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Man City’s problem is that they are no longer able to steal players from Arsenal

By Tony Attwood

Arsène Wenger finally told the assembled football media what we have been saying for years – they are tedious, repetitive and unimaginative.  OK he didn’t use those words exactly but he did say they lacked creativity, and how utterly, utterly right he was about that.

They agree a theme between them, and then ask about it over and over, knowing they can fill their column either with the polite answer they normally get or with huge headlines such as

Wenger refuses to talk about

finishing off the sentence with whatever takes their fancy.  It’s a trick they have been pulling for years and years, it is very tedious, but it is what passes for journalism these days.

Actually the press conference did have another good line in it when Mr Wenger called Manchester Airport “good clients” in reference to the players they have bought at over the top prices, before adding that as the press knew, Mesut and Alexis have 18 months left on their contracts.

As Mr Wenger also pointed out the journalists had an opportunity to quiz him on key issues but were simply wasting their opportunity.  But it was ever thus.  They had agreed on their mutual topic and no one was going to dissuade them adding “I don’t see why there is urgency in every press conference to have these questions.”So Arsène, if I may be so bold as to call you Arsène on this occasion, let me tell you why.

There is an agreement among journalists not to talk about certain things at all, or at least only in specific ways, and that other topics are “news” and must be talked about.

There is no logic to this, no reference back to the populace at large, just that reality.   Point out what happens in terms of refereeing when mid-range teams like Everton and Southampton come up against Arsenal and you won’t find it picked up at all, or if it is reported it will be called a “wild rant”.Now having screwed up on the story they have been running for months about yet another talented youngster being lost to Arsenal, they have to move on to their next Arsenal story:  Alexis and Ozil will go.Let me give you an example Mr Wenger.   The Daily Telegraph, 4 October 2016.

‘Hector Bellerin could leave for Manchester City or Barcelona 

Worrying reports for Arsenal fans in this morning’s papers, which have Hector Bellerin linked with a move away from north London.

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Notice the game – it is in “this morning’s papers”.  Not their fault then, they are just copying what every else is saying.   Or maybe the Daily Mirror

Barcelona all but confirm Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin is a January …

This was on 19 September this year and read “Barcelona plot Hector Bellerin transfer with Arsenal man first choice … Aleix Vidal has been a complete flop in Barcelona “

Or the Metro

Arsenal transfer news: Hector Bellerin tempted by Man City or Barcelona

Arsenal right-back Hector Bellerin is reportedly tempted to leave the club and seal a transfer to rivals Manchester City.  That was 4 October.

Of course some of the diddly widdly bloggettas went even further, for having surveyed tens of thousands of Arsenal supporters to get their opinions DreamTeam FC came up with

Dani Alves leaves Barcelona – Arsenal fans certain Hector Bellerin is his replacement

So now we have in the Telegraph, “In the wake of headlines suggesting that Sanchez is receiving eye-watering offers to play in the Chinese Super League – £400,000 a week, according to some reports…” oh yes some reports.Mr Wenger could have asked the media mashpit where they got their stories from – although of course the only answer the hacks could give is “he said it” with each of them pointing at other scribblers in the room.  It wouldn’t tell us much but it would be funny.

He also said that the financial gap between the Airport sponsors and Arsenal has been reduced, and added, “I feel that today, we can give financial satisfaction and support and ambition and values that can make the players happy at this club. Before, maybe, the financial gap was too big a difference, and we had to sell players.”

Mr Wenger also said that the key to winning the game “is to defend well together and not be timid every time you get the ball. Attack, because that is our philosophy. But we have not to forget as well that City is a team that is very strong going forward, maybe even more now with Guardiola. So we have to focus on defending well.”

But I wonder.  I don’t mean I am going to suggest Mr W is telling a fib, but by chance in the last few days I have been writing up the story of the end of the 1935/6 season for the Arsenal History Society, and as a result tactical mucking about is on my mind.

What occupied me in writing up the series of articles on that season (there is a full index to the whole Arsenal in the 30s series here if you are interested) was how manager George Allison twice in the FA cup that season pulled the most extraordinary tactical manoeuvres to get Arsenal to win matches that were drifting away from them.

And I wrote just the other day about the way in which on occasion Arsenal in recent years have switched from all out attack to the sort of counter-attacking game that Chapman devised for the club, conceding territory to hit the opposition on very quick breaks.  Maybe Mr W is leaving a false trail.

But of course this is all too complex for the hacks, and most certainly for Jonathan Liew who has always believed he has the ability to read the future as well as people’s minds.  So here is the future: on and off the pitch, it is becoming clear that Sánchez is the player who will define Arsenal’s season.

Maybe, maybe not, but really what this is about is the endless fight the media have to hide their own inability to predict the future in a media show in which they have long ago decided that predicting the future is what they do well.

Last summer between them, the media and attendant bloggettas, reported that 22 senior players in Arsenal’s squad were about to leave.  And they didn’t.  But ignoring that Mr Liew now claims that “Arsenal’s parsimony has been the most contentious issue at the club in the past decade.”

Really? and again really?   Contentious in what way?  In the fact that there was a choice between building a new stadium and not ever having the money to compete with Chelsea because of the lack of income from Highbury?   Allowing Robin van Persie to go for an insane amount of money so Ferguson could put him on a long term contract at a ludicrously high salary to help ensure he (Ferguson) could get one more trophy in his final year?

Arsenal don’t have the riches of Russia’s oil reserves or Abu Dhabi’s oil and gas fields, nor (because those who ran the club in the 1950s and 1960s didn’t bother to institute such a mundane idea) the worldwide marketing reach of Manchester United.  So we have to make this the generation that builds the wealth for Arsenal so that future generations get the benefit.

Manchester City is not the club “who have done more to feed Arsenal’s insecurities than any other” as Liew proclaims but a team with their own issues, just like Arsenal.  As a result, and as we all know Bellerín was not tempted away with tales of the Barcelona DNA being in his blood, nor of Manchester Airport wealth, as some less bright characters have been in the past.

With the Bellerín deal Barcelona offered the player far more money than Arsenal offered, and offered Arsenal a huge transfer fee to have “their” player back.   Manchester Airport starting making similar moves and there was a general assumption in the media (because that is all they have these days – general assumptions) that the player would leave and the sneering at Arsenal could begin again.  In fact there were stories circulating in the media that the Airport would not be pushed away.  Their manager wanted the player and the player was who they would get.

Bellerín remained at Arsenal because he knew what Mr Wenger did for him, giving him a chance in the Borussia Dortmund game in September 2014 and not listening to the droning and moaning from the aaa and their friends in the media.

And – and this is something that I have just seen acknowledged for the first time in a newspaper – it was in the Guardian – “Bellerín considered how a number of former Arsenal players had fared since their departures. He thought about Clichy, Sagna and Nasri – together with Cesc Fàbregas and Alex Song. Has the grass been greener for the first three at City? Did Fàbregas’s dream return to Barcelona really work out? Song also went to Camp Nou, and he did not enjoy regular football.”

At least the Guardian can now admit it.  Hopefully Alexis realises that too.

Tales from Untold 

Wenger ponders whether Yaya Sanogo will ever really be good enough for Arsenal. 

Referee Appointments and Results Matchweek #13 complete with video evidence

FA Youth Cup 2016/17 – Arsenal v Blackburn Rovers 16/12/2016: Match Preview

Man City v Arsenal: a change of tactics is predicted, and the psychological game

Özil asks Arsenal to sign Draxler as part of contract deal and other tales

Ref Review: West Ham – Arsenal: an even bias score, miracles do happen

Football journalism has become a walled wonderland inherently incompatible with reality


11 comments to Man City’s problem is that they are no longer able to steal players from Arsenal

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    Man City may not be abled anymore as they are once were to easily snatched the Gunners they want from Arsenal as they used to do, therefore have considerably reduced being a Gunner transfer target threat to Arsenal. This is good news for us.

    However, another unforeseen move away Gunners transfer target threat is looking to have emerged out of no where which needs to be decisively taken care off by Arsenal to stop the threat constituting a stumbling block to Arsenal’s drive to win both the Premier League title and the Uefa Champions League which Arsenal are in good position to win this season.

    A Chinese Super League money bag club manage by ex-Gunner snatcher Manuel Pellegrini is reported in the media to be keen at tempting away from us our own dear Alexis with a much higher wages than he’s currently earning at Arsenal. This is an unwarranted intrusion against Arsenal by the Chinese Super League money bag club which Arsenal MUST stop from happening.

  • Walton

    You neglect to mention how Fabregas is doing presently at the top of the PL.

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    I hope Crystal Palace will this afternoon at their Selhurst home ground stop the rampaging Chelsea team from extending their PL winning run this season to 11 on the run. But rather, the Eagles MUST find a way to beat the Blues in the match am about to watch in about 30 minutes time.

    The beating of Chelsea today has become necessary for us the Gooners as we are jealously guiding our 13 PL games winning run being breached which we attained in 2001-2002 season. The highest run attained by any club since that time.

    The 2 benchmarks we’ve set in the PL by being the only unbeaten team in a PL calendar year and that our 13 in one season winning run MUST jealously be guided against being breached by any PL team ever. Because this is our pride. Even Real Madrid will not attain the Arsenal’s 49 unbeaten run as they’ve been shouting here and there of been unbeaten in all applications of 30 games so far in their campaign.

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    I want to believe the fog that has engulf Selhurst Park in the ongoing Palace vs Chelsea game which am seeing on my screen now will not be happening or at least reduced to the barest minimum on a foggy playing time at the Ems when Arsenal install their retractable sun track at the Emirates Stadium next season.

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    It’s not good to miss a sitter which Puncheon missed for Palace as he profligate in front of Chelsea goal early on in the game. But a bully of a header by Diego Costa who didn’t profligate in front of Palace goal has seen Chelsea taking the lead in the game going into the 1st half of the match.

    I thought Palace were growing fangs in the game and I’ve been waiting for when they’ll suck before the 1st half ended. My hope is an Eagle, two or even more Eagles will draw some Blues blood to beat Chelsea before this match ends.

  • nicky

    On a serious note, it is clubs like Citeh and Chelski (and more particularly their owners) who have introduced a darker side of English football.
    The fees they have paid to lure other clubs’ players (plus the ridiculous wages offered) has been nothing short of crazy.
    The domino effect is now apparent by the Chinese offers being hawked around the EPL.
    The love of money is certainly becoming the root of all evil. 😉

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    Our all times 13 PL games winning run in a season is under threat by Chelsea. But they haven’t yet equalled it not to talk of them surpassing it.

    What is of paramount to us now is a big response by the Gunners to diffuse the Blues attempt to 1st equalled and probably surpassed our 13 PL games winning run in a season and 2ndly to attempt to win the PL title this season too.

    Beginning as from tomorrow at the Etihad against Man City, Arsenal SHOULD start a long long winning run of 22 PL games by to 1st beat Man City and keep beating other teams up to the end of their PL campaign.

    It’s not a too much ask of the Gunners to do this 22 PL matches winning run job to win the title on 100 points this season( that’s another record that will be set). It’s an ask that I believe the Gunners can successfully executes it to the letter if they foremost have the belief they can do it and believe their beliefs will come to pass. In addition to this, the Gunners MUST 2ndly have the ultra confidence in themselves to do the job and unfailingly attains the regular very high unrelenting & uncompromising performance in their games for these 22 PL winning run games to totally claimed the run.

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    Do we need the video referees to help the match referee at the Britanniia in the game between Stoke and Leicester to decide if Vardy’s tackle on a Potter was a yellow or red card offence? Hmmn, I think we need this video refs much earlier than they’ve scheduled them to arrive. Was that unintended handling in his own box by a Fox a penalty to the Potters?

  • Leon

    Wenger’s right, we’ve done really well out our sales to City. How many of them would be considered a success. Kolo was in decline due to his condition, Nasri never fulfilled his potential (if he ever had one in the first place), Adebayor is a time bomb. You could say Clichy was the most irreplaceable (at the time) although we have better now, and Sanga got himself a really great deal and has played well. But look how much we got for them.

  • John L

    Chelsea manager reported to be concerned at harmful effect on football of China’s vast wealth and ability to inflate fees and wages!

    I am sure that he’s right and he should know!

  • Menace

    The exodus to City was not just players but they recruited several ex Arsenal personnel to ensure migration of technical know how. They followed many of Wengers processes & infrastructural procedures. That has given them some success but intelligence is rarer than common sense (& that is not so common). The wells that fund City are still pumping the black stuff so they will not want for ability to pay.

    Wenger’s project is gradually coming to fruition and will demonstrate the difference between knowledge & assumption.