8. At the same time as this we need tactical flexibility. How is that to be introduced at the same time as everything else?
When you add a real quality, it can integrate immediately. Granted, even when you make a successful purchase, you can get either a Pires or an Alexis. A Pires is a world-class player who spends some time finding his feet in a new league, especially when that new league is filled with thugs who have been enjoying in smashing talented players without punishment from Mike Riley’s henchmen. An Alexis is a world-class player who hits the ground (almost) immediately.
In 2000-01 Arsenal lost 6:1 at Old Trafford and 4:0 at Anfield. We had players like Vieira, Henry and Bergkamp but that didn’t help us against rampant Manchester United and Liverpool. In the summer of 2001, Arsene Wenger pulled arguably the most sensational signing of his era – Sol Campbell, a world-class defender, signed for Arsenal from the arch-rivals Spuds on a free-transfer. As a result, Arsenal went on to win both at Anfield and Old Trafford respectively with Campbell being the heart and so(u)l of our defence. What I’m trying to say is, when you add a world-class player and have a world-class manager in the dugout, your team will get better.
9. But supposing just for one second the problem actually lies elsewhere.
PGMO. Whenever I see a Facebook-status of my friends calling for a boycott of GMO, I see a word “PGMO” and picture Mike Riley as a leader of the powerful underground movement that has been working on the project of genetically modified referees.
I have spent quite a few hours proving to people that Leicester City “fairy-tale” is a preposterously directed play by Mike Riley’s organization, that Tottenham have been pushed into the title race and praised despite being one of the dirtiest teams in the league in terms of fouls made and that Arsenal have been on the wrong end of the referees’ decisions more than any other team in the league.
But here is where Untold and I have a different point of view. I believe that part of the problem lies within Arsenal Football Club. I actually wanted to write an article named “Tony Pulis for Arsenal!” but I was afraid that title would cause a few heart-attacks among the Arsenal supporters.
You see, while Pulis has been part of the project: “Let’s erase the boundaries between rugby and football in England!”, he has been years ahead of Arsenal Football Club when it comes to official reactions to Mike Dean’s biased refereeing as you can read here
. While Pulis has been doing his homework when it comes to sending statistics and other evidences of the biased refereeing against his teams, Arsenal Football Club have never protested even if there is a number of referee reviews at Untold Arsenal that prove Arsenal have been subjected to a real campaign for years.
Mourinho wasn’t very happy with either Dean or Riley during his second stint at Chelsea. Martinez discovered hot water by claiming Manchester United get calls their way at Old Trafford. Koeman fired a little arrow after Michael Oliver had helped Leicester City against Southampton. Mancini made a strong claim regarding English referees
in April 2012 and won the league a month after that.
If PGMO is after Arsenal because of Wenger, does it mean we would actually benefit from appointment of a new manager? It would fit the narrative that we have been subjected to from the media and Arsenal “fans” that says “Arsenal can’t win the league with Wenger”. I can even imagine us getting calls our way in the first season after Wenger’s departure to strengthen the narrative.
10.Why will Arsenal get it right when others with more money can’t?
Nobody can say it would get right. Nobody can promise it. We could sign Ibrahimović next summer and win the league at a canter. Then again, we could sign Ramos and Ronaldo only to end up sixth. There is no guarantee for success. Just like there had been no guarantee that George Graham’s record would be surpassed by this French manager who was only appointed as a new Arsenal manager.
Conclusions on Group 1 of candidates
PRO: He is a gentleman and believes in young players even when they make mistakes. He is not a cheque-book manager and plays a very positive football. Everton have been the team with fewest fouls made this season.
CONTRA: His teams tend to be defensively naive. For instance, he was in charge when Wigan conceded nine against Tottenham which is not a good recommendation for a job at Arsenal.
PRO: He wins trophies. He has won the league with every team he has managed including three league titles with Chelsea. He has won Champions League with two underdogs – Porto and Inter. He is a pr(agmat)ic(k) manager.
CONTRA: It’s bloody Mourinho. His football is usually painful to watch and I would feel sorry for poor Walter when his match reports would get online with six hours delay as Walter fell asleep while writing it. Mourinho’s personality is not in the Arsenal Football Club mould either.
He poked the opposite manager in the eye and made a number of disrespectful comments about Arsene Wenger. He is so hated that I’m not so sure PGMO would get off our back with Mourinho as Wenger’s replacement. A cheque-book manager who leaves hell behind him.
PRO: He knows how to get maximum from his players. He has managed to deal with departures of the best players in the last two seasons at Southampton. His record against Arsene Wenger is excellent, especially given the stature of the clubs that played against Arsenal.
He learned his trade from the biggest football person of all times Johann Cruyff who usually mentioned him and Pep Guardiola as his defenders who hadn’t known how to defend and yet won 4 league titles and a European Champions Cup.
CONTRA: Unproven as a manager at the highest level of expectations. His spell at Valencia is a good warning. It’s one thing to manage Southampton where you can finish as seventh and consider that as a success and to manage Arsenal where the aim is set much, much higher.
PRO: He knows how to win the league as he has shown with Manchester City and Inter. His Fiorentina, Lazio and Manchester City usually played a positive football. He won trophies with the cash-strapped Fiorentina and Lazio. As a player, he was an artist on the pitch.
CONTRA: He had been a very successful manager in teams that had had a financial superiority over their rivals (Manchester City and Inter Milan). He failed to make a success with Galatasaray and his second spell at Inter has been terrible in terms of both results and quality of football played.
(Group 2 to follow…)
Untold Arsenal has published five books on Arsenal
All are available as paperback and three are now available on Kindle. The books are
- The Arsenal Yankee by Danny Karbassiyoon with a foreword by Arsene Wenger.
- Arsenal: the long sleep 1953 – 1970; a view from the terrace. By John Sowman with an introduction by Bob Wilson.
- Woolwich Arsenal: The club that changed football. By Tony Attwood, Andy Kelly and Mark Andrews.
- Making the Arsenal: a novel by Tony Attwood.
- The Crowd at Woolwich Arsenal by Mark Andrews.
You can find details of all five on our new Arsenal Books page