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October 2016
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The task facing the next manager: tactics, referees and candidates review

By Josif
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.
9But 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
Roberto Martinez
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.
Jose Mourinho
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.
Ronald Koeman
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.
Roberto Mancini
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…)

Recent Posts

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

22 comments to The task facing the next manager: tactics, referees and candidates review

  • Gooner S


    Two excellent articles with some really humorous inclusions. I especially like the pragmatic Mourinho.

    As to the next manager! I have no idea who it will be but I think Arsenal might surprise us again! I do think Arsene Wenger will see out his contract so lets all get behind the manager and the team.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Indeed two very interesting articles so far Josif! Looking forward to read more.
    Of the 4 mentioned… I would hate it if we would give Mourinho a job. But I think Arsenal the club is not really interested in a manager like Mourinho.
    The other I would have no real problem in supporting them.
    But if they would be at the same level as Wenger… somehow doubt it.

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    I think what has caused this debate or rancour, is the continue failure of Arsenal FC to win the Premier League title for the past 11years and also their inability to win the UCL since the Boss has been managing Arsenal FC for the past 19 years.

    The Boss with his managerial skills has not been able to address these failings and as a result, Arsenal FC has continue to languish behind the winners of domestic titles and euro titles.

    What I do believe that is the main primary reason for this failing of Arsenal to win titles save the FA Cup they’ve managed to win back to back in the recent past 2 seasons, Arsenal have not been able to put together the correct caliber of players who can win titles for us on a regular basis like Sir Alex Ferguson caliper of players did for him at Man Utd during his managerial tenure there.

    Arsenal were close to winning the BPL title on 2 occasions in last 3 seasons. But they’ve botched it on each occasion due the lack of players who can go the extra mile to win the title.

    Arsenal are still in this season title race. But to win it does not totally depend on them now as they have appeared to have botched it again if I may borrow the description words of Mesut Ozil which the Boss has disagreed with it.

    Arsenal can outplay any manipulation of the Pgmol officials officiating any anti-Arsenal refereeing in the remaining 6 Arsenal games for this season by Arsenal winning the 6 games come what may to capitalise on any likely slipup by Leicester. Which I believe can still happen.

    Whatever be the case, the Boss MUST put together a more capable and efficient players who will win titles for us next season. Money will unavoidably comes into play in this wise. Therefore, the Arsenal board MUST be fully ready to make sufficient money available for the Boss to use to get some good players he would need to revamp his squad with better than the qualities he has at the moment for next season campaign. Those qualities he may likely get may not necessarily be the over hyped costly players because truly, Arsenal don’t have that kind of money like Man Utd, Man City and Chelsea have to gamble with it.

    But there are hidden talented players here and there internally at Arsenal and externally which the Boss and his scouts can fish out for Arsenal like Leicester City and Spurs have successfully done. Just imagine, What are Arsenal scouts scouting to have allowed Dele Ali to go to Spurs? That chap should be playing at Arsenal. Have the Arsenal scouts failed Arsenal?

  • geekaybee

    I have been supporting Arsenal through the good times and the bad times since before you were born. I am convinced we would be better off if Wenger left. I am entitled to have my opinion without being belittled by you when you sarcastically write me off as a “fan”.

  • John

    Ah but geekaybee you might go home and away to all the games but your only a true supporter if you want Wenger to stay.He is the club.Their is only one way forward with the club and thats to to give arsene another 10 year deal.Sod the trophys ,keep the stability.

  • para

    One thing i know is that if a CEO does not perform, that is, get his/her underlings to do the job, however talented he/they are, he/she soon become history.

    So the question for Arsenal, what is the “job” you require to be done?
    Is it to stay financially viable disregarding the rest? Or is it to try to win the major trophies in football?
    Or is it both?

    Fans and supporters want trophies, fullstop.
    Most want financial stability also.
    Some do not care about financial stability, just trophies, even if Arsenal gets relegated.

    I have my suspicions that this whole anti-Arsenal stems from the appointment of AW. Now, what is the reason?
    It is definately not about football, as it started before AW even managed a game at Arsenal. So what is the problem? Is it Arsene Wenger?

    I suspect that if we ever did find out the real truth, there will be many red noses, but until then we can only speculate.

  • Menace

    Josif – your article is still excellent. The inclusion of PGMO bias is covered but the racism issue (anti Wenger because he is French) also needs coverage. The other area of Wenger being instrumental is ‘outing’ the French corruption in Marseille also needs a mention. The continued growth of that ‘virus’ might be what is affecting his success.

    Geekaybee – your use of ‘convinced’ reminds me of Sir Robert Marks television adverts for tyres and his “I’m convinced they’re a major contribution to road safety”. 😉

    As for the PGMO narrative being changed if Wenger were to leave, it beggars belief that cheating in sport is ok if it is favourable. I do not like the system of the FA being above English law. It is time the hierarchy of legality is clarified.

  • colario

    We have a growing evidence that results are delivered by the PMGOL.

    We have growing evidence that there is corruption in football from the very top and it can be found where ever there is money in football.

    Corruption in football will rule football whether Arsene renews his contract or not.

    The big question is who follows the head of the PMGOL and what happens then?

  • Mandy Dodd

    Great read Josif, some really valid points.
    But not sure any of those managers really do it for me. Jose….we would need a completely new team to play his way. If wenger were to leave at the end of the contract next year, can see possibly Joachim Low. if he signs another, perhaps someone close to the club already that will be prepared.
    Really liked your Pulis for Arsenal concept! As you are probably aware, I am right with you on the clubs response…or lack of it to the refereeing the team face. I find it frustrating in the extreme, and do not believe any other club would put up with that in silence….unless there was something in it for someone somewhere.
    Only a gut feeling, and certainly no evidence, but just get the impression our refereeing will improve when Wenger goes.

  • WalterBroeckx

    your last sentence. This is the only reason I look forward to seeing him go one day. Just to find out if it will. And like you I think it will. Which would be absolutely disgraceful towards him.

  • Goonermikey

    “Arsenal Football Club have never protested…”. How do you know this????

    The complete assumption that Arsene/Arsenal have not made representations to the PIGMOB spoils this. We may have been quite vociferous behind closed doors and been told in no uncertain terms that unless we shut up the payback will be worse. That to is a complete guess but that’s all any of us can do. One thing is for certain Pulis is neither French nor nearly as intelligent as AW, so I highly doubt that the latter hasn’t, at least, considered representations to the PGMOB, FA, Premier League or UEFA. He may just be achieving what he achieves in the certain knowledge that he is always playing uphill.

    In contrast, I’m really not sure what Pulis has gained from his protestations. Is there really a marked bias in his favour as a result (well any greater than he’s always had)? If there is I’ve completely missed it…….and the success it has brought to the clubs he has managed.

    Aside from that I found both the articles thoughtful and interesting.

  • Goonermikey

    @ John 10:43

    It’s that sort of naïve bloody mindedness that makes people who try and debate from a perspective of reason and evidence very, very annoyed.

    The idea that because I do not believe that Wenger is doing a bad job makes me a moron is quite ridiculous? As I explained in a comment recently, I support Wenger; I am not an “AKB”. That tag implies I think he’s perfect and cannot make a wrong decision. I don’t. To be so blindly one-sided would be naïve in the extreme…………….

  • Polo

    Good second article Josif. The next Arsenal manager could be someone from within the club like Bould or Jonker.

  • Polo

    Bould as manager and Jonker as assistant manager, one with EPL experience as player and assistant manager and the other with European management experience. Could be a perfect combination.

  • Mandy Dodd

    The next man will have a hell of a task, as well as a choice.
    There are different philosophies to win in football.
    Wenger goes for total football….skilled, technical, flair, easy on the eye, attacking, thrilling when it works…but doesnt always work but risky, more prone to mistakes, needs confidence,bravery but risks teams and refs combining in tactics to stop them.
    Another philosophy, that of negativity. Let the other team have all the possession, and take all the risks. Relatively easy to do, can be successful….Chelsea….Leicester, much admired in this country, refs lenient on this approach, dull, unimaginative.
    Then, hybrids in between…Tottenham.
    Our players are schooled exclusively in the first type. Any departure may ultimately be more successful, if more dull than Wengerball, but will take a whole new philosophy…albeit a primative one, and probably a whole set of new players.
    My hunch, when the time comes, this is a fairly conservative club…which will maintain the status quo, and go for a coach steeped in total, technical football.
    But, please not Martinez

  • Polo

    @ Mandy, Martinez would be better than Simeone, which a lot of WOBs on the internet want as Arsenal next manager. Everton although defensively weak at the moment but attacking wise they are great to watch. When Stones mature and get more experience, and they get a very good goal keeper, I think Everton will be a force to be feared in the coming seasons.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Maybe Polo, but think Everton, and Martinez have a lot to prove.
    Simeone…..fits into the negative low risk school, he does good job, but would be one of the managers who would need a total change in philosophy and players to become Arsenal manager. But yes, like Jose, Owen Coyle, Brendon Rogers, Poch, Arry, and erm,….just about anyone other than Wenger, he is a WOB God.

  • GoingGoingGooner

    On a number of occasions other managers have stated that the PGMO has apologized to them. Has the PGMO ever apologized to Arsenal? At a guess, I would say not but perhaps they have and AW has not revealed it.

  • timo

    does the data analytics company compile any refereeing data?? data over the years seems impressive to hook the pgmob.
    Martinez looks tactically naive at times, not a good one.
    would rather bring a somewhat unknown manager, just like Wenger was

  • timo

    how about bring a short term manger to stir and uncover everything dirty they have smeared at us?

  • Edda1971

    What about Remi Garde ? Or maybe we should appoint Phil Neville with Jamie Carragher as his assistant. They always seem to know everything when they are commenting on TV!!!

  • finsbury

    Thank you Josif

    Mandy and Josif, why did it take so long for someone in the sport of cycling to come forward and for some action on dooing to be taken? Cyclists were getting kicked out of home as a result of steroid abuse since the seventies, the scene was hardly a secret.
    I haven’t read through the books published and looked into the exposing of Armstrong in any detail, so I don’t know any specifics but fair to say it was a very complex story with huge smudges of Grey Area where people in the sport dwelled until someone managed to come forward for one reason or abother.

    I never once watched a cycling race save for a peek at some of the amazing cycles. Carbon frames. Mmmm.

    But back to the footy: no blood testing at all till relatively recently. Lauren arrived from Italy and tested positive for EPO in 2003? AFC have been the only club testing their players! And for that at least I am grateful that I’m. Or watching people abuse themselves and their families for my pleasure and entertainment. On this account I believe that we can agree that the club have been an outlier for a long time and have been doing as much as we could ask them to do within their capacity. Can we ask AFC to realistically take on the doping culture in modern sport to chase up the destroyed bags of blood from Dr. Feelgood’s blood bank?

    There is one difference between what happened in football when comparing Italy to England.
    In Italy a judge authorised the tapping and recording of telecommunications of officials and owners in football in Italy.
    In England the judges have been doing their best to ignore certain media whilst they have been tapping and recording people’s telecommunications (nowt to do with the footy!). Yes it’s true and correct to remind ourselves that the media is powerful,but it’s not all powerful*

    *please refer to the Arsenal’s local MP for the textbook example of how to handle a frothing saluting fascist press core: to ignore it! To start talking about Trident weeks after having been elected whilst causing a few heart attacks in a few PR advisers starting a dormant national debate that few could have envisaged happening. Perhaps The Arsenal and the Arsenal’s local MP have a fair bit in common?