciting and we have seen some fantastic play. Would people rather we were 3rd or 4th place with boring sides? But a top-4 spot can NEVER be considered a disaster. NEVER. Look how badly Spurs, City and Liverpool want that CL spot and many people seem to think it should be Arsenal’s by right. It isnt. It is still an achievement to finish in the top-4. Finishing 3rd would be even more of an achievement. Is it something to celebrate? Of course not. It is still a case of “let’s do even better next year”. But is it something to proclaim a disaster? Come on folks, let’s get real.

  • Phaze

    The Law & Paul C (Again!!) have it right, It is a bit tiresome having to read comments like some of the others on untold though

  • tim

    Cheers, Paul C. Well said.

  • wen_detta

    haha can’t wait for next season..I believe if Arsenal still cannot get any silverware next year..AW might walk away with his pride after that(if he doesn’t sign contract extension)..he’s already hints out the possibilities..
    for those who like to compare with the past..history is NOTHING except a benchmark for winners..

  • RedGun

    I would like to see a debate with Tony and Miles Palmer.
    I think one is optimistic and the other pesimistic somewhere in between lies the truth.
    Sure we are right to have faith eventualy AW will prove the doubters wrong.
    However I cant pretend it is NOT the most frustrating period I have had as a supporter, with previous managers I didnt dream as big, However I wasnt as frustrated as I am currently.

  • well-endowed gooner

    Lanre
    April 22nd, 2010 at 2:03 pm
    Now Critic n WEG, would ur arguements be different if say we win the league at the end of the day?
    ———

    If we win the league, I’d be deliriously happy, glad to say I was completely wrong, and tattoo a “I Heart Wenger” on my chest. I’m human, I’m wrong about 50% of the time, but on this issue I reluctantly think that I’m right.

  • well-endowed gooner

    Tony
    April 22nd, 2010 at 11:55 am
    I’ll just reply to one of these for the moment (sorry pressure of time)
    3. On what are you basing your assertion that our injury-run will come to an end? Facts? Speculation? Misplaced optimism? If you supplied a list of physios and medicos we’re going to employ next season, along with our revamped rehab protocols and our revamped fitness and conditioning programmes, I might believe you. Failing this, I’ve got to presume (again, personal opinion) that history will repeat itself, and Gallas, van Persie, Diaby, Eduardo and Walcott will be injured for significant parts of the season, and we’ll have too thin a squad to bear it.
    I based my view on the following:
    a) The three year run of injuries is the worst I have ever seen, in watching Arsenal since 1958, and if the cause is random, then ultimately it will come to an end – just as ultimately the dog in trap 1 will win a race, just as after 3 months in which it doesn’t rain on a tuesday, it will rain on a tuesday.
    b) If however there are causes for the injuries (the change in tactics by lesser teams, the fact that we use younger players, the fact that the game is so much faster) then I expect Wenger and the Arsenal team to find a solution, on the grounds that I start from the premise that he is highly intelligent and has a good team with him.
    ———

    a) I’ve only been watching the Arsenal in the 00s, so I’ll take your word for it. But if the injuries are occurring to the same players, the injuries are all similar in nature, and the injuries are to key players in key positions with little back-up, I’ll be worried. van Persie has had rotten luck with injuries, and yes, he may turn out injury-free for the next five years, like Clichy has proved after an injury-prone 2 years. But for whatever reason, he keeps getting injured, so based on past experience, I’d say he’s going to get injured again. Gallas has the same sort of injuries at the same time, for the past few years. I would say that unless we change his fitness regime, get better rehab, or buy better back-ups so he isn’t rushed back to training/games, he’ll get injured again.

    b) If there are legitimate causes for those injuries (and I believe there are, based on past history and the way we’ve been handling our players), what evidence do you see to say that Wenger will do anything about it over the summer? We’ve had these type of injuries and these type of players for years now, and nothing’s been done. We’ve had a thin squad and we’ve rushed key players back for years now, and nothing’s been done. Gallas was allowed to declare himself available to play a high-intensity game against Barcelona, after being out for months for a soft-tissue injury and being patently match-unfit.

    Tony, I’m basing these opinions on past history. What are you basing your opinions on? From what I can see, you’re basing your argument on your boundless optimism and faith in Arsene Wenger. It’s not based on that fact and logic that you seem to hold in such high esteem.

  • goonergerry

    Tony, you have done a good job in exposing some myths and fallacies in this blog-correctly in my view pointing out that it based on a series of groundless assertions. Yes it is methodologically unsound. I also agree with your comments about injuries the impact of which cannot be underestimated.
    In defending our defensive record this season, though you appear to be defending the indefensible. I cannot think of any games this season when I have believed that we are not likely to concede a goal or 2.
    Our results in big games this season have been poor–yes an assertion-if you expect to win or even draw games against Chelsea and Man U, Barcelona away,Man City away then they have been poor because we have lost every one of these usually heavily.and in all of those defensive mistakes have cost us heavily. The results in games against Chelsea and Man U in the second part of last season were equally poor and arose from defensive mistakes as well. During this period virtually all players have made critical defensive errors, some have shown that they are making significant errors every time they play in big games (Fabianski and Silvestre). It is not too unkind to ask why do we persist with players who demonstrably cant do their jobs?
    However this weakness points to a more fundamental problem in defensive organisation and tactics rather than individual players.
    I do wonder reading this Tony, just how much evidence would be necessary to convince you that Arsene Wenger had actually got something wrong.