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10 Things that I would really like to see happen this season.

By Tony Attwood

There is a copycat plague circulating among blogs and newspapers, in which the journalist or blogger sits down and writes “5 Things that” and then thinks “what things?”  After a detailed consideration lasting all of 3.8 seconds he/she comes up with some banal and mediocre concept and then makes up five items to fit into the concept.

Five players Arsenal need to buy, Five players Arsenal need to lose, Five problems Arsenal need to resolve, and in the most recent one from 90min.com “5 things Wenger needs to figure out before the beginning of the season”.

Note the use of “figure out” – as if he is some dolt sitting in an office wondering why it is that the company uses more envelopes than it actually posts letters.

My own article “5 football journalists the newspaper editors ought to sack before the season begins” was due for publication last week, but our legal advisers objected to the section in which I suggested that three of them ought to be not only sacked but also thrown into the Thames and held under the gently lapping waves with barge poles.  We’re still arguing on that one – I on the side of my artistic integrity, they with some lilly-livered liberal civil rights issue and the possibility of the closure of Untold.

So I’m having another bash at answering the point.  What do I want to see next season?

The key problem with these childish lists is that they divide things up into little segments, and think that each can be resolved individually, when in football normally they can’t.

For example, one of the five points made by 90min is “Which dynamic midfielder he is going to buy?”  Now let’s suppose that Wenger knows exactly who he wants, but he knows he can’t buy him until next year. Does he go for second or third best, or does he say “no, I have Coquelin and Arteta, so I will see how they go this season, and then decide if to take up the option on x next season.”  Or does he rush in, and risk losing Coquelin who sees his way blocked?

(Notice again the language – “which” dynamic midfielder, as if players of the highest quality are queuing up waiting to be signed by Arsenal with their current club’s generous blessings.  As if).

Here’s another one of the 5 Things that Wenger Needs to Sort: Theo Walcott’s future on and off the pitch.  That one to me is a bit dumb because no matter what, Theo’s contract is not going to be left to run – we know that.  He’s either going to re-sign or not.

And if he does re-sign, what’s to sort?  We know he can play wing and centre forward.  We know that with Alexis in the Wembley Final the two of them were alternating position regularly, to the dismay of Aston Villa.   The notion that Theo has to be one or the other is irrational, now we know he can be both.

The third point centred around changing tactics….

Arsenal showed last season they are capable of deviating from their natural desire to entertain, and spoil a game if it means they can get three points. Well, that’s a side of Arsenal we need to see more of next season.

That is a bit of a dross observation.   Immediately after the Man C game ended the Guardian published this note

Arsenal squeezed the life out of an anaemic City, in particular David Silva, and played with maturity, discipline and authority, defending well and attacking at the right moments. This is the blueprint Arsenal must follow in these games from now on.

Arsenal didn’t spoil that game.  They made that game.

“Whether to say goodbye to the old guard” is the next point – in this case Rosicky and Arteta.  We know they both have new contracts, but can still both be sold.  The point is however that we know we have been crucified by unpunished tackles year after year, and if we need anything it is 25 valid players who can be used in the squad, plus as many under 21s as we can find who can play, so that as and when the injuries start to roll, we can turn to others, just like we turned to Bellerin and Coquelin this past season.

The final point that Wenger has to sort out is “How to beat Chelsea in the community shield.”   The argument being that this is important for Wenger because Arsenal haven’t beaten Chelsea for a long time.   But so what if we beat Chelsea in the Shield and then lose to them twice in the league.  Will anyone remember the Shield?

The fact is that the review of all the pre-seasons since Rioch that is currently being run on the Arsenal History Society site shows that pre-season performances have nothing to do with what happens in the season.

​So by and large a load of dross, in my humble view, but there are some other things I think we could do with more or less of.

The latest fad in journalism is to run a poll saying “Which player would you most like to see leave?”

Liverpool fans have a problem with this because a lot of them keep trying to write in “all of them” when the list is put up.  But despite their destructiveness sites like quora.com and 90min are running these articles and fans are jumping in.

For the moment no one is looking at running an Arsenal version of this, and I hope they don’t – but if they do I hope you might consider absolutely not voting.  What good do you think it would do your club?

So what else would like to see next season?  Here we go with a list.

1.  A non-violent attack to take place on PGMO HQ, with all the officials politely removed and placed in the street on their bottoms, stamping their feet and crying, as a new, serious, professional and above all open group comes in to take over.

2.  Another player to come through the ranks, as Bellerin and Coquelin did.  Hayden, Zelalem, Bielik, Sanogo, Gnabry, Akpom, Toral.  I’m using “ranks” in a vague way to mean any player who has been in the academy for a bit.  Incidentally Toral doesn’t seem to have a squad number yet.  Is that significant?

3.  One anti-Wengerian supporter actually to deal with the real issues as to why we were not buying top players during the early years at the Ems, and look at what has happened to many other clubs in the first years in a new stadium – a fate which we avoided.

4.  One journalist, I don’t mind who, to start poking around in the affairs of the FA and start asking why has this organisation been getting away with such failure and incompetence for so long.

5.  An analysis of each club’s success or failure in terms of transfer window dealings last year.  Everyone gets very worked up about transfers but just how much good do transfers do in the first season?  Since such an analysis would be across all the clubs in the EPL it would take a fair amount of analysis to do.  A bit beyond Untold’s current resources but one of the national papers could do it.

6.  The end of the mindless repetition of same old story without evidence.   So the next time some old dufffer says “England need more players in the Premier League” the interviewer or journalist says, “and what is your evidence for that?”   The evidence Untold has presented is that the number of players who play in one’s home league is irrelevant to later success.  Just look at the Netherlands.  But let’s give them a chance to argue back.

7.  The end of the Saturday afternoon TV rule resulting in date changes.  I think all Saturday games should be televised, unless the club says no.

8.  A vigorous imposition of FFP in Europe, the Championship (where the League is currently fighting QPR in a legal battle) and at long last in the Premier League.

9.  Journalists to start considering the broader picture, rather than just the last game.

10.  Arsenal to win the Double.

That’s not too much to ask is it?

—————

Latest in the series on Pre-season games in the past

We’ve got articles so far on every pre-season from 1996 to 2006 – with more coming between now and the start of the 2015/16 season to complete the series.

2006: Pre-season and the opening of the Emirates

 

 

 

20 comments to 10 Things that I would really like to see happen this season.

  • esxste

    Tony,

    Regarding number 7, I wonder how this would affect clubs income. Especially lower league clubs who might rely on fans who “adopt” a club – i.e support a low league team and watch their PL club on MOTD. How would it affect TV revenue, having an audience split between 10 different games? How would it affect retail? Would all fans want it? After all, Emirates can only take 60,000 fans on a Saturday. Would we always want to play on Saturday and for it to be televised? Would it be an overdose that after a season or two means fewer people watch the live televised games?

  • I wish we also do to Chelsea like we did to mancs last season

  • Pete

    Definitely disagree about 7. Having a window free to watch your local club is critical for that club.

    Would also be nice to win the CL as that is something we have never achieved although think we are slowly pushing towards the elite – but fear greatly that Wenger will finally have to retire before we have finally scaled that peak.

  • Andy Mack

    5 things…..What about the 5 Goals we need (when I say ‘need’ I do, of course mean ‘I would like us’) to score in every game whilst keeping a clean sheet at the same time!

  • Kenneth Widmerpool

    OT- pictures of the new coop are out. Looks like a bog seat, so if Manures place is Old Toilet does that mean the new chicken shack is New Toilet?Heres to the Gunners taking a dump on them time and time again…

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin.

    1. Point of elevation, Arsenal to win the quadruple is among my demands in the coming season. 2. Chelsea and Tottenham are being reported to be bidding to use Wembley Stadium for at least 3 seasons as they expand their stadia seating capacity to 60,000 and 56,000 respectively. They will soon match the current Emirates Stadium seating capacity of 60,000. I think AFC have many Gooners on the awaiting season tickets which they cannot issue to them due to lack of seating spaces. I am sure AFC know this even more than I know. Nevertheless, if AFC have paid the debt they incurred for building the Emirates Stadium as we’ve read on the media online. I wouldn’t want us to be caught in this Stadium seating capacity of a thing. I suggest from the end of next season, the Gunners should relocate all their games back to their Highbury Stadium and commence civil works at the Emirates Stadium to increase the seating capacity to 70,000 which will be close to Old Trafford capacity. If AFC accept my proposal, they should start renovations work at Highbury soonest to enabled the Gunners move there for playing their games from 2016/17 season. I think highbury holds 37,000 fans. The 23,000 shortfalls could be made up by increasing the price for tickets and services to balance the club budget for 2-3 years. The Gooners may have to accept this sacrifice to move AFC to the next level in 3 years time. 3. Arsenal will play Chelsea 3 times this season, guaranteed. And they may meet themselves in the Capital One Cup, the FA Cup and the Champions League. A journey for a thousand mile starts with on step. AFC must beat Chelsea to the Shield at Wembley and go on to beat them at the Bridge before beating them at the Emirates to make us start cancelling some of the wins Jose Mourinho Blues outfit have had over the Boss’ Gunners.

  • esxste

    SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    Have you heard the saying “It’s not the size that matters, it’s what you do with it that counts?”

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin.

    1. Point of elevation, Arsenal to win the quadruple is among my demands in the coming season. 2. Chelsea and Tottenham are being reported to be bidding to use Wembley Stadium for at least 3 seasons as they expand their stadia seating capacity to 60,000 and 56,000 respectively. They will soon match the current Emirates Stadium seating capacity of 60,000. I think AFC have many Gooners on the awaiting season tickets list which they cannot be issued tickets due to lack of seating space. I am sure AFC know this even more than I know it. Nevertheless, if AFC have paid the debts they incurred for building the Emirates Stadium as we’ve read on the media online. I wouldn’t want us to be caught in this Stadium seating capacity of a thing. I suggest from the end of next season, the Gunners should relocate all their games back to their Highbury Stadium and commence civil works at the Emirates Stadium to increase the seating capacity to 70,000 which will be close to Old Trafford capacity. If AFC accept my proposal, they should start renovations work at Highbury soonest to enabled the Gunners move there for playing their games from 2016/17 season. I think highbury holds 37,000 fans. The 23,000 seats revenue shortfalls could be made up by increasing the price for tickets and services to balance the club budget for 2-3 years. The Gooners may have to accept this sacrifice to move AFC to the next level in 3 years time. 3. Arsenal will play Chelsea 3 times this season, guaranteed. And they may meet themselves in the Capital One Cup, the FA Cup and the Champions League. A journey for a thousand mile starts with taking one step. AFC must beat Chelsea to the Shield at Wembley and go on to beat them at the Bridge before beating them at the Emirates to make us start cancelling some of the wins Jose Mourinho Blues outfit have had over the Boss’ Gunners.

  • nicky

    Samuel,
    I agree entirely with your idea of re-occupying Highbury Stadium while the Ems’ capacity is enlarged to 70,000.
    The folk who now live around our old pitch could watch the games for free! Their gardens would disappear for a season or two, of course and their apartments thrown open for our season ticket holders to use…..but only on match days.
    I hope the backroom boys at the Ems will read all this and act accordingly. 😉

  • insideright

    Give the fans more value for money by adopting the multi-ball system in the EPL

  • Andy Mack

    SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin, I think we’d have problems getting agreement to increase the size of the Wenger Stadium at the moment, due to the restricted transport. We’d probably have to pay for the tube station to be enlarged substantially and that would be extremely expensive.

  • Gord

    I am guessing that any perceived size problems with the Underground at Wenger Stadium, are only present during events at Wenger Stadium?

    I have visited a few places where they had “people movers”, ways of moving people which are atypical. I think the ones used the most, are the moving walkways (which you might call a travelator). I’ve never visited near Wenger Stadium (the closest I have been to London, England on the ground, is Frankfurt Airport), but if Holloway Road is appropriate, maybe a raised sidewalk could be built to get people from Wenger Stadium to the Underground Station at Upper Holloway? If building such a structure through nominally parkland is preferable, I think there is a U station in/near Finsbury Park?

    Would that help with (people) traffic flow?

  • Damilare

    Thanks Walter, I go with your no 1 and 10 beating Chelsea every time along the way starting with the Shield.

    COYG

  • Menace

    Gord – during the building of the ems, Arsenal contributed a huge amount to London Underground to upgrade Holloway Road station but it appears to have melted in the annals of history. Holloway Road station is closed to northbound passengers wanting to exit an hour before matches. Arsenal station needs to be improved with better entry & exit tunnels. The station itself can only handle a fixed passenger throughput. A matchday bus connection to Highbury & Islington station would make some difference.

    The most important aspect that needs to be addressed is the access to matches for season ticket junior gunners at an appropriate hour so as not to interfere with school. Matches switched by TV should be burdened with refunding some (if not all)of the costs to junior gunners. The club should set the precedent ensuring our youth are not deprived of time for education because of the financial greed of TV.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    1. EPL – ( Another unbeaten season .)
    2. CL – ( No losses on the way .)
    3. FA Cup.( No goals conceded .)
    4. League Cup ( For the younglings.)
    5. Community Shield ( Just to piss ‘im off !)
    6. Loyal fans ( ” You may say I’m a dreamer , but I’m not the only one…..”)
    7. Fair referees. ( Stranger things have happened.)
    8. Fair play and return to the beautiful game.
    9. Enlightened ostriches , pundits , fans ( Save the trees – don’t buy newspapers !)
    10. A knighthood for Attwood ! ( Long overdue , methinks !) And due recognition for UA .

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Have Chelski considered playing in Greece in the short term ? Lots of stadia / hotels/ flights all available at cheap rates .
    And lot of foreigners for their fans to abuse !

  • Sean

    Don’t forget to add a dm to your list Tony lol

  • ARSENAL 13

    One thing I want to see happen the most is Akpom develop into to superstriker. Our very own, from the academy. His rise should shut those people up with those ‘ARSENAL only produce mid fielders’ opinions.

  • Well done Tony. Merge your list of ten with Brickfields Gunners’, if it can be done, and we have the clearest picture yet of Utopia, Gooners’-style!
    When the Unbeaten Season happened on us all, who saw it coming? Who says dreams don’t come true? What am I smoking? Blame Tony. Large doses of positivity from visiting UA too much did that to me!

  • critic

    Why the double? If you want to wish, wish big. Arsenal to win the quadruple. Yeah.