Monday, May 14, 2012

End of season thoughts

End of Season review.

So we wake up and Arsenal finish 3rd. wooooo.  Implications being now Arsene will feel vindicated in his 'success' and put the 19 points behind down to injuries and not where the real blame lies

Poor Policy
Poor Signings
Poor Tactics

We came very close to seeing the much needed change in policy that we've been craving for 7 years all to have it snatched away by Marton Fulop.  The problems were even evident yesterday such a poor midfield no-one interested in winning back the ball.  We gave the initiative to West Brom and had it not been for the worst keeper the world has ever seen could have paid a heavy price.


Almunia, Squillaci both see their contracts expire and both will leave on the 1st of June which releases all the money needed for Podolski's £110k a week contract.

Song + RVP's deals both expire next summer so don't be shocked to see both leave this summer.

Walcott is a cheeky mare wanting 75k a week so we should just offload to highest bidder and say tata to the inconsistent one.


All the excited talk of M'Vila, Hazard, Goetze, Verthongten has all gone quiet we've hit out target for the season (profit) so don't be expecting any policy changes from Wenger back to the same formula after his 'vindication' yesterday.  Expected signings

Junior Hoilett, Lucas Biglia and Soloman Kalou. In true Wenger spirit we can get all 3 for 8M.

What i'd like to see

New Left Back.  Although the naive among you are now thinking Kioren Gibbs is the greatest player in the world because he put in 1 tackle all season he's still and injury prone wank stain who should not be playing Premiership football.  Andre Santos again yesterday proved he should not be a left back but be used as part of our forward 3.  (Leighton Baines would be buyable Everton need money Baines should be playing champions league football)

TWO defensive minded ball winners. -  Two from these 5 would improve the squad massively

Cover for our defence is vital this summer we concede way too many goals and a major factor is the midfield simply doesn't care when we've not got the ball.  4 options listed are ones that would be availble to be signed.

Flamini is available on a free, he's just coming back from a long term injury so we'll probably be able to get him on a 1 year deal with relatively cheap wages if we do like Portsmouth did with Kanu and give him an automatic wage rise and 1 year extension if he plays 20 league games.

Yann M'Vila looks perfect for us a ball winner who likes to control the midfield he'd be a great signing to help us look at new formations aswell as he actually would be good enough to play in a 4-4-2 unlike Song.

Again raiding Everton Fellaini would be expensive but would also be a very good buy and also obtainable due to Evertons financial plight.

Chiek Tiote - again would probably cost a fair bit due to time left on his contract but perfect ball winning shield that we've missed since Gilberto left.  Wouldn't be very flexible in formations as he's a limited player but would still provide our defence with much needed cover.

(other mentions Lassana Diarra (R.Madrid,) Kwadwo Asamoah (Udinese) both seem to be seeking moves according to reports.)

We seem strongly linked with Biglia who is a good player but seems very slow.  I honestly (from the limited amount ive seen of him in the Europa league + U.S.A vs Argentina last summer) don't think he's the answer. Also alot of Bolton fan's seemed very hesitant when they were linked with him last year but who knows he could be class.

We need at least 2 possibly 3 midfielders if Song does depart.  With all the attacking players we have at the club focusing on the defensive side of midfield is much more important.  Ideal world next season we'd see a midfield 3 of  M'Vila Asamoah with Arteta.  Cheapest options Flamini, Biglia, Arteta either of those would offer alot more balance to ur midfield and would free Arteta to play further forward and with Wilshere Ramsey who can both play their aswell our midfield would suddenly look good again.

A striker
 Whether he stays or goes we all need to accept that Robin isn't going to have another 2011. He'll come back from the euro's tired and most likely spend the 1st few months of the season tired out of sorts. Honestly it wouldn't be the end of the world if we cashed in and reinvested.  Striker options are few and far between but Falcao from Athletico Madrid would be buyable as Athletico missed out on Champions League football so with a big bid he'd be bagable. If RVP gets sold this is where id like to see the money spent.

Chamakh needs to leave. We don't have the system to suit him and he's not getting any form of run in the side to adjust to us so it's just a waste of wages keeping him, Park has been a failure and also needs to be quietly pushed out the backdoor onto the ever growing pile of Wenger fails.  Vela and Bendtner don't want to play for us. Walcott wants a big contract so should be sold so we're looking terribly thin up top.  Joel Campbell isn't ready and if he does somehow manage to get a work permit id like to see him in the championship to try and find some form of goalscoring prowess as he's not a natural finisher.


Szczsney - Never has a goalkeeper made so many mistakes yet not been pulled about them.  If only Almunia knew that all you need to do to be classed as a good keeper is make a few jokes in interviews and have a twitter account.  For the good he's done the majority of his saves are hit straight at him. This is also reflected in Szcz's saves to shot ratio which is among the worse n the premiership and even lower than Wayne Henneseys who got relegated.  Theres very few times when it can be claimed he's won us points like Lehmann and Seaman used to.  While he is still young and has massive potential i think we've pushed him 1 step too far too soon and now his confidence in himself that was so refreshing is now arrogance that is causing him to make mistakes.  Its a tight rope to balance this summer as if we sign a new number 1 to put Szcz in his place and get him focusing on football again he could leave but if we don't he could self implode and decline which would be a massive shame.

this is what would make my perfect Arsenal summer and not a reflection of opinion on what will happen

Ins - Flamini (free), M'Vila (17m), Asamoah (12m), Falcao (35m??), Baines - (15M) - Total Cost - 80M
Outs - Almunia (free), Squillaci (free), Van Persie (30m), Gibbs (1m), Frimpong (released),  Rosicky (1m) Bendtner (4m), Djourou (3m), Fabianksi (1m), Chamberlain (loan), Campbell (loan),  Jenkinson (loan), Song (15m),  Walcott (he's english so... 20m i hear liverpool like buying crap players.) Chamakh (4m), Park (1m) Diaby (leave him outside an hope someone steals him) - Total - 80M Recouped

From that we would be left with a squad that looked like

GK - Szcznesy, Mannone (not ideal as mentioned above with Szcz)
LB - Baines, Santos (used like Eboue mainly as an attacking force but lb cover in case of injury)
RB - Sagna, Coquelin, Yenarris (happy with that)
CB - Vermealen , Koscielny, Mertesacker, Miquel (still lacks a leader at the back but added midfield cover will improve defence vastly)

CM - M'Vila, Asamoah, Flamini (2 from 3 in starting 11) / Arteta, Ramsey, Wilshere (1 from 3 in starting 11 ramsey and wilshere used sparingly)

Attacking 3 - Gervinho, Santos, Podolski, Falcao, Miyaichi,

So attacking wise we could do with 1 more as thats a little short if injuries take hold. Not that this would happen this is just a Gunner dreaming.

So in closing to all the Arsene Knows Best fans.  Jsut remember i said we'd finish the season with 68 points and it would be a failure to finish with this total.  We finished 2 ahead.  All ends up thats a poor return.  Massive improvement needed from le french one.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Arsenal Opinions

Opinions on Arsenal.

Bored of going over same ground with every tom, dick and harry on twitter so just to get it all clear everyone will be directed here.  Same as with my tweets don't like don't read simples.

Arsene Wenger
Once a great manager a tactical 'genius' using the word sparingly. Described as the best ever by some a title that has since been withdrawn.  For a great manager who can't successfully navigate back to back to titles, loses more cup finals than he wins, has such a poor record in europe is he really all that.  Lets analyze.

Premier League Titles
Competed in 16 Full premiership season. Won 3 titles.  Hardly spectacular.  1998 his 1st full season in charge and we win the league. Amazing to come from 18 points behind at one stage and go on the 1st unbeaten run in the league and from February to April played some excellent stuff.  But at the same time in the balance of fairness at 18 points behind we're playing without pressure.  It didn't matter if we caught Man Utd because we were that far behind and stumble would have been understood.  So while it was great it didn't really show how we'd fair in an actual title race.  Also manchester United lost their captain for half the season so fans in Manchester still say United would have won the league if Keane didn't get injured and with what happened in 99 its hard to argue against it.

99 title race Arsenal and Man Utd went to the wire.  We had the easier run in Leeds at home win this and going into the last day the title would have been ours. Wenger bottled it we lost and the title went to Old Trafford.  Wasn't the only time that season wengers tactics let us down.  FA Cup semi final vs 10 men couldn't get it done. Champions League vs Panathinikos and Lens couldn't get it done.

00 01 both failures.  1-0 up in an Fa cup final lose 2-1 due to poor management.  Again Wenger unfallable because we've never been 2nd place before and now we've had 3 seasons of it.  Success?? Really??

2002 - Our best season ever in my opinion  the spirit and desire of the players to win 13 in a row in the league while still showing heart to compete in the FA Cup was incredible but again another poor showing in Europe.

For all the good of 2002 Wenger again failed miserably in 2003 over reliance on player no reliance on tactics left us trophy-less with with such and amazing squad.

2004 - out of all the cups early but league form covered up in what should have been our 3rd title in a row we and the 4th double of the clubs history we finish with a premiership title due to poor tactics in the FA
Cup semi.

2005 the most embarrassing trophy win of wengers management.  Winning the FA Cup after Wenger blatantly admitting he isn't good enough to out think fergie with the best squad we've ever had we win the FA Cup on penalties after having 1 shot on target committing 30 fouls and barely stepping foot in the united half for 120 minutes.  Vieira knew what was to come from Wenger so quickly jumped ship.

Europe.  We have always been shocking in Europe under Wenger how many times have we been smashed in the Champions League.  Way too many.  how many times have we been in the stands saying its Men vs Boys?? How many more times do we have to put up with it. PAOK Salonki, Borussia Monchengladbach,  Panthinikos + Lens, Deportivo, Valencia, PSV, Liverpool, Man Utd, Barcelona, Barcelona, Ac Milan all the sides who have sent us out of europe under Wenger.  3 attempts in 6 years to beat Barcelona and he still cant find a way to do it. How many times has he been outclassed in cups by Sir Alex Ferguson??  These are the things that define the difference between a good manager and the greatest.

Then the move to the Emirates the rest of Wengers failures all come from the same policy decision so we;ll look at that.

While paying off debt its obvious we cant be like Manchester United, Chelsea, Man city and spend £20m+ on players whenever we feel like it because we don't have as big an overdraft as Man U nor do our board want to go down the route of billionaire investors so Wenger decides to focus on our youth academy.  Some fans like this some don't lets balance the views.

Pro - Cheaper, all players all way through club play same way meaning they can slot in easily into 1st team, looks good when you bring through a player like Wilshere who's been at the club 8 years by the time he makes his debut.

Cons - 99% of the players don't make it, - there are very very few players who actually come out of our academy.  One thing people fail to realize is academy players = YTS contracts once a player his 18 (the main age at which we sign them they are no longer academy players these are professional players on professional contracts. These are not so cheap.  Also when these come into the 1st team they are NOT a product of our academy so for all the positive spin on it we do not have a successful academy we have a finishing school for where we put 17 and 18 year olds before we toss them on the scrap heap for not being good enough.

Child Trafficking - Anyone with any sense knows that signing 18 year olds with no 1st team experience is always going to be a questionable decision for every Oxlade Chamberlain there are 10 Jermaine Pennants.  So signing players knowing that you will not play them and just for the intention to sell them on for profit is Child Trafficking.  Wenger has been accused of it before and will again until he accept singing youth doesn't work.

Signings - there are 57 players who have come into the club and left without any form of impact on the 1st team.  Over the space of 6 years thats alot especially when you consider how long we've needed support in our 1st team squad for.  If Arsenal only signed players from Islington for the academy we'd still have the same success rate of academy to 1st team development so every signing that doesn't make it is just 1 thing a waste of time.  When you look at Wengers transfer history his signings have always been hit and miss for every Robert Pires there is a Luis Boa Morte.  But at our best Wenger didn't break the bank financially he never has.  Wengers strength has always been identifying talent players who will be available cheaper (i.e - last year of contract players - Ljungberg, Pires, Wiltord,) or unwanted players (Lauren, Henry, Vieira) All of these players were signed for the same reason to go straight into the 1st team squad and it had its successes.  The 1st team had depth the bank wasn't broken we had good spells of results where a better manager would have won more.  Even now this pattern didn't have to change examples like Demba Ba, Pappis Cisse, Hatem Ben Arfa, Rafeal Van Der Vaart, Colocinni, Scott Sinclair, Niko Kranjcar, Bryan Ruiz, Jose Enrique. Gary Cahill (from villa before Bolton and numerous times while at bolton) all could have followed the same pattern as previous years signing and been cheaper options who could have improved the squad.  The embarrassing climb down from Wenger after the 8-2 humiliation supports this going for Arteta, Benayoun adding premiership experience to the squad was very wise and has helped steady the ship.  Wengers failure to address this 4 years ago when it was already clear youth methods would never word after finishing 24 points behind the season he let Vieira and Edu go to give youth a chance most managers would accept it wouldn't work the few that decided to stick it out would have definitely accepted defeat after finishing another 21 points behind the season after.

So we've established Wenger should have won more.  We've established that signing kids isn't the only way.

Tactics - Over reliance on one tactic, over playing the ball too many passes we've all been saying it for years.  When it comes off its brilliant.  When you play poorly ran sides like Wolves last night it's genius.  But when you play the same Wolves side with Mick McCarthy in charge the game finishes 1-1 because you can't break down the opposition it's an all to familiar occurrence.  In Europe  we attempt to play the same way and get caught out every year.  4 seasons in a row we've been totally outclassed in either leg. Manchester United destroying us 3-1 at the Emirates. The two embarrasing trips to the Nou Camp, The San Siro debacle, The demolition at Anfield.  These games happen time and time again and its all down to the grey hair man in the dugout.  It's no shock to hear opposition fans singing 'We Want You To Stay'  No club comes to Arsenal fearing us anymore they still should because when we click we are a very dangerous side but the problem is we don't click as much as we used to anymore.

This Summer - Complete naivity on apart of the manager destroyed any hope of us doing anything this season.  It was clear last christmas Cesc would leave clear to everyone apart from Wenger who tried to cling on to him untill it was too late to replace.  Great way to start the season with excuse for failure maybe that what he planned.

Then Nasri sale after the season had started great timing. He only said he didn't want to play for us in June when we had 12 weeks to replace.  But we cling to a player who isn't happy to the detriment and again to layer up another excuse like we need any more.  Nasri got upset with the board over delaying his contract saw Carl Jenkinson and Chamberlain sign and knew it was time to go.  He's benefitted by moving up 1 place in the table and will most certainly win a trophy before we do.  People like to call him benchwarmer go check his stats taking out the 2 games he missed while playing for us he has only missed 3 matches since signing for city and only 4 outfield players have started more games.  Hardly a benchwarmer just bitterness

Alex Oxlade Chamberlain. - Now no-one will deny he does have talent.  But £12m on an 18 year old who can't get into our 1st 11 when our 1st 11 is crying out for a leading creative star is that really money well spent?? Has that helped us this season??? Could this money have not been better spent.  We've cried out for defensive cover from the midfield for years so id have much rather seen this money spent on Scott Parker while who isnt the best footballer and is very limited he puts himself about is a physical presence and will actually strive to win the ball back.  would have been beaten 8-2 with Scott Parker in the side no we wouldn't. While he's not a signing that would turn us into champions he would have atleast shown improvement and adding an element that we lack in our midfield and as a cheap stop gap player for 1 or 2 seasons he would have been a wise place to spend money.

Andre Santos - Left Back area has been a concern since Ashley Cole left and relying on Kioren Gibbs to be 1st choice was just another in the long line of Wenger failures.  Santos is not the answer but Wenger dallied and dillied too long and we lost the player we should have signed in Jose Enrique.  another trait of the Wenger reign.

This Seasons unbeaten runs - our resurgence as some people call it has been nothing but standard wins.  Our start to the season involved 5 away games 3 home games we did poorly when away shock horror what a surprise. Nothing new we have a tendency to play poorly away.  Having no depth just highlighted it dramatically.  Then the two good spells of results both came from periods where we had more home games than away games.   The 1st spell of results :

16SunAdd to CalendarBarclays Premier LeagueHSunderland21
19WedAdd to CalendarUEFA Champions LeagueAMarseille10
23SunAdd to CalendarBarclays Premier LeagueHStoke City31
25TueAdd to CalendarCarling CupHBolton Wanderers21
29SatAdd to CalendarBarclays Premier LeagueAChelsea53
01TueAdd to CalendarUEFA Champions LeagueHMarseille00
05SatAdd to CalendarBarclays Premier LeagueHW.B.A.30
19SatAdd to CalendarBarclays Premier LeagueANorwich21
23WedAdd to CalendarUEFA Champions LeagueHBorussia Dortmund21
26SatAdd to CalendarBarclays Premier LeagueHFulham11

3 away games in a 10 game spell.  Someone please tell me what was amazing about that run??  Anyone??

2nd good spell

09MonAdd to CalendarThe FA CupHLeeds10
15SunAdd to CalendarBarclays Premier LeagueASwansea23
22SunAdd to CalendarBarclays Premier LeagueHManchester United12
29SunAdd to CalendarThe FA CupHAston Villa32
01WedAdd to CalendarBarclays Premier LeagueABolton Wanderers00
04SatAdd to CalendarBarclays Premier LeagueHBlackburn Rovers71

then the Milan Debacle and the complete outclassment by Martin O'Neill again even in that spell 4 wins all at home.

We come back from Sunderland

26SunAdd to CalendarBarclays Premier LeagueHTottenham Hotspur52
03SatAdd to CalendarBarclays Premier LeagueALiverpool21
06TueAdd to CalendarUEFA Champions LeagueHAC Milan30
12MonAdd to CalendarBarclays Premier LeagueHNewcastle United21
21WedAdd to CalendarBarclays Premier LeagueAEverton10
24SatAdd to CalendarBarclays Premier LeagueHAston Villa30
31SatAdd to CalendarBarclays Premier LeagueAQPR12
08SunAdd to CalendarBarclays Premier LeagueHManchester City10
11WedAdd to CalendarBarclays Premier LeagueAWolverhampton W.30Player

Now in here we have a few away games.  Liverpool are a shambles and we we're never going to lose even on our worst day we'd have still won that game.  Goodison park is our 2nd home In our last 19 games their we have taken more points at Goodison than Everton in their last 19.  I wish we could play all our Away games at goodison we love it.  Then away game to Q.P.R we lose.  Away game to Wolves (did anyone really see Terry Connor beating Wenger)

So again 3 runs of form broken down where should we be impressed these are just standard.  Have we fallen that far we now need to see beating Wolves as a reason for celebration??

3rd Place - at present we sit in 3rd.  With all my Wenger out tweets i have mentioned how Wenger has his level and his stubbornness and refusal to change his level is around the 68 point mark.  I made that comment when i also tweeted telling everyone to back us to finish above Spurs when skybet had us at 4/1. So end of the season we'll finish with probably 74 points so i was 6 points off so go ahead you all tell me im wrong for wanting to see something new.

Next Season - While you are all dreaming and fantasising thinking next year we will challenge remember we have always been able to pick up points when our 1st 11 has been fit.  (which is currently is) and at home. (where we picked up most of our points)  If anyone honestly thinks this summer will see anything other than the usual spun lines from Wenger then you are a lost cause and have fun spending £1500 on your season ticket to come between 3rd and 5th again,

what to expect -
'Wilshere beng fit again is like a new signing' 'signing Mario Goetze, Edin Hazard, Lucas Podolski will hinder the development of Chamberlain' 'i really think this is the year for Walcott to move upfront' 'Parks adjustment to England had be slow but for next season he'll be like a new signing' 'the return of Denilson, Bendtner and Campbell are massive signs of the ambition of this club'
Look inside and tell me you really think the stubborn one is going to change.

In closing thought to leave you with.... What a fantastic achievement Wenger is a god he's spent 7 years building this side to his monumental finish of being 15 points behind 1st.