Everyone is injured. Quick, let’s call the manager names. That ought to help

By Tony Attwood

I don’t know if Jurgen Klopp is being called names by supporters of Borussia Dortmund but if not, he can be happy that he is working for a club that doesn’t have an Anti-Dortmund Dortmund movement.

For his Dortmund team have injuries to seven players with just three games played in the season.

  • World Cup winner Mats Hummels is not fit.
  • Marco Reus got an ankle injury against Scotland.
  • Ilkay Gundogan has been out for eternity with a back injury.
  • Jakub Blaszczykowski is injured
  • Nuri Sahin has a knee injury
  • Oliver Kirch has a groin injury
  • Marcel Schmelzer is injured

Arsenal’s injury list is

  • Theo Walcott – who at least should be back in a week or two
  • Olivier Giroud
  • Mathieu Debuchy
  • Nacho Monreal, who has a minor back problem.
  • Calum Chambers who has tonsillitis

So Dortmund win 7-5 on injuries although I am sure we can rustle up a few as we go along.

But the issue is not so much injuries and how to get them, but who to bring in.  And this is where some of the more strategically challenged commentators feel that Arsenal are lacking.

And yet it turns out that quite a few clubs also lack multiple players in any one position, for a very simple reason.  Players like playing.

Let’s imagine that Arsenal have a regular set of defenders who play most games when fit.  But through bad  luck or through the intervention of clodhoppers or indeed the ignorance or stupidity of referees, these players could be injured.  For this we need backup.

But getting top rank internationals as back up is difficult.  It can happen sometimes, but most of the time, if the club tries to sign a top player as number two to an established international playing first choice for the club the player will politely say, “no, I want to play every week, not once every three months”.

There are two solutions to this.  First one brings through youngsters for whom each opportunity to sit on the bench is a step in the right direction.  Second one signs players who can play out of their favoured position, so that in an emergency they can move across and fill in.

Of course neither are ideal approaches, but they are what all clubs work with, apart from in the few positions where the chance development of a player allows results in having players and rotate them.

But rotation itself is not ideal, because many top players would never accept a contract where they felt they were going to be rotated all the time, just as players don’t like not getting games.   Indeed this season was only three games old when one of the more scurrilous blogs ran a story of an Arsenal player supposed saying he would be off in January because he’s not getting picked enough.

Quite honestly, in the dim and distant past when I was a senior lecturer in a university, if I had been told I was not selected to give a particular lecture or take a seminar, I’d have been delighted, seeing it as more time to do some reading.

But that is not how it goes with football.  You can get extra players in as back up but not the finished article ready to perform excellently in each and every game.  If they are that good they’ll be off elsewhere.

Of course the media talk up Arsenal’s problems because they know this is what their AAA readership like.  But their approach doesn’t make what they say a fair reflection of reality.  Their story is that Arsenal now only have Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny as recognised, established and reliable defenders. Gibbs is excluded because although he is fit, he gets injured a lot.

But the truth is we have youngsters and players who can move around.  Bellerin is an example the former.  Mr Wenger said: “He’s a boy with personality. He’s not fazed by the pressure. That’s important when you’re a young boy. His transitional game is fantastic. He’s quick and his final ball is good. He lacks a bit of experience but he’s very dangerous.  I think he is now ready to play.”

Mr Wenger also spoke about Germany’s World Cup winners – Mertesacker, Mesut Özil and Lukas Podolski.

“It is always a pressure when you come back to your country.  The attention is bigger. Our German internationals played in the World Cup final in Rio on 13 July and they came back to training with us on 11 August. It was important for me that they would recover. They have been training for one month and they haven’t reached 100% physically. But they’re close.”

As for the abuse that people who pretend to be supporters like to hand out, it doesn’t ever make things better.   It didn’t with Woolwich Arsenal when it started, it didn’t under Chapman with the “Boo-Boys” whom he so despised, and it doesn’t now.  But that doesn’t stop such people being abusive again and again.

Indeed it always strikes me as strange that sometimes when their comments are cut such people then complain of censorship, call me a fascist or whatever and argue that “if you want a proper discussion you have to allow everyone to express their point of view”.

The problem is, when a point of view consists of just calling people names, or reiterating points that have been made before without adding anything new, it is really not worth taking up space.

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50 Replies to “Everyone is injured. Quick, let’s call the manager names. That ought to help”

  1. You are assuming that people who give all those negative remarks are capable of reasoning. Most of them have never attempted to do anything outside regular employment where you only follow instructions. They feel they are perfect because they are able to accomplish small tasks given to them at work and think they can translate that to managing a competitive area like football where results of all the many days of planning and practice is realized in 90mins. There are always coaching job vacancies and all these experts including the journalists never even apply, because it takes a very incompetent person to be a good critic. Most fans of other clubs I talk to, are not like Arsenal fans, they are always positive. Klopp was a journalist and I believe he threw his jabs at coaches but he was courageous enough to enter the ring and I think now he knows better.
    What surprises me is that as a professional in an area, knowing so well that you are not even rated in that field, you can even have the courage to criticize a person who is rated among the top ten in the world in his profession.Telling a coach who to buy and who to field to me just sounds silly. This is because every coach has a plan that may or may not succeed, but he hasnt told you about it, so how can you tell who he needs for that plan? In every team there are many coaches, but there is only one manager tasked with getting results, whether positive or negative.

  2. The problem that you encounter here is that some very respected Arsenal fans and blogs(Arseblog included)pre season,pointed to a glaringly obvious need to strengthen our defensive options.Everyone reacts differently to situations and some with a revolting pre meditated pleasure in abusing our Manager.We haven’t even played the game yet and Bellerin could have a blinder if he plays and Isaac Hayden may prove to be a marvellous centre back but to me,we may be asking too much from players with no experience yet at the top level.

  3. there is a clear distinction between the manager and the football club.The former is an employee at the club
    Fans are allowed to question the managers decisions or lack of as in any other organisation
    That takes nothing away from their love of the club.
    Arsenal Fc is not Arsene FC

  4. It is clearly Arsene Wenger’s fault that Chambers has tonsilitis. The man has lost the plot. Chelsea and ManCity would have already found a 13 hour cure for inflamed tonsils. Wenger is not proactive enough. Wenger out!

  5. Quite enjoyed reading this…brought a chuckle to my day.

    I wont say anything remotely negative, the filters may block my post.

    Long live Arsene and his amazing logic!

    let me know when you all follow him off a cliff.

  6. The beauty of Wengers decisions is that, to many, they seem weak or unreasonable, unless you have to face the team he selects. He has had such a magnificent career and record with Arsenal that his choices always surprise the AAA (and media) and satisfy the Untolders.

    Whoever Wenger selects will be our choice and will be supported in what they do despite Busacca’s officials.

  7. @Ash79

    The difficulty that Arsene Wenger faces is that all the his critics have achieved everything that he has. They know that he has underachieved and should win at least 3 trophies a year and should ‘show ambition’. His weaknesses are pretty much unforgiveable. As such a new manager search is underway:


    Manager with 1000 games EPL experience
    Manger with 3 Premiership titles, 5 FA Cup victories
    Manager respected throughout the footballing world (save for areas of London N5)
    Manager with class
    Manager who can tap unlimited resources to buy ‘world class’ players
    Manager able to predict the future

    Know anyone?

  8. It does seem strange that negelecting to buy one player has begat all that negativity. I find it hard to believe there isn’t anyone out there who would do a decent job as 4th or even 3rd choice (considering Chambers can cover just about everywhere else too), but if Wenger thinks that Isaac Hayes ability to step in and his overall potential justifies it, then I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt until he’s proven wrong.

  9. Well that’s just what was needed – someone to calm our nerves over the defensive situation, so thanks!

    At the other end, my mind boggles at the wonder of what Wenger has created. If young Bellerin plays, we could have the 5 fastest players in England all playing at once. Sanchez is awe-inspiring and his attitude and work rate is already contagious throughout the squad. Pellegrini is ranting and raving because he knows that but for gifting them 2 goals, they’d have been on the end of a second thrashing in a row. That is good. He knows we are a huge threat to them this year. Who knows about Chelsea, who haven’t been tested at all yet. Once that very distasteful Portugese ego is finally pricked and bursts here, as it was in Spain and the walls of arrogance come tumbling down, they will be a different kettle of sardines. I may be one of the few people who is glad that Diego Costa ISN’T an Arsenal player but I won’t go into it here. Bad milk is only good for making cheese.

    Ramsey, Wilshere, Ozil, Sanchez, Podolski, Cazorla, Campbell, Welbeck, Ox, not to mention Rosicky or Diaby. There are too many possibilities for wonderment and when this clicks after a few more games together, we will be unstoppable. We have seen that Jack at 90% fit is average but at 100% he is a world beater, so we must hope that he is rested plenty this season cos you’ve got to love him! I do sometimes wonder why we have 17 midfielders and 6 defenders but I too am willing to be mesmerised by Wenger’s unfathomable plans. It may be that Diaby will grow to be a box-to-box centre back. Who knows – let’s just be very excited.

  10. The difficult with managing a football team is that your results are largely indirect, that is to say, the manager doesn’t play on the pitch. He influences the players and they score the goals. It is difficult, except in egregious situations, to know exactly why something occurs on the pitch. Is it because of poor coaching, a poor player, a personal situation, a poor referee, a poor pitch, etc., etc? A manager is always judged on wins and losses but teams are not machines they are composed of humans and thus it is usually things such as confidence in a manager which decides whether he stays or goes. Arsene Wenger should be fired if he loses the confidence of the people who know what’s going on and are in positions of influence within the club that is to say the ownership group above him and the players below him. We supporters do not know what is going on. Clearly some minority of fans have lost confidence in him and that is their right but I would argue that they do not know what is going on behind closed doors and therefore are basing their decisions on a small amount of information. As of this moment, Arsene Wenger has the confidence of the board and of the players (and of the vast majority of people on this website) and therefore he should be and is the manager of our club.

  11. DavidHillier’ssuitcase September 16, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    Good post and couldn’t agree more. In fact this opportunity could prove to be the making of Bellerin and perhaps Hayden, if required. What worries me though is the fact that we have six games over the next 18/19 days, including Dortmund, Spuds, Gala and Chelski, which would bring altogether another level of pressure.

  12. Augustine, that is quite true. But where you have a “supporter” who shows his “support” simply by calling the manager names, and saying that he is stupid because he didn’t sign another full-back, without actually considering the pros and cons, and looking at what other clubs do, then by my definition that is not support.

  13. @Tony Attwood

    I don’t think anybody expected Arsene to sign another fullback. I do think the majority expected a replacement for TV5 though, possibly based on the fact that Arsene himself said he would be replacing him if he left. Maybe he thinks he has the solution at the club- I hope if he does that he is right.

  14. Ok, we are going to have to be a little careful here.
    Don’t forget that scales can tip from one side to the other very quickly.
    By scales i mean the number of topics that are negative and those that are positive.
    Negative topics are most harping on about the AAA, and i think there are getting WAY TOO MUCH attention from the brilliant writers here, and i am just warning that it can tip without one even noticing, and then we will only have a moaning page, the very thing that it was set up to combat.

    This is not a harsh critic, but a very concerned and loving one.

  15. Flamster right back ( did it against Real Madrid Highbury 0-0 ) panic over fingers crossed we get a draw .

  16. InitialsBB

    I think that is a fair point.

    So either he couldn’t get the player, at the right price for a back up, or he thinks we already have the solution.

    Either way, that means we could possibly be, at a push, one player short of ‘perfect’ at the back.

    I doubt you could find another Club, apart from perhaps the oilers, who have a perfect squad, including the back 4.

    And that is what is so annoying. All this whingeing is just Soooooo over the top.

    As GoingGoingGooner alluded to, some people will not be happy and therefore never stop moaning until there are 2, at least, World Class players in every position throughout the side.


  17. AB

    That might be true but none are encouraged or quoted in the media with quite the same relish that our particular version is.

    And THAT is the big issue with them.

    They are treated as the unquestionable, irrefutable mouth piece of every Arsenal fan, and as this sight clearly shows, that is far from the truth.

  18. Jambug- only time will tell. I agree with what the manager has said himself, that we are short (in numbers) at the back, and need a physical presence with prodigious ability in midfield

  19. InitialsBB

    As I, and you, said earlier, possibly short by ONE, singular, at the back, not plural.

  20. And when Bellerin plays today and has a blinder, the same people who call the Manager names never come back to apologise! For all our injuries, i’m not panicky. Look at it this way, a part from the top teams in the top 7, do you think Isaac Hayden cannot acquit himself against the rest? Cochelin played last season in the Bundesliga, can’t he play very well against the Westhams and Tottenhams of the EPL? Campbel has proved himself everywhere, even at the WC, don’t you think he’s itching to play himself? So we will be ok. In fact, I would like Bellerin to play tomight, because even if we don’t win, the young man will have got the experience he needs, and we will still have enough matches left to finish on top.

  21. InitialsBB
    We are definitely going to see more of Bellerin and Hayden Isaacs I think,as we have Southampton in The Carling Cup,fairly soon…that’s as long as they aren’t considered too important to risk in what Arsene sees as the 4th most important competition !!!

  22. We ARE short because we have injuries.

    We are possibly short by one even without.

    But as I said earlier Wenger must of tried to address it but obviously couldn’t find the right player.

    So yes I agree with him.

    As did you in your earlier post that said:

    “I don’t think anybody expected Arsene to sign another fullback. I do think the majority expected a replacement for TV5 though, possibly based on the fact that Arsene himself said he would be replacing him if he left”

    And to which I originally responded to, but now you seem to be disowning.

    As for:

    “and need a physical presence with prodigious ability in midfield”

    Not seen that quote but if he said that, it is very vague.

    I certainly do not go along with the DM ‘monster’ that keeps getting banded about.

    Even IF we did need one, and lets assume we are talking about a Vieira, Yaya type, in this day and age he would not stay on the pitch for 5 minutes playing for us.

    Flamini puts himself about as much as anyone and gets booked for it virtually every time he takes the field.

    If Yaya played for us he would be suspended for more games than he played.

    So if he did infer that I do NOT agree with him.

  23. Jambug

    At this very moment Newscorp Daily Arsenal Attack is leading the shrieking AAA chorus in an effort to unsettle Ozil*. Minutes before the CL kicks off, it is what it is.
    Those who attempt (& fail) to deny the content or the frequency of the AAA gibberish as regurgitated by Newscorp only expose themselves.


  24. City only played one up one the weekend because:

    Jovetivic is injured
    Aguero is a little bit niggled, hobbled off
    Dzeko is their only fully for striker

    Three strikers. One fit striker. Holy crap! You’d think A.Durham would troll the City fans, but no, with his AAA gimps, he’s got far too easy a “market”. Looking at city’s strikers, their spend in recent years of over a billion, it’s fair and reasonable to ask why these hacks deliberately misrepresent what is going on and why they troll fans of AFC in particular.

  25. What annoys me the most about the AAA is that they think dey know more than everyone and they can also see the future . You dare not criticise Dem , dey will insult you today

  26. Finsbury

    Nothing surprises me.

    I will not read it as I avoid that sort of shite as much as I can by rarely buying papers or listening to talk radio, and by NEVER visiting AAA type blogs. Thanks for the link anyway, I can guess the tone of it’s content

  27. I wonder at the amount of negativity some people can generate when things change from their expectation. Is it too much for a manager to make his own choices? When his choice happens to not coincide with some people’s, then the manager is a so and so. Hmmm. I think Wenger’s knew all along what he would do in case of injuries as we are witnessing. If Hector Bellerin has Wengers vote of confidence, then he should have ours, (I mean all well-meaning Arsenal fans) because he will be wearing our crest on his heart. Afterall, all of today’s celebrated players had their debut one day.

  28. I suppose it hinges on what your interpretation of prodigious is.

    In my dictionary it says:








    or perhaps all 4 ?

    So take your pick. As I said, very vague.

  29. No it does not. It depends on your interpretation of

    “I’m happy with the signings but we still need a physical presence with prodigious ability like Vieira or Petit.”

    with, “we still need” being the important words from the managers mouth.

  30. jambug. So you know better than a manager that has

    Manager with 1000 games EPL experience
    Manger with 3 Premiership titles, 5 FA Cup victories
    Manager respected throughout the footballing world????

  31. Ithought the game was pretty good. Arsenal were lucky so were Dortmund. Arsenal made some howlers in defense and missed some good chances up front.

    Arsenal played well under the circumstances. There are a few more games to go before we need to worry, but if we create chances we will start to finish some.

  32. @InitialsBB

    We’ve needed a prodigious DM for 7 years now and Wenger only now comes to this conclusion?

  33. To those who claim that we need a ¨prodigious DM¨ and those maintaining that we neeeded one for many years, please explain in both a tactical,strategic and team chemistry sense why we do. 5th Gem Goner we desperately seek your expertise in particular.

  34. Arsenal usually starting peaking from November . What is the fuzz about ?

    Losing 2-nil is no big deal. For those unfaithful fans, go and get a life.

  35. Arsenal normally peak in November

    And Normally Capitulate in February..we wouldn’t want to forget that would we

  36. Well I respect Wenger for his decisions but the lack of quality defensive cover is bad. He himself said that we are a bit short.
    We are always thinking depth as a solution for injuries. My simple question is “Aren’t depth there to keep the competition up? To make the players fight for the place in the first team? With the numbers and kind of players we have at CB and DM, do we really think those players have been kept on their toes? They should be fighting for the place. But I don’t think our CBs, DMs are doing that. They are their for lack of option..good form or bad form”.

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