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October 2016
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This wouldn’t have happened with a better manager, like… Guardiola

By Walter Broeckx

In their haste to blame the Alexis injury all on Wenger and Wenger alone some people come up with everything they can find.

Alexis shouldn’t have played against Norwich. And yes talking as usual with hindsight it would have been better if he hadn’t played.

Now of course Wenger is the one who picks the final team. But the case of Alexis is of course something special.

Now I can imagine that after the Dinamo match there has been some testing by the medical department. Wenger mentioned his hamstring so the medical department will have looked in to that. And then have to make a risk assessment if it would be wise to play him or not. Now nobody of us knows anything about the advice the doctors gave. If a player just has a bit of a stiff feeling it might go away by just some extra massage.

If Alexis already had a real injury the medical department didn’t see it or didn’t report it. The last option seems not really on. I cannot imagine that the medical department would say nothing if they find a real issue with a player.

Not finding a real problem is however not that impossible. You can take scans but not find a real problem. And by the way Alexis was running around for 40 minutes there didn’t seem to be any problem at all in his hamstrings. So we might have a situation where the medical department couldn’t find anything as there was nothing to find at that moment.

And then we have the player. We all have heard the stories about Alexis and how he loves to play football. Day and night. Night and day. First on the training pitch and last on the training pitch. Always playing and running around. This guy just loves football and loves playing it. Not playing is a heavy punishment for him. So with a guy who is so mad about playing football you always have the chance that he might not tell all what could prevent him from playing.

He was a doubt for the last match from Chili but played the whole match. Then came back played for Arsenal and had a brilliant match against Dinamo Zagreb. What manager will let his star player rest when he is assisting and scoring goals for fun when his medical department finds nothing really wrong? A last match before a week rest? I can imagine the headlines if Wenger would rest a player without any injury and then not win this match. Some would be all over Wenger for not playing his strongest team.

In their hurry to criticise Wenger some came up with some footage about how a young modern coach reacted when his player came off with a hamstring injury a few years ago. The manager Guardiola from Barcelona. The player involved… Alexis.

In the images you can see Guardiola shout at Alexis who hobbles off holding his hamstrings. Yelling at him for playing too much for his country. Alexis loving his country too much is something we could blame him for. I agree on that. But people point at this as the example on how Wenger should have acted.

But then I get very confused to be honest. Because do people want that Wenger would stand there swearing and shouting at Alexis for getting injured????? Now what does that matter once the player is injured? Why would a manager shouting and swearing in public be a good thing?

Is it just a way of showing what a tough manager you are? You know the all swearing and shouting managers style that somehow is being imposed as the way to do it? A few years ago I could read on the internet by Wenger out shouters writing that Wenger should stop making a fool of himself by shouting and waving his arms too much? But now when Wenger does nothing they say he has no desire anymore. So whatever you do, it’s not the right thing to do.

But people claim that Guardiola is a far better manager than Wenger as he shouted at Alexis.

But the whole point is…that the shouting occurred after Alexis got injured.

And then my question is….. why did Guardiola play Alexis in that match if he knew he had a risk? Guardiola was unhappy that Alexis had played too much for Chili so he had to know that he could get injured.

So how come that oh so brilliant Guardiola did put him on the field that day? After all Guardiola is better than Wenger but the outcome was the same: Alexis coming  off injured with his hamstring done.

If Guardiola was so much better he shouldn’t have started him in the first place. But Guardiola did start him in that match and the result was the same as with Wenger.

So how on earth can people find this as evidence for Guardiola being smarter and better than Wenger?

Or is it just for the shouting….?

Or could it be that Alexis is prepared to take a gamble himself with his body from time to time? Because of his love for the game and his desire to play always and all the time? Not telling your doctors that the problem is worse than first said? A human reaction. I have done it before when I was doubtful to play a match. I even went on to play with fever in a match and didn’t tell anyone till I was taken off because I was bad. In the days I still played myself.

Even now as a referee I will do matches that I shouldn’t start when I am injured. I still ignore it up to a certain way and will do stupid things to do my match.  So I would understand Alexis also for not telling the real truth.

Of course sitting behind my keyboard I know that a) Alexis should tell the medical department of each problem b) the medical department would find any problem with every player even when they see nothing and c) Wenger would know better than the two  combined and not play Alexis even when he and the medical staff declare him fit.

In a perfect world all of this would happen. But this is the real world. Players don’t  say everything to the doctors, doctors can make mistakes (don’t open my mouth… ) and managers can make mistakes.

With hindsight one can say that Wenger shouldn’t have played Alexis (even though he was brilliant till the pit incident). But the same can be said about Guardiola. Both played Alexis even though there was a risk of him getting an injury.

The reaction after the injury is in fact of non-importance.  Both managers, Wenger and Guardiola got it wrong at the time (speaking with hindsight of course). No matter how hard Guardiola has been swearing at Alexis the result was the same.

The only important thing is to know when he will be back. And swearing will not help his recovery process at all.

19 comments to This wouldn’t have happened with a better manager, like… Guardiola

  • Usama Zaka

    About Guardiola.. this happened last season at Bayern Munich when they had 7-8 players injured. Just look at the state of him, absolutely shameless.

  • GoonerEris

    Hindsight is usually 20-20 vision, right? I have read and listened to pundits and fans about how Wenger should know better, like they would do better jobs of being Arsenal manager. It is all talk. Arsenal needed to win that game and needed the best legs out there. Had Alexis remained fit and scored the winner, it would have been alright, I guess. He gets paid to play and it is the job of Wenger to pick his team so, folks need to respect his decisions, at times as this. Moan, sometimes by all means. But comparing him to another manager? That’s just not on. Every team suffers injuries, even if Arsenal’s appears to be a recurring theme. The thing is there are few impact related, so this tells you it may just be down to luck or the make-up of the player.

  • Pat

    I still say it was the push into the hoardings that did it.

    Closely argued analysis, Walter. It convinced me. But will people read it and remember it? I hope so.

  • Norman14

    The problem with modern day football is this – how fit are ANY players? How often have we heard “He is nearly there – he starts”?

    It also depends on reaction to “niggles”? So in Alexis’ case we could argue that his 75% total fitness is probably as good as 95% for anybody else (except, perhaps, Mesut).

    Also, the players coming back will not be anywhere near 100% – in the cases of Welbz and Jack, they probably will only be around 70% when they return. Is Rambo anywhere near 100%? No.

    So all the pundits in the world aren’t going to change the notion that players only play when they are 100%. I haven’t heard them blaming Van Ghoul or McLaren for the injury crises at their respective clubs.

    They just HAVE to have a go at Arsenal and Arsene.

  • Gord

    OT: Loanees

    Wellington is at Bolton (I believe, currently injured?). In the news, is that Bolton players were not paid in November, because the club is looking for a new owner. Maybe Wellington will be coming back?

    At, is the latest totals on payments to agents. The men’s team was almost 12 million Pounds Stirling, and the ladies a little over 5000 Pounds Stirling.

  • nicky

    I must confess that occasionally I look forward to the day when Arsene Wenger’s successor takes over at the Emirates.
    That is not to say that I am disloyal in any way to the most successful manager Arsenal have had in modern times.
    It’s just that over recent years, rightly or wrongly, there has been a fair dollop of criticism over the way Arsene operates. Lack of signings, poor tactics, excessive injuries, etc, etc.
    I would like to see what the new regime would do. What changes would be made. Would we all yearn for Arsene’s return.
    We supporters of a certain age may not be around when Arsene retires but we can’t help wondering what to expect when that happens. (It’s a bit like the Christmas mornings of our youth!). 😉

  • GoonerEris

    Nicky, chances are, Wenger would ensure he leaves a successful club with great youth potential for his successor. He is just that way.

  • John

    I agree with you.It would be interesting to see the likes of Pep in charge of us or the likes of Klopp.I think that a lot of fans are scared of change and its that fear of the unknown which worrys them.
    For years now we have suffered a large amount of injuries each season and although the playing staff have changed over these years one personis still here and thats the manager.Is this just a coincidence or is it the training regimes put in place ??

  • Paul the gooner

    A very good read and I agree with most of it.However, as I said before, we would be saying”more bad luck” rather than the blame game.Why? because AW should not have mentioned it in his press conference earlier in the week.He is too honest.

  • Al

    The oik that pushed Alexis into that concrete pit has apologised to another oik, piers morgan, but not to Sanchez himself. Classy. And he claims he was attempting to stop him, and not to push. Oh yeah? Do you pull something with open palms? Moron. And not an honest bone in him.

    I’d like to think that’s when the injury was aggravated. Ever missed or misjudged a step going downstairs? I think that’s how it must have felt for Alexis; your foot is expecting to hit level ground but suddenly plunges 2 feet down. For those that have they’ll have an idea how it feels.

  • Pat

    We have got one of the most successful managers in English football, I believe the most successful manager in the history of Arsenal (Tony will correct me if I’m wrong). It just amazes me to hear people looking forward to the day when he’s gone.

    The media and the referees love Sam Allardyce and Tony Pulis. Is that what people want? We certainly wouldn’t have the same injury problems then, because we would be the ones committing the dirty fouls.

    Beautiful football with fair play. Young players brought on and stars made even starrier. A manager with interesting ideas. I feel sorry for anyone who can’t appreciate it.

    What can I say Arsenal fans? Don’t let the media and the PGMOL win. Support the manager! Support the team!

  • dave

    so when Arsene “rests” an injured Cech to be replaced by our #1 from last year Ospina he is slated for his decision. If Arsene had not played Alexis and we drew it would have been because he did not risk Alexis… Come on guys give Arsene a break, not like he is injuring the team..

  • ozziearsenal

    Reply john the way we play possession football the PGMOL lack of protection of skilful players the kicks , pushing in the back, rotational faulting,it all adds up not to add blood doping ? by possible other teams,IT strange that Mr Wenger mention doping and we get 10 men from uefa check us out that is how corrupt football is Shut up or else ? We need more MR Wenger,s to speak up and not be persecuted. Not a mention Why Arsernal were checked and No other team Come on Press do your job ask the Questions???????

  • Thank you Dave. Quite right.

  • Chris


    reading your post, I just wonder.

    If you were married to the most beautiful woman (in your eyes), good mother, good spouse, good lover, cordon bleu cook, with quite a few blokes around the block and in your usual pubs criticising her out of jealousy and not being able to hitch her ….you’d look forward to getting a divorce, taking a chance so you could regret the time of your blissfull mariage ?

    May I suggest taking up poker ?

    This all to say I respectfully disagree and am sad that the negativity around is diverting so many supporters from being supporters to being spectators, from appreciating the good moments to agonizing over a few bad ones.

    Why do we all have to be jealous of other teams results instead of appreciating our own ?

    Why cannot we appreciate the fact that out of this year’s team, there are at least 7 ‘kids’ which we have been able to see blossom throughout the years (not counting Scez and Jenks and probably forgetting others), along with a few grown-ups who pretty much saw their career take a steep upwards curve over some years as well ?
    Sure, you can get roses at any store….but tending a rose garden is a different life experience that sometimes gets your fingers bloody…..

    Why is the discovery of yet another talent gunning for us not better than consumerism compulsive behaviour ?
    Why is fairplay considered a negative and tricks and cheating seen as the better way ? Is this what we want to show our kids as examples ? Yeah my son, great, we won, the referee was on our side….let’s hope the next one will be too….what kind of attitude is that ?

    Do we need to be in a kleenex/H&M sort of world where anything that does not please us now must be replaced right f… now ?

    Yeah, I am a supporter. Definitely. For the love of the game – just too bad that one was used for baseball….But it would be worth an Arsene Wenger banner at Emirates.
    And I sing :

    Thank you for the music, the songs I’m singing
    Thanks for all the joy they’re bringing
    Who can live without it, I ask in all honesty
    What would life be?
    Without a song or a dance what are we?
    So I say thank you for the music
    For giving it to me



  • Chris

    here is a what the Emirates crowd (I cannot afford coming over at the current prices) ought to sing from time to time….

    Thank you for the magic, the games I’m seeing
    Thanks for all the joy they’re bringing
    Who can live without it, I ask in all honesty
    What would life be?
    Without a goal or a game what are we?
    So I say thank you for the magic
    For giving it to me

    Lyrics adapted from Abba

    Happy singing


  • nicky

    I find your comment quite peculiar in its implied criticism.
    All I said was that in my quieter moments I have occasionally found myself wondering how our Arsenal would prosper under eventual new management. I’m sure I’m not alone in this. Remember, Arsene Wenger, like you and I, remains mortal.
    As a loyal supporter of Arsenal FC for over 80 years, I will not accept doubt from ANYONE about my unswerving allegiance to our great Club, least of all from someone who apparently has only just arrived on the scene.

  • Chris

    Nicky, Sir,

    I may not be able to afford coming to the Emirates, yet I am a decades old supporter, certainly without your capacity to relate back as long as you do.
    Yet I have my opinions and voice them, as do you.
    I respect your opinion, and the way I understood it was the reason of voicing mine, trying to disagree in a polite and respectful way.
    I now undestand better the ‘daydreaming/what-if’ aspect of your comment which had evaded me at first.

    Which does not change my opinion of all the other trully negative contributions and articles I read daily.