A few myths out of the window

By Walter Broeckx

I think we can say that over the last months a few myths have been busted. Of course myths that didn’t really were believed at Untold Arsenal. But the repeating of the myths by pundits and the moaning part of our fan base turned these myths in to FACTS! (correct way of writing of course).

Arsenal can’t defend.

As we have shown during the last weeks Arsenal have by far the best defensive record of the teams in the PL. Not just this season but certainly if we look at the calendar year. THAT is a FACT!  But still we get it stuffed through our throats each and every time. Yesterday we played a team that had scored in every match (friendlies not included) since May 9th. But at that time they had already won the Bundesliga a few weeks and weren’t really bothered anymore it seemed. But when it matters, Bayern scores. They always do. Well not this time. Arsenal who can’t defend (remember FACT!) stopped them from scoring.  That is not just peanuts. That is major.

Lewandowski would rip Mertesacker apart. He was on fire scored a gazillion goals for club and country in just a handful of matches and it wasn’t a matter if he would score just how many he would score. Well he scored zilch. Nothing.

And I know that the pundits would be out to murder Wenger (in a way of speaking) if Bayern would have scored and it would be down to Mertesacker. Even if Cech would have kicked the ball in his own goal, it still would be the fault of Mertesacker.  As you can see in the match preview I picked the same team as Wenger did. Not that I feel very proud about that in particular but I have always believed and shown faith in Per. Not only as a player and a great defender but also as a great human being. Just for that last thing he deserves a lot more respect than he gets from the pundits and unfortunately also from some of our own fans.

Wenger doesn’t do tactics

One of the most stubborn myths one could say. If we only look at the last 3 matches we have seen each time that we have played in a different way even with the same players. But read my fingers (or lips) that will not stop the moaners to come up with this line the next time we dare to not win a match of football.

The thing is that sometimes your tactics don’t work. You can set up the team perfectly and have each player told what to do and then one player makes a mistake or the ref makes an error and your whole tactics are flushed down the toilet. Of course one could say that if you lose the tactics were wrong but even then this shows that there was a tactic. And people say that Wenger doesn’t do them.

One could and should say that yesterday was a perfect example of a tactical display by the whole team. And the individual errors that were made weren’t punished this time. But it is stupid to think that the players just were running around the field without any instructions whatsoever.

Arsenal can’t win big matches

Well that is true. We cannot win big matches when the forces that be, decided we are not allowed to win them. The blueprint was set in match 50. Manchester United and their manager found the thought that we would play match 50 and go further unbeaten on their own ground so bad that they wanted it to stop at that day. So with the help of a ref who made the most bizarre decisions on that day they stopped us and since then refs have copied it.

Up to today this has been repeated. We only have to look one month back when we played away at Chelsea and Dean did his black magic. And also in Europe we have seen strange things happening when we were on the edge of putting the favourite Uefa teams out. Unpunished manhandling and then a double yellow card for a kick after the whistle.

So yes at times is has been difficult to win big matches. But it is a fact that lately we have been winning the big matches. We won 2 FA cup finals. Of course by now the FA cup final is no longer a big match. The CS against the champions of the season before are also not considered to be big matches anymore. Certainly since beating Manchester City and Chelsea that is.

This team has beaten the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona, Milan and Bayern Munich in the last years. We have beaten Man City, Chelsea and Manchester United this year. And now we have won against what is one of the best teams in the world.

But the next time we don’t win a big match against one of the top teams we will be seeing this comment about Arsenal not winning the big matches again.

Big matches are won by fine margins. And the ref is one of those margins. And not always just a fine margin.

This team is not a bought team. This team is a build team. And building (if you want to do it properly) takes time. Time that some people don’t have as they want it now and if possible even yesterday.

I have had lots of fun following the Arsenal the last years. And some really upsetting moments. But I always (I can say we maybe) have always looked beyond the last setback. Setbacks that will always be on the way somewhere. Sometimes self inflicted setbacks because of stupid mistakes.  But that is the way it goes. It has never stopped me from supporting the team and the manager.

And I think that is why most of us have enjoyed this win even more than those who always believed in the myths.

53 Replies to “A few myths out of the window”

  1. If you look at any 3 consecutive matches in the last 19 years you’ll see that each one is different. The tactics in each one is different. The problem is that some of the differences are far to subtle for most simple fans and ‘pundits’ to appreciate (pundit = dumb player/coach/manager that isn’t afraid to say dumb things about something he doesn’t understand)

  2. A very good article Walter.Do we think a certain G.Neville has gone into hiding!.
    “Arsenal do not do proper training”.They do keep me ups,flicks and 5 a-sides.Not a proper team and this idiot is Coaching England.
    Words fail me.

  3. Walter,
    While I agree with most of what you say in your post, I can hardly accept that the present Arsenal side is a “build team”.
    Cech, Debuchy, Mertesacker, Gabriel, Koscielny, Monreal, Cazorla, Alexis, Ozil and Giroud did not graduate from the lower reaches.

  4. Real Madrid was a stadium ago and although we have ‘beaten’ Barcelona, Milan and Bayern Munich I seem to remember we lost every tie

  5. It was a great win, the stadium as a whole (well except the Bayern area) was rocking, a great atmosphere from the start. We even held up the red and white plastic shopping bags as the teams came on to the pitch and it didn’t look too shabby. We mustn’t forget that the combined score on the day was Arsenal 4 Bayern 0 as the U19s also won by two goals to nil. Alex Iwobi scoring both. He is another player for Untold to adopt as a star for the future. Hopefully he will get a run out at some time next week in the Carling cup game at Sheffield.

  6. nicky, the team is built by mixing the best ‘internal’ and ‘external’ options to get the best balance. No team is entirely internal options.
    If all our U21s make it to the 1st team then it still won’t really be ‘home grown’ talent as it includes plenty of ‘imports’ even at that level.

  7. Well said Walter!

    Off topic slightly; how much CL experience has Jermaine Jenas got for him to be such an expert suddenly? 🙂 🙂

  8. More sense from Untold Arsenal.
    The majority of football journalists and pundits know no more about football than the mouthy bloke down the pub. But instead of just boring those unfortunates within earshot they hand down their opinions as if they were etched on tablets of gold and the more gullible of fans believe this nonsense because if it’s on TV or in the papers it must be true. AW has forgotten more about football than all these idiots added together ever knew or will ever know so I listen to the man himself and am just very grateful that he is our manager.

  9. A very pleasant article, Walter, both because of your writing and because it shows the Gunners are on the right path, and were already on the right path during the lean years, when the constraints were both internal (stadium-related costs) and external but should somehow not have mattered according to ignorant cockalorums. Well, now that the internal constraints have mostly been lifted, loyalty and class are beginning to get rewarded, and as you said, it´s one of the best feelings ever. The only way to completely avoid setbacks and disappointments is to pass judgment from the ivory tower of hindsight, and as that would entail eschewing the glory of passion, no thanks! We Gooners will proudly take our lumps and bumps alongside the many joys Wenger´s teams have brought us.

  10. Apo

    Jenas played in all six of Spurs group matches in 2010/11 CL.
    I find him one of the more intelligent and pleasant of the TV & radio pundits

  11. Serge
    Played in all of 6 matches! And won how many? If playing in 6 CL matches is enough to make one an expert then I wonder what we would call the likes of Ozil, Sanchez, Cech etc etc.

    Good and pleasant read. While waiting to pick my son up at football practice I just thought I’d Google ‘Arsenal’, and at the top of the results was a screaming headline from the daily wail saying something like “Wenger shallows his pride….” I almost hurled my phone out the window. Thankfully for me, there’s a sanctuary on the net called Untold Arsenal 🙂

  12. Serge

    Well then after ALL those six matches…of course he is a real expert!!


  13. Nicky- yes, but many of the purchased players have been significantly further developed by Wenger.

  14. The most subtle change of tactic during the game was AW getting Mesut to sit a little deeper. 9 disposessions of the opposition is a fantastic statistic in itself, never mind that it came from the best team in the world.

    Not mentioned in the hopeless British press – maybe to subtle for our journalists.

  15. @Pete and Andy Mack,
    There can be little doubt of that.
    So perhaps the team is more of a build than I thought. 😉

  16. No whingeing from Bayern about the not given handball against sanchez nor any moaning, just gracious in defeat. Muller even said it was fun playing on the Emirates turf as it reminded him of his living room lounge! All the negativity is coming from the English media. I wonder why.

  17. Great piece Walter but regarding each of your points:

    1-Arsenal cant defend

    Yep, it seems we can, but despite the best defence in the PL in 2015, by all accounts we only learnt to do it last night, and that is down to Mourhino apparently.

    2-Wenger doesn’t do tactics

    See above.

    3-Arsenal cant win big matches

    Well, from all I’ve read we still cant. Yes we can fluke them. Or perhaps be lucky enough that the opposition cant be arsed. But we never actually WIN a big match.

    As you say Walter, we on Untold have never doubted any of this, but I seriously doubt anyone out there in the wider World thinks any different today than they did yesterday.

    Wait for our next reversal to see exactly what I mean.

  18. Sorry folks some lessons need repeating.
    So are you listening pundits, Ian Wright, Michael Owen, Shearer & you media gurus, FA & PGMO – Bayern were so good they taught us all a lesson. In fact they taught us several lessons.

    Lesson 1. Wenger is a master football artist. His art appears on the grass described by his players.

    Lesson 2. Ian Wright appeared to be more intelligent in the Kalahari with nothing on than in a studio with specs.

    Lesson 3. Newspapers are tomorrows toilet paper.

    Lesson 4. Radio pundits are less useful than yesterdays newspapers.

    Lesson 5. Wengers only purchase according to you has come back to shut your stupid mouths.

    Lesson 6. £64 is a fair price to pay to see the best football team in the world.

    Lesson 7. Read through lessons 1 – 6 again & weep.

    Lesson 8. Untold Arsenal has found some true gooners who know bad officiating is corrupt.

  19. Even tonight’s highlights on ITV followed the narrative, with Hoddle carping about Ospina being the wrong choice, and Keane insisting Arsenal are weak.

    They all get paid to express hatred for Arsenal, and that’s why this club gets no credit or acknowledgement. **** ’em!

  20. A little off topic, can anyone guide me where I can find the information on how Bayern can charge so less for their tickets and how come they paid off their stadium debts 15 before.

  21. Berating the Arsenal( rightly or wrongly !) must be a perverse delight for some.
    No manner of good works or great plays will ever change them as they all must be stupid . Their loss , too bad.

    Along the same lines – ” Being a doctor is very much like being a goalkeeper . No matter how many (goals) you save , people will remember only the one you missed .”

  22. And….

    Out of town on a convention, the executive met an attractive young woman. After enjoying some conversation over drinks, they both went up to his room. Persuading her to disrobe, he discovered that she had a stunning body. Unfortunately, he found that he was unable to perform.
    His first night back at home, he walked into the bedroom after taking a shower and found his wife in an old, rumpled bathrobe, curlers in her hair, her face covered in cream, munching on candy as she read a book.
    Without any warning, he felt the beginning of a magnificent erection. Looking down at it, he growled, “You ungrateful, mixed up son of a bitch. Now I understand why they call you a prick!”

  23. A very successful businessman had a meeting with his new son-in-law.

    “I love my daughter, and now I welcome you into the family,” said the man. “To show you how much we care for you, I’m making you a 50-50 partner in my business. All you have to do is go to the factory every day and learn the operations.”

    The son-in-law interrupted, “I hate factories. I can’t stand the noise.”

    “I see,” replied the father-in-law. “Well, then you’ll work in the office and take charge of some of the operations.”

    “I hate office work,” said the son-on-law. “I can’t stand being stuck behind a desk all day.”

    “Wait a minute,” said the father-in-law. “I just make you half-owner of a moneymaking organization, but you don’t like factories and won’t work in a office. What am I going to do with you?”

    “Easy,” said the young man. “Buy me out.”

  24. The Ungrateful Wife – always tears me up !

    A wife arriving home from a shopping trip was horrified to find her husband in bed with a lovely young woman. Just as she was about to storm out of the house, her husband stopped her with these words:

    “Before you leave, I want you to hear how this all came about. While I was driving along the highway, I saw this young girl here, looking tired and bedraggled.

    So I brought her home and made her a meal from the roast beef you had forgotten in the refrigerator.
    She had only some worn-out sandals on her feet, so I gave her a pair of good shoes you had discarded because they had gone out of style.
    She was cold, so I gave her the sweater I bought you for your birthday that you never wore because the colors didn’t suit you.
    Her slacks were worn out, so I gave her a pair of yours that were perfectly good but too small for you now.

    Then, as the young girl was about to leave the house, she paused and asked, “Is there anything else your wife doesn’t use anymore?”

  25. gouresh,

    I did a search on the net and I was able to come up with a few interesting links:
    Allianz Arena’s Wikipedia page, which details the stadium costs and ownership.
    TSV 1860 Munich’s Wikipedia page, which provides further detail into how some money went down the drain.
    This press release which explains how Bayern paid off its remaining debt.

    The story summarized looks like this:

    Bayern needed to build this new stadium, but were unwilling to pay the full money if they could, so they shared the costs of €340 million with TSV 1860, an arrangement that rang alarm bells and sparked a trial which saw TSV’s president Karl-Heinz Wildmoser, Sr. charged and imprisoned for corruption. TSV are a small club, and couldn’t sustain the debt when they dropped out of Bundesliga in 2004, so they reached the brink of bankruptcy in 2006. Bayern “saved” them by buying the 50% share of ownership with €11 million, which provided immediate relief, but means that TSV no longer gets matchday income. TSV continued to struggle financially and needed another €8 million in 2011, with Bayern turning provider again, this time because a default on the stadium rent would have meant Bayern has to pay €50 million. TSV is now actively looking for a new stadium.

    About the ticket prices, I can only speculate that they are driven by a few factors, such as:
    – The average ticket prices in Bundesliga are significantly lower than in EPL. I vaguely remember a rather recent story about Newcastle fans at Dortmund, for whom the overall cost of the trip was equal to the cost of watching a Category 1 EPL match. Blame it on the macroeconomic balance, which keeps the prices in Germany low, while the prices in Great Britain (and especially London) are known to be relatively high.
    – The huge commercial income Bayern receives every year has the imediate effect of lowering the percentage of the match day income to a point where it doesn’t make any sense to increase the ticket prices. Uli Hoeness himself explained that, quoted approximately, “2 million a year is almost nothing to us, while higher ticket prices mean a lot to the fans”. The occasion was of course the £64 ticket price our club charges the away fans, which the press took out of context as usual to find another reason to bash Arsenal.
    – The shares Adidas, Allianz and Audi own in Bayern, which mean yet another immediate source of cash, so the match day income pales in significance even more.

  26. Two friends met in the street. One looked sad and almost on the verge of tears. The other man said, “Hey my friend, how come you look like the whole world has caved in?”

    The sad fellow said, “Let me tell you. Three weeks ago, an uncle died and left me 50-thousand dollars.”

    “That’s not bad at all…!”

    “Hold on, I’m just getting started. Two weeks ago, a cousin I never knew kicked-the-bucket and left me 95-thousand, tax-free to boot.”

    “Well, that’s great! I’d like that.”

    Last week, my grandfather passed away. I inherited almost a million.”

    “So why are so glum?”

    “This week – nothing!”

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  28. Gouresh,

    They were co owners of Allianz arena, werent they. Before they bought the 50% held by other Munich club (1860 muchen). I dont know how it works that deal to buy out but roughly I think, Bayern got it for nothing (12 million for the 50 % shares). Cost of construction initially was to be shared.

    Approx, 360 million, for which Allianz paid 90 millions upfront for the naming rights for 30 years. So bayern had, literally, 135 million in stadium debt. Up until they bought 50% back from 1860 in 2008(is it) for 12 million. So they should have similar figures to ours in debt repayment. 35 million a year. Add to that the German leagues un-competitiveness (literally again) and then their commercial might, they can have a lowly ticket price and survive.

    If we look at the ARSENAL figures, we too are heading towards the same. Considering the fact that ARSENAL have not raised the ticket prices (often) despite the inflation……at this rate (provided we keep it flat) we are headed towards Bayern like ticket prices.

  29. Forgot to make it clear: While the Emirates cost some £400 million, Bayern paid a total of only €189 million on its stadium: half of the €340 million financing plus the aforementioned €11 and €8 million in aid to TSV. The difference in amounts is by now staggering.

  30. @Florian
    October 22, 2015 at 7:30 am

    Thanks for that info…now wouldn’t it be nice and proper for the media to actually do some work (as you very well did) and actually report rather then just talk shite ALL THE TIME?!

    I have a very strong feeling that Bayern – much like its illustrious honorary president are a very corrupt outfit.

  31. thanks guys. the fact that Bayern have managed to keep the ticket prices low is quite an achievement. I know that we have 3 other clubs in the UK who spend like there no tomorrow, but there could be a agreement somewhere, somehow to get the prices to a sane level, the average football fan can benefit.

  32. Rantetta
    David James has joined the party on Talk Sport this morning stating in his infinite wisdom that ….
    ‘All the saves Cech had to make against Bayern highlight Arsenal’s defensive issues’
    The idiot Brazil agreed with him of course.

  33. Mick, Rantetta,

    guess he should have added that :

    first goal by a payer cloing his eyes, falling and using his head
    second goal stopped from goalie counts for half even if it was behind….

    means Arsenal have striker woes and need to buy Ronaldo, Messi and Muller in the January window if they want to stand any chance to make it into the top 4 this year……

    “When you want to kill your dog, say he’s got rabies” goes a french saying.

    And if they win the PL or the CL, the same bunch of creeptics will sy it serves to highlight the specialist in failure, incapable of winning these trophies for more than a decade….or just once in his career…

    Too bad they can’t be sent on a foreign posting like in Andorra or Liechtenstien to report on their football league.

  34. Apo,

    The saddest thing is that it took me some 10 minutes to do a search, skim through the links, find the ones with the best content, and stitch the details together. I guess that’s usually too much to ask from our regular journalists. I hear Guardian is pretty good at these things, but even they let everybody down when it comes to sports.

  35. There is a huge mis-understanding regarding what ppl see as tactic and how it really works.

    To ppl, it seems tactics only have to do with changing shape, replacing a player with someone else, going forward and backwards.. mostly obvious stuff which are tactics but NOT ALL…

    Tactics may include very sublte things… like… how further/shorter to push up the field (difference may be a few meters), intercept a player further ahead/ deeper, chase down more or relax AND when to. etc…

    Consider that players get tired and make mistakes, its hard to look at something and say, it is a “tactical decision” working.

    Als consider one thing: pitch condition. ( In fact different pitches have different width!!!)

    Wenger DO A LOT of tactics… consider the FA club win a season ago… he put in Sanago who can’t really score. Why? just him being fast and mobile caused so much problem in the penalty box… Now that is a TACTIC.

    Wenger just prefers to do smaller tunes than big ones and prefers to “let players play to their strength” than “twist their style to counter the other side” so ppl seem to think he doesn’t do tactics.

  36. Florian
    Thanks so much for posting the info re Bayern.
    I’m sure there was a little period when BM weren’t winning the German league, and I wonder if that period coincided with them having a little less cash due to stadium building/debt? Sorry, I’ll not look that up.

    Thanks also to Chris and Mick, and to Brickfields – whose amusing or otherwise poignant contributions I always appreciate.


  37. NW
    One significance of what you’ve written could be applied to the odious one, in that he’s “tactics” are nothing to do with having his players play to their strengths. No, his players must do only what he wants them to do. A stifling of creation one could say.

    I wasted some time reading about Moano’s latest ref rant last night. What astonishes me is that whilst the Presstitutes continue to laud this man for his trophy collection, they never factor in the Billions spent purchasing players or the state in which he leaves clubs, financially, emotionally and reputation-ally.

    Let’s have an eye gouge, but not talk about it.

  38. A simpler reason why Bayern prices are kept low might be because they (like all Bundesliga clubs) are 51% fan owned.
    No way are they going to vote for high ticket prices.

  39. One of the big differences between German and UK football/ticket prices comes down to the simplest thing. Cost of living. Munich was always expensive by German standards and the whole of Germany got much more expensive with the move from the Dmark to the Euro. But it’s still cheaper than the UK. Add into this the amazing tax laws where anyone on even middle income needs an accountant (which always saves them at least the cost of the accountant)because their tax laws are so complex, but it does give big breaks to companies sponsorship of sports clubs and to the sports club themselves provided they do ‘community’ stuff. Add in that their staff costs are lower and they have little competition for fans in Bavaria, so have a big following and lots of club regalia for sale all over the area. They also get support (not financially) from the city of munich when they need stuff done. Unlike the Wenger Stadium which has to pay the local council for anything and everything (the wear and tear on the pavements?).

  40. Serge, that certainly has some effect but Wolfberg have shown that with VW money, they are more successful. I guess the fans of other clubs have to decide if they’re happy letting their league copy the Spanish model of 2 big teams plus the guest team (changes every few years) and the rest make up the numbers.

  41. A quick Google, Bayern got city council (administration) to bear the cost of infrastructure development around the stadium.. Yet their stadium cost them 340 million!!.

    Looking at those numbers, ARSENAL have built the best stadium with very less expenses. Considering the fact that we had to do some infrastructure redevelopment.

  42. Recently, I went for a 40 days trip in Europe making a lot of friends in the corporate world in the process. Every single one of them were football fans and get very excited about Arsenal FC. ‘The best run football club in the world’, is always the final conclusion. In fact, they are astound still with the ‘small’ amount of money the club spent to build the stadium together with the work done to the surrounding insfrastructure. Really? Went to north London to find out. Everyone nearby the Ems love Arsene and Arsenal because the project saved the neighborhood from going down hill. Now, one of the modern places in London.

  43. Michael Ram, Across the last 30 years I’ve done a lot of European Business travel (plus lived in Munich for a year odd) and can only reconfirm your point. AFC and AW are very highly regarded across the continent. It’s only here where the british media can make up stories for a headline, that AFC and AW are less highly thought of. And even then, the more intelligent supporters of other teams wish AW had gone to their team instead of AFC.
    The people around Ashburton Grove should love AFC as we’ve been forced by the local council to invest a fortune in the local community.

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