Critics of Mr Wenger: here is your chance to show you are right

By Tony Attwood in the land of OZ.

There were two articles on the Telegraph web site as I emerged this morning, hopefully one step nearer shaking off the wretched jet lag.

One is the inevitable daily attack on Arsenal: “Arsene Wenger’s six-point programme to follow to get Arsenal back on the right road this season.”    The other had nothing to do with Arsenal at all – we don’t even get a mention:

£181.5m spent on 15 summer signings – for a return of 34 starts, 2 goals and an own goal.

It is a typical piece of what passes for football journalism these days – a list of supposed failures of the newly signed.

  • Balotelli (Liverpool)
  • Ideye Brown (WBA)
  • Siem de Jong (Newcastle)
  • Falcao (Man U)
  • Ben Davies (Tottenham)
  • Shane Long (Southampton
  • Bojan Krkic (Stoke)
  • Snodgrass (Hull)
  • Filipe Luis (Chelsea)
  • Mangala (Man C)
  • Fryers (Palace)
  • Lambert (Liverpool)
  • Loic Remy (Chelsea)
  • Emre Can (Liverpool)

And so, the article sneers, we have £181m worth of flops who can’t score.

But these two articles leave a question – or rather several questions.  How is it that so many managers can make so many mistakes all the time?  How is it that when the answers are so easy to see, people who know the answers don’t get their places instead?

After all it can’t be hard to pick the right players for the team, because the journalists and their chums in the AAA do it all the time.

Remember they are telling us day after day that what is wrong with Arsenal is the defence and Wenger was stupid for not buying another player in defence to bolster up our obvious weakness.

So, let’s pull this together.   Mr Wenger is a prat for not seeing the obvious.  The rest of the league clubs are also managed by idiots who also make stupid mistakes.   All these people employed by league clubs at huge expense to the clubs (even some clubs like Arsenal who are apparently unwilling to spend) and all are getting it horribly wrong.

To be fair, in Arsenal’s case that’s not all the time.  The Telegraph does write glowingly about how Mr Wenger has got the attack right, with lots of talk about Alexis, what a good buy Danny was, how the Ox is really coming on, and how well the come back of Theo has been managed.  Just as there was huge praise for Ramsey last season, with lots of notes about how short sighted Arsenal fans were for booing him, and calling Mr Wenger an idiot for using him all the time.

And that makes me think… this is getting tangled.

The Telegraph makes it clear that all managers are turnips who waste money buying useless players.

The Telegraph like the AAA knows how to fix Arsenal with six easy moves.

Indeed the AAA knows how to fix Arsenal with one easy move, and could presumably fix every other team in the same way.  Although I am not getting up at 6am in Australia to watch Champions League games (and anyway my daughter doesn’t subscribe to the right channel) I can see that Manchester City didn’t sweep the world aside in the Champs League, and indeed seem carelessly to have lost a couple of players en route.   Chelsea seem only to have drawn against a team there were going to sweep aside.

So, drawing all this together, it is not just Arsenal.  Those CL results and the Telegraph’s collection of one-liners and pictures proves to us that all managers are useless, and as the AAA always say, the solution is simple.

But I still have a question.

If the answer is simple, and if everyone from journalists and members of the AAA, can all see it, while the likes of the managers can’t…

Why aren’t the journalists and the AAA managing football clubs?

Now I know of course that Jeremy Wilson of the Telegraph and the anonymous author of the “£181.5m spent on 15 summer signings – for a return of 34 starts, 2 goals and an own goal,” diatribe have probably had very little experience in actually managing a club, but surely it is not too late to start.

They could prove their knowledge and ability by taking over as manager of a small town team and in a couple of seasons using their staggering ability to take them onto an unbeaten run.  For example I happen to know that today there is a

Manager Vacancy at Borrowash Victoria

They play in the East Midlands Counties League and you can see something of them here.

Now, given the detailed knowledge that Jeremy Wilson has to enable him to make these immediate and detailed criticisms of Mr Wenger, he ought to be able to stroll in and see what to do with Borrowash Victoria.  The club is 13th out of 20th in the league, and so ripe for development.

I guess Mr Wilson doesn’t have much management on his CV but still, with his insight he is bound to show the board that he knows what’s what and can get things moving straight off.

Better still the job is part time, so he can continue to work as a journalist while showing us that he really does know how to do this.

And of course Borrowash is not the only club in need of a manager – there are plenty more around for the AAA to take over.  And since some of the AAA are unemployed they will have no problem at all using their knowledge to shake things around a bit in the lower levels of the leagues.  Indeed unemployment will become a thing of the past as they take on fame and fortune.   There will be free publicity for their every move on Untold Arsenal, and given the way the Telegraph is copying our articles these days that would mean free publicity in a national newspaper.

Now of course I know that such an argument can bring back the reposte that I am the same as Mr Wilson, only in reverse (which isn’t the same at all when you come to think about it).  But what they mean is that I am supporting Arsenal and Mr Wenger and so making a judgement about how teams should play.

But the fact is that I back up my commentaries with a spot of logic and explanation.  I use the fact that no manager gets it right all the time to show how hard the job is, and I make the point that just because you want a player doesn’t mean you can have him – or your second or third or fourth choice.   A player who doesn’t quite fit with the team you have is a waste of money not only on transfer fees but also on salary, and we have seen desperate gambles taken in order to bring in someone, anyone, have made matters worse.

But my point is a serious one.  Anyone qualified enough to write what Jeremy has written in the Telegraph must be qualified enough to go to Borrowash, make a success of it there, quickly move up the league, and before you know it, be working in the Premier League on the back of a few years rapid success.  Mr Wilson, you will be paid far more as a Premier League manager than you are paid now, you will have fame and fortune, and you will be getting it right all the time.

Why don’t you go and do it?  I’ll keep everyone posted.

Your future at Borrowash Victoria and thereafter will be recorded here for all to see.

Untold Arsenal: home of all sorts of stuff. 



65 Replies to “Critics of Mr Wenger: here is your chance to show you are right”

  1. “And since some of the AAA are unemployed they will have no problem at all using their knowledge to shake things around a bit in the lower levels of the leagues.”

    LOL!! I really did Laugh Out Loud at this little line, good one (and so true). It does make a welcome change reading an Arsenal blog that doesn’t call for a change every time we draw a game (or look like drawing a game). Keep up the good work mate.

  2. Tony, I am utterly amazed to see that the list of ‘failures of the newly signed’ does not contain at least one Arsenal player whether justified or not!

  3. Tony what you ignore is the lack of tactical nous. It’s not just about buying players , it’s what you do with them when you have them. There is nothing particularly wrong with the ones we have in fact as their international appearances show they are rather good. So why do we play like an undisciplined rabble with certain players that look like they have never met. Why don’t they talk to each other and why does nobody take responsibility for doing things that seem obvious to a growing number of people that have ” never worked ” in football but have spent a large part of their lives watching it. You don’t have to read the media to understand what you see before your own eyes.

  4. That is the way to go Tony. So refreshing! I was beginning to think that I am the only one who is repulsed by the ”awesome technical depth” of these AAA people and sports journalists who never see anything good in Arsenal FC and Arsene Wenger. Coach a team? Why not? After all, it is a very easy job. No one should claim expertise in an area they have never operated in. Let them take the plunge and get rid of the managers. Lol!

  5. @porter

    What is this “tactical nous”?
    What would you do to the players to prevent all the “why” you mentioned?
    Because i have the impression you understand the answer of all the problem that you SEE, and the manager can’t?

    Please do teach this stupid head of mine…

  6. Very funny article Tony. And very true. Hope you are enjoying your holiday.

    I’ve been busy and had to catch up with Untold so I just wanted to say that Walter’s article ‘Stop the Match after 60 Minutes’ has a very convincing analysis of what could be the reason things went wrong on Tuesday. Let’s hope the lads have sorted it by Sunday. Every match is different, though, so there will be different problems to face – with a bit of luck they’ll solve them.

    Looks like Champions League matches are not so easy anyway – see Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea.

  7. It seems that Mr Pellegrino is in even more desperate help of the expert assistance of journalists than is our own manager is.

  8. “tactical nous?” u don’t go bombing up every single time leaving gapping holes behind the midfield for the defence to sort out when you are 3 nil up. u see out the game.

  9. No matter how anyone tries to make excuses for Wenger by pointing out that Man City and Chelsea didn’t sweep their opponents aside in Europe there can be NO excuse for losing a 3-0 lead at home to Anderlecht (let’s also not forget how inept we were against Anderlecht in the previous tie, we were incredibly lucky to beat them 2-1).

    If this were an isolated example of our failure as a team then I could accept it as a “bad day at the office” but we all know it’s not an isolated incident, just last season we suffered too many maulings at the hands of our supposed rivals. And again this season we were lucky to get away with only a 2-0 defeat in Dortmund, who knows what will happen in two weeks when Dortmund come to the Emirates? I can easily see us nervously looking at the Dortmund vs Anderlecht game in a few weeks to make sure we even qualify from the group in 2nd place.

    There is clearly something fundamentally wrong with how we defend as a team. It’s not just personnel but also the tactics we employ. Other managers can turn a previously porous defence into a resolute unit, hard to break down that gives no space and defends collectively.

    Now Wenger was clearly an excellent manager when he came to the club, I loved the way we played. I’m a child of the late 70’s and I remember the George Graham defence that was hard as nails and took no prisoners. I can therefore remember how we played under Wenger with Adams, Bould, Keown, Campbell, Petit, Vieira, Gilberto and Parlour all strong players who could mix it up against any opponent. We had a physical and mental resilience that has been missing for years now.

    Unless we rediscover this strength we will never compete for the top titles. I genuinely hope that Wenger can make the changes that are required, because I would dearly love to see him return to his glory days of the late 90’s / early 00’s.

  10. Hindsight is a lovely thing.

    Re tactical nous.

    The Belgians kept coming at us leaving space behind them. At that point in time, what would you have done as a manager? Go for more goals or sit back? Of course many would say sit back. But if we sat back and kept the scoreline at 3-0, would you have said why didn’t we go for a fourth?

    When they scored the first, what would you have done as a manager? Would you sit back or get your 3 goal advantage back? The latter seems reasonable at the time since they were pouring forward. The former, well, on balance our defence this season somehow doesn’t look like last season. What would you, as manager, at that point in time would want your team to do?

    Now ask yourself again, when the Belgians tucked in the second, sit or go for it?

    It looked so easy now, sitting on our sofas.

  11. Having say all that had to be said. We all know that football is subjective and not objective. Even in the objetives, there are failings in maths atimes. Talkless of a subjective matter like football. Chief Tony, I believe these hard line criticisms by d AAA are not totally out of place in as much as we may resent it. In a society like the iconic Arsenal society, certainly there will be voices of dissents which for democracy, it had to be tolerated. Every human being cannot hv d same view on an issue. In Government, we hv the rulling power in one hand and have d oppositon in d other hand. I am not an AAA. So please don’t get me wrong. I am totally pro Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal. But I want to taste success, especially if that success is within our grabs to grab. What Pual Merson said on d Gunners 2nd half collapse in our home UCL game shld be considered as a chaterlist for a leason. If BFG can’t step it up. d boss shld not be afraid to take a risk wt what he has in hs other hand. Bellerin ChambersAjayi Gibbs

  12. @gunner6

    *pouring down the scotch at the sofa table* cheers mate..

    That’s why i’m asking from the experts here, since i am only have a stupid head that doesn’t understand football like you do…

    Maybe perhaps if you taught me well i can take up Mr. Tony’s challenge, Borrowash Victoria

  13. What I don’t understand is this obsession with the negative. Let’s look at what happened on Tuesday slightly differently…

    – How would you have felt if the match had been a 0-0 draw?

    – How would you have felt if we had gone 0-3 down – but fought back to draw 3-3.

    – Putting yourself in Anderlecht’s shoes, how do you feel about a draw?

    The group table suggested beforehand that Anderlecht really needed a win to give themselves a realistic chance of progression – they didn’t get it.

    Yes – we could fail (slightly nervous that if Dortmund and Anderlecht both win their next games then Dortmund can put out a reserve team in their final game against Anderlecht) but it is unlikely.

    Also remember that we were missing two regular members of our back four and our DM was injured at 3-0 (yes, he was on the pitch at 3-1 but not contributing).

    The first and possibly the second Anderlecht goals were due to poor officiating.

    However I acknowledge that the defending for the last 30 minutes was poor, that the substitutions were poor (a point I made previously) and it would have been nice to have greater defensive strength in depth – but was that the priority position that needed filling in the summer?

    Walter has written about it before. But I think we did need Alexis, Ospina, Debuchy and Welbeck. Chambers was the centre-back cover – and was bought.

    But if the right player is not available and/or the budget doesn’t stretch then we have to be patient.

  14. Unfortunately the demented assertion and repetitive propaganda of the AAAA that there are no tactics at AFC can be scuttled with the simple and easy to make observation that all the top managers have been copying each other in recent years. Trading ideas. And even players.

    If you want to try and be critical about the football on a football blog it helps to not write obvious disingenious and uncredible gibberish which discredits any and everything that you have attempted to write.

    The only AAAA I ever heard make a reasonably sensible suggestion for the next Arsenal manager (that’ll be in at least two and half seasons time then, at least – sorry WOBs!) suggested Pellegrini, before his move to City. Oh well. I suppose you can’t win ‘em all. Hehe. It was a better effort then Coyle and Moyes I suppose.

    The only other modern managers who are fit to lace Arsene’s boots in my humble and completely useless opinion are the infamously temperamental Biesla, and of course the more chilled out Ancelotti. The same Ancelotti whose most famous game is probably the 3-3 against Liverpool!
    Young Pep was simply ‘lucky’ with that Busacca promoting red card and also the penalty miss last year which covered his dropping of Muller error, so no, not for me! Not yet 🙂

    It’s a funny old game. Not the game that many hacks are playing – the one that involves gaining clicks for (third party) agents and their mules like Mangala.

  15. a most amusing article.
    lot being said about tactical nous…we got some tactics right, went three nil up using some of our attacking strengths. there is an assumption among many (at least the Jose fetishists in our own ranks) that tactics are exclusively defensive…
    So tactically, we got attacking right for 60 mins. BUT…Defensively, we messed up…badly. I saw a photo on Arseblog this morning in their lead article, showing 5-6 of our forwards, most ahead of the ball, in the 90th minute , 3-2 up, just before we lost it, they took advantage of the space our forwards vacated, and scored. That is nothing to do with tactics, or instructions, that was gungho kamikazism of the worst order, completely irresponsible, indulgent, careless, lost in the moment stuff.
    I maintain, that after Arteta went off, the team looked to the man of the moment, Sanchez as leader, and responded to his constant beckoning to join him in attack. You could actually see this happening,and not for the first time. The prime offenders, the currently desperate to score Ramsey and Cazorla. I believe this cost us the game, it must never happen again. Sanchez is great, but does not dictate the team formation. Wenger really has to get to grips with this, our defence is at the moment, not suffuciently robust to be constantly exposed in such a manner, no matter how good our new sensation is.
    Wenger admittedly did nothing from the sidelines, and sending on Poldi and TR would just have enforced the all out attack Sanchez was visibly ordering.
    I believe if he could have, Wenger would have sent on defenders, as he did last year, usually Jenks and TV to tighten things up, this year, he has no such defenders. This lack of defenders can be laid at the door of the manager and the backroom team to at least some degree. This is something he needs to put right this winter, or be held to account.
    Can I now manage Borrowash Victoria?

  16. So it’s only arsenal who played badly two English teams lost and two drew but the news is on the arsenal!? Just wondering why the sewer rats love us very much. Nobody mentions liverfall or manshity or mourinioass it is the arsenal, give us a breather that is what we afforded to do it a crime!? If it’s a crime go to the police shitho…

  17. Mandy I’m sure you’d do a decent job 🙂

    I have a criticism: I think AFC and probably all other clubs need a member of the physio team watching the game on the broadcast feed as well as on the bench – I imagine something like an F1 control centre haha! Sometimes it can be easier to spot a player who is trying to play on through a niggle that way, because chances are that players like Rambo on Tuesday who picked up a knock on top the virus he’d had will always try to play on. So many other examples. After all, they are footballers 😉

  18. @Sukebe: I don’t like sarcasm, so save it for someone else. as for my post, u don’t need to be an expert to notice it.

  19. @mandy dodd

    “Jose fetishists – gungho kamikazism”
    Cheers mate…


    That would be amazing to watch, i imagine they would be staring on monitors showing every muscle live stat…

  20. @ Kampala – exactly my thought.

    In CL nights when Arsenal don’t play I have to luxury to zip channels, so I watched Barca-Ajax, MCity-CSKA, and Bayern-Roma.

    I decided to watch the last full 20 mins of Shitty, because it was the only match that “mattered”. They played like a bunch of gutless, clueless, miserable death row inmates with broom sticks up their asses.

    It made our last 20 minutes of Tuesday look like a majestic performance really.

    And then, you open Sky sports online or, and what is the main theme? The ref not awarding Windebloom a second yellow. I mean, COME THE FUCK ON.

    Both AFC and the KGB played poorly, fair enough; but both the clubs (almost surely) guaranteed promotion to the next stage. Plus, for us to get the 1st place, even if we would have won against Andergarments, was something of a speculation (needing to beat Dortmund by 2 goals or more). So result wise, nothing happened.

    But for City? It was a do-or-die match. And they shat their pants. I saw no mentioning of their attitude, the fact that they are a star-studded team, who played like fuckin amatures. Only the fact that the ref missed a second yellow.

    Another point: you look at Sky player ratings for CSKA. Fuckin hell, they played very well! At least give them some respect, the whole team got a “7” except for Doumbia who scored the goals and got a “9”. Which means that the guy who gave out the ratings could not be bothered with rating players (the voters did a much better job commending Natcho who provided both assists with 8.5). This is also something to do with Tony’s “laziness” accusation, which I find very very accurate.

    So there you go.

  21. The Club is so big and expectation are so high. May be no other club has this much fans with much less success. That has got to do with their glorious past , their style of play and conduct of things. So fear of failure get on the player’s nerves when the opponents get a chance to score or equal. The same thing is applicable to AW. He fears to try new faces even when things are going smooth. TV was not given chances he should normally had and he left. The best defender we had in years and the man who changed our defensive weakness in the era of Gallas & co!
    Think, if on sunday if SWANSEA is beaten comfortably. No big discussions . No surprise. But if the game is drawn or we got defeated? Un thinkable. The end of the world!
    If start to accept defeats, we will experience lesser defeats and our defence will improve. And AW will start rotating players and the likes of Joel Campwell ( the players of lesser experience but better on confidence ) will get more chances.

  22. Thank you Finsbury. Great idea about physios in the stand keeping a watch out for players with niggles!

  23. We nicked the game in Belgium they fought back and got draw,that’s football, Wenger I am share did plan for the result and is upset ,rightly or wrongly this is what makes football such a interesting game. I am sure we will improve the players have had reminder that there are no easy games, I am sure they will take note! Swansea I am sure will have taken this in consideration, and prepared for us on Sunday.

  24. I speak for myself as a fan and i give much interest if someone comes with AAA or AKB names.
    Respect the manager for what he has done but age is catching on the man.

    The game against the Belgian shows that He is the one that underestimate them then the players.
    If is not his age what else it can be when you don`t do nothing to stop the catastrophe hand.Younger manager would jump up and down shouting orders.Alas our man is old and i believe is time to part with him.

    Untold writers are very loyal to the manager which is fantastic but in football you have to talk the obvious reality too.

    Nobody knows why we are short at the back except what the manager said that he do not find the right one.Give our injury record to decide to start the season minus one defender it is not a wise decision.

  25. I put up this idea before the season started .Just change the format slightly and we have ‘ Game on ‘!
    The AAAA Vs the Pundits ( P.T. Barnum would have luv’it !)

    Don’t you think that is about time we had a reality show in the EPL , where apprentice managers are hired and fired as they fight each other to get the ‘coveted’ title of Spurs Manager ( or Hot Potato !)
    They would go through a few knock out rounds where they would compete against themselves individually or in groups to progress forward.
    Who else than St.Daniel of Levy ,the righteous , to be the moderator , the hirer , the firer and overall God on high ? Orange wigs optional .

    Among the ‘tasks’ that they would be ask to do is –

    a)THE OMG FACTOR – Spot and sign the next big sensation or phenom .They would be required to watch numerous ‘you tube’ videos ,browse blogs ,trawl the red tops , read village and church bulletins and of cause , travel the world’s remotest jungles and forests ;deserts wadis and oases ; rice paddies and plantations , to watch these players ( albeit with unpronounceable names ) live and in person .

    b) MONEY MATTERS -Getting new , better or bigger sponsors for the club , while not upsetting the FFP cart ,as well as national ,international and religious sentiments !
    Brains ,si ! Bullshit , bungs and baksheesh are strictly no no !

    c) MEDIA MADNESS – Facing the press ,pundits ,ex-players/managers and fans who would demand/tell that you to “spend some more fucking money “! Or that ” you don’t know what you’re doing”! Or ask you about ” those rumours ” !

    d)TALKING TACTICS – Coming up with new and revolutionary ideas ,plans , suggestions and formations that will finally take Spurs to the top of the heap ( the other heap , I meant !)
    Should be rib tickling and coffee/tea spurting funny !

    e)NEW STADIUM FUND COLLECTION – Where they approach the average Spud fan on the street to convince them to contribute towards building a spanking new ground to rival “that lot down the road “. Millions of Spurs fans will surely dig deep for this noble and glorious cause.
    A prerequisite would be that the contestants have medical insurance !

    f) FACING THE ENEMY – Contestants will be required to go to the Arsenal fans
    and ask questions as to how Spurs as a club could improve . Should be a funny and squirmy episode or two ! Also it would be less dangerous than (e)! We could insert an element of potential danger by having Arsenal fanatic Piers Morgan face them.
    In truth, I shan’t miss him !

    g) QUIZ AND GENERAL KNOWLEDGE – Pass ! Boring ! Would probably have very long pauses and zzzzzz !

    Now only if I can find a sponsor , producer to sell this idea to ….hmmmm .

  26. Detecting niggles on the run

    While a physio may be able to detect a niggle from the stands, I doubt they would be either consistent enough or have a high enough probability of detection to make a significant difference. I think it may be possible.

    There are 2 sets of locations where analytical equipment could be incorporated: the sole of the shoe and the shinguard. If helmets became part of standard equipment (to cut down on concussion risk), that would be another location. I can imagine sensors monitoring what the nervous system is doing, and other sensors sampling the blood stream. Some blood analysis work can be done non-invasively, via light sources that skin is transparent to. An example of this are the applications for smart phones that can measure heart rate, the skin is reasonably close to transparent to red light, and looking at the red signal from the camera can produce a “pulse” signal.

    I am sure there are many possible compounds to look at in the blood stream, but I believe I read once in the distant past about either creatine or something related to it being released on muscle injury. Monitoring pH and lactate may be indicators for fatigue.

  27. Detecting niggles on the run

    As a start along this path, I would think having the athletic first aid person that goes on the field to attend a hurt player, to carry something vaguely like the prick sensor used by diabetics to get a blood sample.

  28. Great article Tony. Good to know that going to a land where you ‘see the world upside down’ didnt do any damage to your ability to lay into anything remotely anti- Arsenal or anti-Wenger. Good for you my man. Hope you have a blast down under, and come back super-refreshed. Borrowash might need a manager asap, but pray, anybody know a club in need of a wise head to sit on the manager-appointing board of a club? @Alex might just fit the bill. He might know a few tricks on how to get all the geriartrics out of football management and replace them with better, younger(?) hands!

  29. Gord, that’s interesting, thanks. I confess that my thinking was a little more basic 🙂

    Ramsey, Carzola or Welbeck all took a whack on Wednesday yet only Rambo went off to see the physio or asked for them to come on. Same thing happened with Debuchy after that second uncalled scissor tackle on him, the maniac just tried to carry on playing, and the referee showed zero interest in the he player’s safety. Same thing happened with Walcott in the third round. Someone should’ve dragged him off the pitch after that initial hack? Instead he tried to carry on, to his credit…Arsenal appear to need this kind of consideration because huge refs are not protecting them. It is, what it is.
    Rambo was definitely not quite himself after the knee to the back, no need for any testing. When leading the game there’s no need to struggle on, or not call the physio, but as above I can understand and empathise with footballers who just want to play football.

    Perhaps just a spotter or two on the crowd and in front of the telly could be helpful? No need to copy McLaren’s blueprints just yet!

  30. Me and my cheap shots! @Alex I suspect you might probably deserve better than a Borrowash. But please let Wenger be. Let his employers be the judge of when he has passed his sell-by date, and is no longer able to deliver. Am sure you’ll agree that they might be a little more competent to make that judgement call than us both.

  31. Tony, this is brilliant.

    Your statement, “Now of course I know that such an argument can bring back the reposte that I am the same as Mr Wilson, only in reverse (which isn’t the same at all when you come to think about it).” is however, not the case if you don’t want it to be.

    I had an argument with a couple of unemployable AAA’s at the game on Tuesday who argued/shouted vehemently about the ‘fact’ that AW had no tactical idea whatsoever whilst extolling their own brilliance. My point was, I have an opionion too and whilst I may not have made the same moves as AW, I do not pretend for one moment that because my view is differnt to his that it makes me right and him wrong……it is merely my amateur opinion. The probelm with Mr Wilson and the AAA’s is that they don’t have the intelligence or modesty to realsie that an opinion is not a fact.

    One thing that is a fact is that once the AAA’s had gone off to tell everyone in the pub how clever they were, it was revealed that for the majority of us that bothered to stay and clap after the game, the AAA’s had actually spoiled the game with their naive and ill-conceived ramblings.

    As I said to a fellow “supporter” (AAA’s do not “support”) at the time, it is not AW or the Board who will make me give up my season ticket but the tedium of having to listen to idiots like them every week.

  32. Im confused now – so going from 3-0 to 3-3 in 30mins is good now ? and confirms that we are on the right path and everyone else is wrong ? ok :-0

  33. 16 matches! Wow. How long will the guy at the receiving end be out for? Probably a bit longer than that (am not a doctor). But he might not be back to ever play again. Fact. So some in this world think such tackles have no place in football? And some in England see nothing wrong with such tackles. Kudos to the Romanian Federation. That is a real marker and a good example to follow. It is only a game and some need to be reminded that violent, malicious tackles are not welcome. I hope the English FA are taking note.

  34. @Gord. 16 matches? Wow. How long will the guy at the receiving end be out for? Probably a bit longer than the time it will take to prosecute 16 matches (am not a doctor). But then, he might not be back to ever play again. Fact. So some in this world think such tackles have no place in football? And some in England see nothing wrong with such tackles. Kudos to the Romanian Federation. That is a real marker and a good example to follow. It is only a game and some need to be reminded that violent, malicious tackles are not welcome. I hope the English FA are taking note.

  35. One of my favourite boasts is that I’m a master of hindsight.
    That being the case, let’s analyse what went wrong on Tuesday night.
    There can be little doubt that any football club playing in the CL is widely qualified in tactical knowhow. It’s essential for success.
    Over (say) the last 20 minutes of a certain victory, the “keep ball” moves come into play, the corner flag area becomes a magnet and a series of substitutions can be time consuming.
    In the Group stages of the CL, points not goals are paramount.
    There is nothing more exciting in football than a confident Arsenal side, 3 goals to the good, in full flow. Fast, close passing, en route to another goal!
    The team are now playing two games a week, not yet on top of a cruel injury list, climbing up the EPL where goals as well as points are vital.
    Someone in authority, on field or bench, should have reined in the enthusiasm and ordered calm, keep ball, protection for the back division and avoid hurt. The night’s work had been completed and it was time to close down the proceedings.
    What is sad is that with all the experience about, no-one stood up to be counted.
    Lessons will have been learnt, no doubt, but the aftermath could be far reaching.
    We cannot now win the Group and will face a Big Gun in the KO stage in February, provided we finish second.
    The January sales are near at hand and we have the money. What we are not certain about is availability of the player(s) we want.

  36. One of the results of the tackle, was a broken ankle. Yes, I think the banned players will be back in action before the injured are.

  37. I had to go over Tony’s article again to find where it says or even remotely implies that:

    “going from 3-0 to 3-3 in 30mins is good now”


    “that we are on the right path and everyone else is wrong”

    But hey, just make stuff up about other people to make yourself feel good.

  38. Sukebe :- Stop being deliberately obtuse It isn’t clever. I may come from the opposite side of the spectrum but if you want to discuss football without resorting to boring acronyms then please do.There is an obvious course to take if a poorly refereed goal sets you back to 3 -1 with 20 minutes to go. We are a team that prides itself on passing in fact we are often accused of over doing it, but in this case it was the thing to do. Keep the ball starve the opposition out of the game and see it out. Shankly once said that the other team can’t score if they don’t have the ball. That was the instruction that should have come from the bench and enforced by the more mature players on the pitch . In my opinion the substitutions were wrong , not so much the players coming on but the ones going off as Both Ramsey and Cazorla were having stinkers. Gibbs and Chambers should have been told to stay back and the team should have formed triangles and played keep ball to eat up the time.

  39. Up 2-0 at halftime, Arsène should have sensed that this was in a game in hand. Instead, for whatever reason, he went after the two in the bush. Victory was all but assured, but something prevented Arsène from feeling satisfied. We went into the second half with the same XI (sans Arteta, injured and replaced by Flamini) and with largely the same tactics. Why? Well, for one, the only defender on the bench was Bellerin, a situation that begs its own questions. Even then, though, why didn’t we see Walcott come on in order to support a different defensive strategy?Walcott flourishes in a wide-open, counter-attacking match. He’s fast. Rather than pinning Anderlecht back only to come away empty-handed and to occasionally deal with counter-attacks (something that we struggled with from early on), why not defend the lead by removing someone like Alexis, bringing on Bellerin, and defending with something more like a 5-4-1? With Gibbs, Monreal, Mertesacker, Chambers, and Bellerin in defense, and with Flamini, Ramsey, Cazorla, and Ox in the midfield, we’d have a stolid defense, one that Anderlecht could not have pierced. Flamini and Ramsey could do the dirtier work in the centre of the pitch while Cazorla and Ox could threaten on the wings. More to the point, though, all nine of these players could sit back and defend. This is not parking the bus, necessarily, as we’re doing more than merely setting up two banks of four around he area. There’s more than enough quality on the pitch to recycle possession, albeit not so high up the pitch. In fact, there would have been little need for any save Ox or Cazorla to get into the attacking third, which brings us to Walcott.We’re up 2-0. Anderlecht need a goal. At a risk of erasing Ox’s goal, why press forward? Discretion is the better part of valor, after all. Let Anderlecht chase the game. Meanwhile, Walcott can prowl around the edges of the defense, waiting for a clearanace from or a through-ball to spring him in behind Anderlecht’s over-eager defense. He’s in on goal. Maybe he scores. The strategic lift—not to mention the emotional one—sends such a surge through the entire squad that there’d be no stopping us. With an early lead, we should have sat back a bit, still controlling possession but with an eye towards unleashing the pace we have. It’s something we haven’t seen much of, given how tetchy so many of our fixtures have been of late. With that early cushion, we might have treated the second half as a dress-rehearsal for some tactical variety against tougher opponents.The ramifications stretch beyond this match. What point is there, after all, in having the pace of Walcott or Welbeck or Alexis, or of having the passing-perspicacity of Özil or Wilshere or Ramsey, if we’re not playing to those strengths? If we can draw out the defenders in matches against Man City or Chelsea and hit them hard on counters, so much the better. Against Anderlecht, we might rue the two points dropped. It might be more accurate to rue the rehearsal we didn’t have for future fixtures.

  40. Kirman. There is a saying in football, a two goal lead is the most dangerous. Yes, a two goal lead with 10 seconds left may not be dangerous.

  41. The BBC has Lawro’s predictions out for the coming weekend. And Tony must be prescient (sp?). Lawro is up against Football Manager 2015 (the game).

    > “… make predictions for the 10 top-flight games, and picks Chelsea, Manchester United, Manchester City and Arsenal to be among the winners.”

    The article mentions some success that the program has had in the past. I suspect luck is a huge factor. If analysis was a major factor, I think they would have said how many times they ran the program in order to obtain their predictions. I’ve done Monte Carlo simulations, where I run a set of statistics a few billion times.

  42. It is expected that news outlets would report in a story about Burnley, that Arsenal was the most recent to beat them. The BBC has this at the end of their report:

    > Burnley were beaten 3-0 at Arsenal last Saturday and Dyche revealed Gunners’ manager Arsene Wenger invited him to his office after the game.

    > “We had a good chat about everything,” he said. “We’d had as many key passes into the box as they had at the stage of the season and we spoke about that.

    > “The defining moment is we don’t have (an Alexis) Sanchez – he didn’t want to loan him to us.”

    Burnley has been beat by Chelsea, Swansea, West Brom, West Ham and Everton as well as us. Wenger had studied Burnley (the key passes comment). Wenger cared enough about this new manager to the EPL, to ask him into his office for a chat after the game. Did any of the other EPL managers who have beaten him do anything similar?

    I would like to congratulate Arsene Wenger for doing so, and the BBC for reporting this.

  43. A non-league player in Kent was booked for dissent, when the referee indicated a penalty shall be taken to the disagreement of the players. The penalty taker just rolled the ball to the goaltender.

    Interesting decision. Probably no TV or video to see if the referee screwed up and the players got it correct.

    As near as I can tell, the referee may have come to realize that he had incorrectly indicated a penalty before the penalty was taken. But the way the laws are worded, it is exceptionally difficult for a referee to undo a penalty call. If the near assistant referee had input, he could have signalled the referee for a conference. The only thing I can think of, is if at the pre-game meeting of the officials, the referee told the two assistants that if I tug on my left ear, and then I tug on my right ear, I want to back assistant to start flagging (signalling) for a conference. That would at least give him an out. The ball still needs to be put into play, so it will (probably) be a drop ball somewhere (where the referee has arranged that the defensive team will win the drop ball).

    But the few times I have run lines for games as an official, I have never heard a referee give instructions for a bailout such as this.

    As the article discusses, as the penalty was taken insuch an odd manner, he had to book the penalty taker. If the penalty taker would have missed wide or high, there would be no problem. But to poke the ball at the net with no speed is showing dissent with the referee’s decision. And even if the referee is wrong, FIFA Laws state the referee is never wrong.

  44. Nicky’s mentioning of hindsight and a clip I put on the more recent post titled , “What if there was no God ?” ,got me thinking .
    What if there had been no Arsene Wenger at Arsenal ?
    Would we have been as successful ?
    Could we have managed 2 doubles ? An unbeaten season ?
    Would we have been better off ? Could we have fought off ManUtd ,Liverpool , Chelsea , Man City and would we have been the top club in N.London ?
    Would we have had amassed such a huge worldwide following ?
    Could we have built a new stadium ?
    What I know is that there wouldn’t have been an UA website , nor the awesome force called the AKBs !
    What do think ?

  45. @Brickfields, There is no God, there’s no if about it.

    To all your questions we have no idea. Perhaps we’d have been less successful, maybe more. Nobody can answer those questions.

    As for managing a football team it’s not rocket science as the old cliche goes. The BFG stated that our players shouldn’t have bombed forward at 3-0. I agree but what was he saying to them at the time? Was he not communicating this to them? The manager sure wasn’t so someone has to take responsibility.

    What is difficult about managing a team is dealing with all the different personalities, man management if you will. None of us know (probably) what it’s like to manage a gang of young men with all their attendant problems, some minor, some major. We also have no knowledge of the day to day running of the club. What we can comment on is what we see on the field. Everyone has a right to criticize but they also have to accept that they may think they have solutions to any and all problems but there’s no proof that they are right. Their suggestions may turn out worse.

    Wenger’s not perfect, neither are the players, neither are we.

  46. We need to stop calling them journalist’s and call them by their real name. Sports reporters.

  47. @Will
    Sports reporters? Are you kidding, they do very little actual reporting, mostly their output is gossip based on their own opinion, non factual and designed to provoke reaction. Rarely one of them writes something original and interesting but most of it is dross. If only they would stick to reporting, we do not need their opinions.

  48. @ Kirman

    You’ve hit the nail on the head when you ask rthe question, “he went after the two in the bush. Victory was all but assured, but something prevented Arsène from feeling satisfied. We went into the second half with the same XI (sans Arteta, injured and replaced by Flamini) and with largely the same tactics. Why?”

    It’s good to ask these questions but don’t ask us because we don’t have the knowledge, experience, qualifications (and in many, many cases the intelligence) to provide the answer. That’s why AW is paid large amounts of money; because he knows more than the rest of us put together. In fairness to you, you did just ask a lot of questions but I still get the distinct impression you’re actually suggesting that you know the answers too!

    And one other thing I notice that you, the media and the AAA’s all have in common. You don’t mention once the illegal first goal which changed the whole game. If that had been disallowed it may have remained at 3-0 or even been 4 or 5. Would you still be maoning then? Maybe you would………

  49. @ Will

    I take your point but Mick is absolutely correct. They don’t even report the facts from the games let alone anaything else.

  50. ! Tony what have you done to Borrowash Victoria ! They have got a sackfull of job applications. These AAAs & their ilk only know how to manage a team that is successful. They wouldn’t know how to bounce a ball.

    Our 3 – 3 result was due to a simple set of circumstances that were surprising. Anderlect were allowed width in attack and used it to get past our players grouped in the middle. This only happened after their first goal. Our attacking was not ruthless but appeared to be fancy. Too much intricacy instead of simplicity. There seemed to be no energy to track back and cover the wings. It is not the way we normally play.

    We must give Anderlect the credit they deserve. They played with a hunger that we didn’t respond to because our mentality was wrong. It is a lesson that will bode well for the future.

  51. Hope you are enjoying Oz Tony.

    As I said the other day, these are experienced players who do not need a manager to tell them what to do all the time. There is such a thing called ‘responsibility’ and ‘in game management’. What I saw Tuesday in the second half, was none of those things. I saw players trying to showboat, playing poor passes, running ahead of the ball and playing for themselves. I also saw poor defending from Mertesacker and a linesman make a terrible decision. Players get all the praise, so they have to take criticism. I saw Wenger pointing to Ramsey to sit but he seemed to be desperate to score – playing for himself. I am blaming the players for throwing away a good lead, until somebody proves to me the Manager told them to do what they were doing.

    It seems to me that when we win it is due to deficiencies in the other team but when we don’t win it is the Managers fault. And fair play to Anderlecht for not throwing in the towel.

  52. @proudkev – I totally agree. There seemed to be an unnecessary arrogance that lost teamwork & responsibility.

  53. Menace. In used to play a bit at a decent level and we knew what to do when we were winning games with twenty to go. If someone wasnt doing their job, they would get pulled for it. That is the criticism I have, where are the leaders who ‘manage’ the team on the pitch?

  54. There seemed to be none – not even Flamini when he came on. In fact he seems to be easily dispossessed recently.

    Watching the FA cup on BBC – very little mention of Arsenal apart from Keown being a pundit.

  55. With all this, and Suarez taking on Mourinho on time wasting tactics, I realise that sometimes Journalists leave a side the real issues and con concentrate on how and why Arsenal are doing bad.

  56. My first comment here on UA. I don’t know if anyone had considered it beforehand, maybe because even Wenger and the players never referred remotely anything to suggest it but it may unconsciously have been an underlying factor. We were going to end up 2nd in the group. The draw only makes certain of that. But at 3-0 or 3-1 and we start defending, we’ll end up at the same spot, only we’ll qualify earlier. For those who claim we’ve been unambitious, I don’t see anything more unambitious than settling for 2nd just because of a setback. Let me explain. Before the game, Dortmund had a GD of +8, Arsenal +2. We could still realistically take top spot, only we needed massive goals for and hope Dortmund doesn’t go goal-berserk too. So we started and were quite easily 2 goals up by HT. Attacking pressure was on point even if we had been a bit shaky at the back but the other team just couldn’t score. Dortmund was 1-0. Looking good so far. By the time we were 3-0 up (at 60 mins, remember) Dortmund were 2-1. We’ve made up two extra goals. If only we could score some more, we might actually have a genuine shot at taking top spot. And then, OFFSIDE, GOAL! 3-1. Good work so far undone! But this is a team we’d taken to the cleaners by 60 mins who needed a lucky call in their favour to score a goal. Surely we can get back on track. How? Attack. One or two more goals will do the trick. Then BAMM! Penalty! Dodgy, maybe but I still feel correct. Maybe 50-50. So, 3-2! All hopes of improving GD dashed! Let’s stay tight and probably just secure this win, but we need a goal to be sure no freak last-minute accident gets them to equalize (remember Swansea at home last season!) So we tried for one more and, oh! There it is. The equalizer! Sad! Maybe we could just save the day with one more attack. Oh! Poldi! You shot wide! Final whistle! 2nd spot! Again! Sad much!

    And I’m tired of people saying we were lucky to win the away game. Both goals were created by pressure from us. Whether the ball bounced nicely for Poldi is moot since Alexis actually shot that ball in in the first place. If we accepted a draw and sat back after the first goal, I doubt we would be ‘lucky’ to win. They were luckier, if that, at the Emirates with the offside goal and a penalty that another ref might have waved away without too much consequence. A team that doesn’t attack doesn’t get lucky. In other words, you eventually create your own luck! Shush!

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