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October 2016
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Arsenal v Chelsea. Who are the specialists in failure?

by Bulldog Drummond

The Specialist in Failure League

  • A win for Arsenal would leave Arsenal top of the league
  • A defeat for Arsenal could leave us as low as third… two points behind the leaders.
  • A win for Chelsea would leave them 13th or 14th.
  • A defeat for Chelsea would leave them 14th, 15th or 16th.

Chelsea have in fact been doing rather well of late, unbeaten since Guus Hiddink replaced the Specialist in Failure José Mourinho in December.  And yes they have got ten points from six league games, which is a significant improvement.

Ah… Mourinho the man who laughed at everyone else because he always won and always got it right, became the person they had to sack just to ensure they didn’t drop into the second division.  The aftermath is still going on – unbelievably Chelsea are still fighting their ex-medical officer in the employment tribunals.

Thus we have the interesting spectacle of the owner not accepting any blame for having appointed Mourinho and not accepting that Mourinho did anything wrong in the way he treated Dr Eva Carneiro.   One wonders if the owner ever takes any blame for anything.  Ever.

Mourinho and Abramovich are thus two of a kind: neither accepting any blame for anything.   In Mourinho’s case he still won’t accept the fact that he was not good enough to motivate his players and achieve over a 2.5 year period what Arsene Wenger did over a 19.5 year period – keep them in the top four.

True of course he did win the title last season, and there are undoubtedly Arsenal supporters who would argue that since Fourth is not A Trophy, and playing every year in the Champs League is an irrelevance, and since two FA Cups in succession is also not A Trophy, Mourinho is the better deal.  However some of us would sooner have what we have – the stadium already built, and a self-sustainable club.   For me, quite how they got into this mess with so much money at their disposal, 30+ youth players on loan, and the self-proclaimed best manager in the world, is hard to imagine.

Coming fourth does not get a trophy of course, but it would have been nice to see Mourinho not get it.

Now there are some authors who have published football books arguing that the removal of Mourinho is irrelevant for it is not the manager who makes a difference but a club’s total wage spend.  The more you spend on players the higher up the league you get.  Different authors argue for all sorts of numbers between 81% and 89% of the impact on where a club ends up in the league is dependent on the wage spend.   The rest is down the the manager.

Except that even if this claim were true (and there are severe doubts about the argument) there are problems.  It is not just how much you spend but who you spend it on.  Lots of papers have covered the story that when Liverpool! bought Mario Balotelli they did so knowing perfectly well that he was not the right player for them.  They bought him anyway because they couldn’t get anyone else.  They just felt they had to spend, spend, spend.

This is of course the reverse of Mr Wenger who always says he will only buy if the player is an improvement on who he already has.

And besides, the Chelsea problem is not so much that Mourinho didn’t buy enough, but rather that he bought wrong – in the sense that the team were unable to meld together this season.  Of course Mourinho did win lots of things with the clubs he has managed – but this time however he just got it very wrong.  Much more wrong than the man he labelled the “Specialist in Failure”.

The simple fact is that changing managers over and over again isn’t a recipe for success.  Between September 2007 and June 2013 (ie Mourinho leaving to Mourinho arriving) the club previously known as Chelsea (now renamed Abramovich’s Toy – has had as manager Grant, Scolari, Wilkins, Hiddink, Ancelloti, AVB, Matteo, and Benitez.  Despite it having unimaginable wealth, wealth far beyond anything that Arsenal could even dream of, it only won the League once.

So how could Chelsea have been very good indeed, and then slip from the desired aim of winning everything all the time, and tumble down the league?

One explanation is that the team that Mourinho gathered wasn’t actually that good, but they would always play far above their abilities for him.  Except that this can only carry on for so long, until the real ability of each player is seen and understood – the third season when Mournho’s sides start to fall apart.

Another explanation is that somehow suddenly Mourinho lost it and couldn’t manage any more.

A third explanation is that Mourinho spends his time telling players how good they are, and they respond as we all do to this praise and do better and better.  But eventually this approach slips – players are told they are so good for so long that they believe it too much, and they stop trying quite so much, because they are just naturally So Good.

Personally I go for the last explanation, but with the caveat that for this weekend’s match the players will be extra motivated.   They are after all playing Arsenal.

Cesc Fabregas, the man with the curious and mixed DNA and blood relationship has looked fairly awful this season, but he will want to do everything right and if possible score several times.  Apart from his desire to do it against us, he’ll also want to do it anyway either to secure his place at Chelsea or get himself a decent transfer fee when he is shuffled on in the summer.

But let’s return to this point that actually the Chelsea team is not that good, but that Mourinho was a superb motivator.   The WhoScored analysis of players is particularly interesting on this point: they list players by a rating system widely accepted in football, showing the contribution of players in the team.

Here’s the top 20 list of players from Arsenal and Chelsea.  SpG is shots per goal.  PS is pass success.

What we see here is that the top eight in the 20 are all Arsenal players, and 11 of the top 12 are Arsenal.

Name Apps Mins Goals Assists Yel SpG PS% Rating
1 Mesut Özil 20 1727 3 16 2 1.4 87.5 7.80
2 Alexis Sánchez 13(1) 1107 6 1 4.1 80.2 7.68
3 Santi Cazorla 14 1205 3 2 1.6 90.3 7.52
4 Laurent Koscielny 19 1631 3 1 0.7 86.6 7.46
5 Gabriel Paulista 7(1) 665 1 2 0.8 89.9 7.39
6 Francis Coquelin 12 894 3 0.4 91.5 7.37
7 Aaron Ramsey 18 1589 4 2 1 2.7 86.3 7.30
8 Nacho Monreal 21(1) 1898 2 1 0.2 84.3 7.24
9 Willian 19(2) 1630 3 3 3 1.6 83.4 7.18
10 Héctor Bellerín 20 1800 1 1 0.3 85.5 7.13
11 Petr Cech 22 1980 58.2 7.04
12 Olivier Giroud 16(6) 1500 12 2 2 2.7 68.2 7.03
13 César Azpilicuet 20(1) 1762 2 4 0.3 79.5 6.97
14 Pedro 15(3) 1365 2 2 2 2.2 82.4 6.97
15 Diego Costa 17(1) 1531 7 3 6 2.2 76.6 6.97
16 Cesc Fàbregas 18(3) 1541 1 3 1 1 83.9 6.96
17 Nemanja Matic 17(4) 1490 1 3 1.2 88.8 6.95
18 Branislav Ivanovic 18 1620 1 1 3 1 84.3 6.94
19 Per Mertesacker 17 1530 1 0.2 89.2 6.90
20 Eden Hazard 17(2) 1389 2 2 1.2 83.8 6.90


It is not just that Arsenal have the better players and are higher up the league, it is the fact that while Chelsea are in general decline of late, Arsenal’s players are getting ever great accolades

We’ve heard so much about Ozil I don’t have to repeat it, and of course there has been the total about turn by the media over the worth of Giroud.    But also sneaking up in the list is Nacho Monreal.  The BBC web site says of him,

“The Spanish full back has recently signed a new deal at Arsenal and deservedly so. In a season where Arsenal have suffered their usual injury crisis, Monreal has been a steady and excellent performer. He is arguably one of the best full back in the league, and will be crucial in keeping the rejuvenated Chelsea side from scoring.”

So overall, Chelsea have slipped down the league because their players are not so good as ours, but they will try harder today because they are playing Arsenal.

OK, not especially profound… I’ll try harder in the second part of the preview.

Two more anniversaries.

  • 23 January 1971: Portsmouth 1 Arsenal 1 (FA Cup 4th round), en route to the first Double.  The replay was on 1 February.  See Arsenal in the 70s part 3.  Storey scored with a penalty.
  • 23 January 2002: Leicester 1 Arsenal 3 – the match postponed from 1 January.  League match 23 of the third Double season.  Van Bronckhurst, Henry and Wiltord scored.

34 comments to Arsenal v Chelsea. Who are the specialists in failure?

  • Tony jackman

    To be fair, it was just Mourinho who said that, not the club. He loved controversy! Pain!

  • thierryhenry22

    @tonyjackman I honestly didn’t hear one Chelsea fan disapprove of Mourinho’s comments to Wenger over the years. Not one. I know plenty and indulge in a lot of football websites, reading a lot of comments in the process.. I feel like he was completely in the club’s image from fans to boardroom. Hopefully they’ve all learnt from this.

    Anyway, time to read this amazing article now! I saw your comment first for some reason!

  • Andy Mack

    It’s wrong to refer to MaureenO as a specialist in failure, because he has actually been very successful. Much more appropriate to refer to him as a specialist in being an Ignorant classless twat, or a specialist in short term achievements.

    MaureenO basically gets a set of players and tells them that the whole world is against them. He ‘rallies’ his team to show that they deserve respect and they become successful with a little help from the refs that he says are against them….

    But 3 things eventually happen.
    Firstly the players start to realise that the whole world isn’t actually against them and if anyone’s against anyone at Chavski then it’s the manager.
    Secondly he starts telling some of his team that they aren’t actually good enough.
    Thirdly he starts bullying the minor staff, whether it’s young players or backroom staff, and some in the squad see this and realise that he’s actually just a nasty piece of work.
    Any of these and the walls start crumbling in the MaureenO castle.

  • Lanz

    I side with Jackman. It was José, not Chelsea. But I think everyone kept silent so as not to offend him. He has such a big ego, he would victimize any such person. Everywhere he went, he tried to humiliate a player or two. Is it not now obvious that what happened with Petr at CFC was what happened to Iker at Real? How would you sell Mata or Schurrle only to buy Cuadrado? Poor chap! I hope he learns.

  • para

    Would have been great if the sacking of Mourinho had come immediately after the game on Sunday, after they had lost to us badly.

    But at least now we get to beat them 🙂 while they are playing better.

  • Tony jackman

    I’m not sure they are playing better really! Results have been better, but playing better? Hmmm? It’s gonna be tough me thinks.

  • Sydlitz

    I am Arsenal supporter for long time ,years ago Chelsea had great reputation for their youth teams with many reaching international status eg. Jimmy greaves, Ken Shellito, Eddie Macready, and many more.They also had some very good managers and coaches,and also had the title of the artist club due the support of many actors and minor film stars. In my mind is not the manager who is the main problem but the owner,the wealth he has robbed and got away with to my mind thinks it gives an entitlement for continuous success.So managers who cannot fulfill this aim are on a hiding to nothing.

  • Menace

    Leicester are winning at the moment so we have a catalyst to succeed. Winning is not only a 3 point gain but also a bragging right thing for Londoners. The Chelsea fans were right up Jose & supported all the crap he spewed. Beating them will truly be a joy. The media would have to swallow a lot of humble pie.

    Tony jackman – since when has fairness entered this equation? Fairness is a replay of the game at Stamford bridge. It was an absolute traversty of fairness by PGMO, FA & Chelsea Football Club. The collusion to cheat Arsenal of 3 points was plain to see.

  • Al

    Can’t help but notice how many teams change their game only when playing Arsenal. When they play each other the games are open, but when Arsenal calls it’s time to shut shop, kick, shove and push, aided by the complicit PIGMOB.
    Anyway, we just have to do it the hard way.

    Mourinho is disgusting, as a man or football manager. Anyone that hires him clearly lacks class. Utd could have but they were right in giving him a pass, the man is just too poisonous. Two people I dislike in football; Mourinho and Ronaldo, not an honest bone in either man’s body.. Costa could come a close third.

  • Mick

    Man City a goal down on the 1st minute. Come on West Ham.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Unfortunately City have equalised, a penalty. Can anyone remember what a penalty actually is?
    Apparently it is something that happens when a player gives away a type of foul in his own area…unless of course Arsenal are to be the beneficiaries ….of such a strange and rarely seen event when they are involved.
    Maybe we will get one of these penalty things tomorrow….sorry, silly me!, getting a bit carried away there.

  • bjtgooner

    Yaya Toure has just escaped a yellow – Pawson strikes again – under orders to “fix” this match?

  • Al

    This whole thing of a bunch of 10 to 15 men messing about with our emotions is getting beyond ridiculous now. I do watch a lot of la liga, and apart from the primadonnas from Madrid diving occasionally, the outcome of matches over there is not influenced by officials as much as it is here. Here every game has a controversial talking point…., every week…, that’s not acceptable.

  • Al

    Demichelis escapes red too…

  • serge

    Regarding your headline, I think Chelsea have shewn themselves to be exactly that ( failure specialists) this season and do not present a challenge to our title chances, whereas Spurs have crashed the party and might even give us some worthy competition.

  • Tony jackman

    Menace, I agree to a point, sendings off at Chelsea were totally wrong! And Serge, yeah Spurs, blimey please nooooooo! 🙂

  • Oluwatoba

    One thing I really like about spurs breathing on our neck is the tendency to spur us on.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Pawson might have to intervene here

  • Mick

    Man City manage a draw.

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    Full-Time: West Ham 2-2 Man City. I am sure we’d already known that. And Man City are 2nd in the table on 44 points behind Leicester 1st on 47 points after both clubs have played 23 games.

    I don’t want to discuss about Jose Mourinho who is no longer managing any club in the Premier League at least for now.

    I want to focus on Arsenal and their next opponents Chelsea. Will Arsenal beat Chelsea tomorrow to go back to top the table after been dethroned by Leicester City today? Thank God, the Boss has acknowledged during his media chat that the game w’ll be hard for the Gunners to beat their arch London rivals the Blues.

    This game is not going to be a walk over game for us. But if anything, a difficult game. Save if we can do a Man Utd game to them, i.e. overrun them in the game. Chelsea will raise the level of their game considerably to, if they can, get a point in the match or even win the game and be the spoilers in our quest to be Champions this season. To be warned is to be forewarned. The Gunners MUST fully prepared themselves physicality, mentally and tactically to win the match to atone for their recent dropped 4 points in 2 games.

    I’ll be confident of an Arsenal victory in this game if the following Gunners are started: Cech; BellerinRhino’ koscielnyMonreal; RamseyFlamini; WalcottOzilCampbell. Giroud. Bench: OspinaDebuchyDeAberuGibbsSanchezChambersOxlade. The Boss should keep his right back Debuchy and not loan him out. And Sanchez should still not be risked to start but start on the bench. He should be brought on in the last 10 minutes to final whistle. He could start the Southampton game and not the Cup game against Burnley. By then, he should be 100% fit to play. I am not the Boss. But this is how I feel about it.

  • Gord


    Mentioned earlier, Martinez not listed in the Wolves game.

    Birmingham beat Ipswich, we had players on both sides. Toral played the entire game for Birmingham. Maitland-Niles was an unusued substitute for Ipswich. One of the Ipswich players was sent to the showers at about half time.

    Wellington played almost the entire game in Bolton’s win.

    Hayden played 71m for Hull, and got a yellow card. Akpom not listed for Hull.

    New loanee Kamara was an unused substitute at Southend.

    Up in the north, Ranger’s don’t play until Monday. I don’t know about Roma/Szczesny or Ajax/Sanogo.

  • Wolfgang

    Chelsea have been abogey team for some time.All thes teams have alife span. First Arsenal had not beaten MU for some time in the epl and suddenly slammed them .
    I think Hiddink is more pragmatic than LVG.
    If Arsenal play their usual game and the ref is 100% impartial,Arsenal will win.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Ref 100% impartial……guess it is one of those things that are theoretically possible ….in an Arsenal Chelsea game, but history would suggest improbable.

  • topanlesmana

    Arsenal will break Chelsea apart. We beat them in the Community Shield and should’ve beaten them again at their home this season if not for Dean’s magic. Today we’ll thrash them and shut their big mouth once and for all. COYG

  • para

    Any idea when Cazorla is fit again?

    We are missing his play in midfield so bad. Of course we miss Le Coq too, but it is in end effect Cazorla(the little master) that helps makes LeCoq’s play so brilliant.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Are the Chelsea fans still brandishing banners in support of their former sacked manager , and wearing his masks , or have they decided to move on and back the present interim one ? Well , your Guus is good as mine !

    Would banners in support of and masks of the lovely and righteous Dr.Eva C , be like the proverbial red flag for the visiting Chelsea supporters ? It would spice thing up another notch . Or singing suitable songs about an Eva . There surely must be one at the very least !

  • Brickfields Gunners

    An open letter to the lovely Dr .Eva Carneiro , in support of her just cause for justice ,as well as to flush that filthy piece of shit down the drain. Exactly where it belongs !

    Dear Dr. Eva ,

    Greetings and warm wishes from a concerned colleague in you righteous quest to seek justice for the unfair and low down manner of your abrupt dismissal from your previous place of employment .We do hope that you are happy nonetheless in leaving that cesspit .

    As the case is ongoing , it may not be right to further comment on the incident and its aftermath , but believe me you , that not only do you have the undivided support of doctors the world over , but also that of a unique group of Arsenal football club supporters known as the AKBs. And our fervent hope is that the the perpetrator be brought to justice and rendered the proper punishment .

    We , the AKBs , are hard core followers of Arsene Wenger’s dream of the beautiful game , played with skill , passion and with fairness .We tend to congregate on a website called Untold Arsenal , where intelligent discussions abound .Of course there are some lower forms that I call , ‘them’ , do come on and try to disrupt our conversations with their silly prattle and oft but erroneous clichés that they glean from ‘them’ blogs and posters .

    Anyway , just to lighten the mood and to keep up your spirits , here is an article that you’d probably enjoy . It is from a funny site that has much to offer to the women folk. So from … here’s ..


    1. Get mad….then get even. It’s justice, plain and simple.

    2. Revenge is healthy. Don’t listen to those mealymouths who tell you otherwise. You’re teaching people to behave better. At the same time you’re getting icky poisonous feelings out of your system once and for all. What could be healthier?

    3. Remember, Karma is a good thing. Be sure everyone gets his or hers…in this lifetime. You’re helping to bring the scales of justice back into balance and restore order to the universe.

    4. Revenge is excellent self-therapy. It’s far cheaper than a therapist and much healthier than pigging out on a box of donuts.

    5. The punishment should always fit the crime. In other words, don’t go nuclear over something trivial.

    6. Always aim your revenge where it hurts the most. Go right for the jugular.

    7. Let your creativity blossom. Don’t go for cliches like slashing tires. Yawn. Be original. Enjoy yourself. Give your mark an experience they’ll never ever forget.

    8. Don’t break the law.

    9. If you have to do something you’re not proud of, be sure to cover your tracks well.

    10. Have fun. If you can end up laughing at the jerk who wronged you, you’re well on your way to being over it.

    11. Once revenge is consummated, move on. It’s over.

    Do hope that not only did it gave your some good laughs , but also some ideas on getting some measure of revenge . Really . We are all rooting for you on this one , and we do hope that not only that justice be done , but also we all have a great joy in its final outcome .

    With best wishes and warm regards ,

    Yours sincerely ,

    Brickfields Gunners .

  • Andy Mack

    topanlesmana, we should have beaten them (well, at least a draw) last season as well, except their 12th man (Atkinson) saved them that time.

  • Menace

    The media – all they can focus on is the fact that Arsenal failed to win in the last 8 meetings. The blind fokkers forget that we beat them in the CS start of last year.

    The Arsenal – the only team that plays within the Laws of the Game yet lose to PGMO decisions with FA assistance.

  • For Christ’s sake can’t we shoooooooot on goal just once we might get a deflation. Do we have to walk the ball into goal. Sanchez knows bette..

  • akasuna

    specialist in failure..the ref!

  • dan

    Look we can’t keep blaming the ref, Wenger can’t expect a fair game against Chelsea. We just didn’t the game seriously until we were a ma and goal down. Walcotthas been poor, slipping and misplacing passes.

  • dan

    I don’t know what it against the chavz, our plan goes out the window and players lose their shooting boots.

  • Porter

    Once again we played their game. Once again the ref bought their antics and per usual we came away with nothing. What have Theo and the Ox got against the wide open spaces behind the fullbacks.