By Bulldog Drummond
In the past we used to have specialists, like brain surgeons, bricklayers and baby minders. Now it seems everyone knows and can do everything.
So after weeks of all those people who have never managed even a little team, knowing more about tactics than a man who has won eight major trophies in England, now everyone is a psychologist, able to tell us what drives Arsene Wenger’s behaviour, what makes him tick, what makes him what he is.
If only it were that simple. If it were we would have no crime in the UK because we would be able to see the motivations and explain the past behaviour of everyone, and from that judge the future behaviour of them – all without ever meeting them face to face. Just watch their actions, listen to their speech in the highly styalised world of the press conference and hey presto! you know the man inside out.
Actually I think that is what our security forces are trying to do with their 100% surveillance agenda, but let’s leave that for another debate elsewhere.
So now that well-known expert in human behaviour Professor Alisher Usmanov has told us that Mr Wenger is not able to learn from his mistakes, which for me is on a par with someone saying that Ozil is useless and should be sacked, or Ramsey was a one season wonder and should go. A simplicity goes, that is pretty near the simplistic end.
Actually Wenger had a lovely reposte to Usmanov. He said that at Arsenal, “When we have something to say to each other we say it face to face. We don’t go to the newspapers. I don’t take it personally. It is an opinion I respect, but when you are from this club, you are from this club. You are in or out, you cannot be both.”
Usmanov is the largest minority shareholder, and is granted a place in the directors’ area at the club on matchdays for himself and his guests, as a mark of courtesy by the club. That is style by the club; sadly it is not something he has.
Of course the journalists lap up the ultra simplicities of Mr Usmanov because they are… well, utterly simplistic. Readers, they know, are silly little people with the intelligence of a lower grade gnat, so we don’t want to tax their higher brain functions. (Actually Radio 5 did the same this morning, saying that the way in which Man City might qualify for the knock out stages was “a bit complicated for this time of the morning” and thus decided not to tell us. They giggled a lot in the studio at that.
Psychology – the study of human behaviour and what lies behind it – is a indeed a little complex. Even a simple part of it such as the psychology of perception, which examines how we see and interpret the world – is very complex. Did you know for example that if you are given a set of instructions written in red you are 30% more likely to make a mistake carrying out those instructions than if you are given them in black print? Do you know, when you pick up a sheet of A4 where your eyes go? Probably not where you think.
It is all understandable stuff, but it needs some study and analysis to get to the heart of the matter, and is not well suited to a simplistic summary of a person’s behaviour of the type that the journalists and their allies in the AAA have been dishing up recently.
What might be a better topic for discussion is the fact that Jack Wilshere could face ankle ligament surgery and a lay-off of around three months. The press report the cause of this with such banalities as (to quote the Guardian) a “challenge from Manchester United’s Paddy McNair on Saturday”. Mr Wenger called it a “bad foul” but as always was highly moderated in his speech on such matters. And for him the gentle, “When you see the picture, it is very bad” has much deeper meanings. Sad the TV and newspapers didn’t bother looking at the time.
So we try to go forward for the 15th year in succession, although you’d be hard pushed to recognise this from what is on line and in the media.
Wojciech Szczesny is also out, as is Theo although I see he did win Formula 1 at the weekend. So in goal we will have Emiliano Martínez who must think that a) it gets bloody cold in England at this time of year and b) he’s getting more chances than he could have imagined..
Danny Welbeck is also a little doubtful, and as we know Giroud is ineligible, although I doubt he would have played again so quickly anyway. We’ll see him in the next league game. But Koscielny is back in the squad and Ramsey has spoken about being much sharper now than he has been for some time.
So the media build on the “sense of crisis” while Mr Wenger said,
“When you are such a long time in football as I am, you don’t understand anymore what crisis means, I must get to the dictionary and look at it well again. There is life in our team, there’s a dynamic in our team. I’m long enough in the game to know if there’s something there or not and there’s a lot there. This is one of the best teams I’ve had for a long time.”
Here’s the German league table
It is interesting that many of the AAA and their media friends think Klopp should take over from Mr Wenger, presumably on the basis that he goes round saying “yes it is all my fault”. I’m not sure that is the best thing to have as the lead point in your cv. But the one thing I love about the guy is that when one of the rabid dogs that passes for a football correspondent these days misquotes him, he says, “I thought it was a serious journalist.”
Jurgen Klopp however does have problems with several members of his team including Jakub Błaszczykowski and Sokratis Papastathopoulos who in a bizarre training ground accident fell over each other’s names.
Here’s the Arsenal team
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