When is ‘nothing’ ever the solution?

by & filed under News Review.


Yeah man, it’s a mother f*cking staycation for me today. The process by which you accrue masses of holiday and have to sit at home and find things to do.

No joke, I bought a banging new mop the other day and I’m actually excited about using it.

What have I become?

Anyway, that aside, there were some pretty amusing goings on around the web yesterday. Jamie Carragher has come out and said it’s hard to sign a centre back. The sage has spoken, Arsene has been forgiven for his summer misgivings. I’ve seen him trying to operate the video replay button on Sky, pretty sure anything more complicated is going to be a challenge. Not sure a job awaits him in transfer negotiation.

I’ve also seen people ask whether a journeyman is better than nothing? What a question. It’s not often nothing is a better solution, despite what Wenger will have had you believe over the years. I mean, nothing could be better if you put terrible players in front of me. But no one is asking for a terrible journeyman, are they?

Think of the players we could have landed. Lescott was once a very expensive defender, he’s played in title winning sides, he’s 32 and he was on a free. Are you telling me Monreal would have been preferable? Hangeland, a bit more of a risk at 33, but still an actual centre back who could do a better job than nothing.

Then you have players that moved. Manolas went to Roma. We could have nabbed him, maybe in exchange for Joel Campbell who seems to be interesting Wenger in a ‘not at all’ kind of way.

However you cut it, there was no excuse for not bolstering there. You have a scouting department to make recommendations. If there were no recommendations, what were they doing? Like John Stones, where were we when Everton were picking him up? Surely we didn’t miss him. He plays in England. He was picking up rave reviews. Did no one invite Arsenal down?

Inaction and Wenger’s ‘there wasn’t the quality’ just reeks of incompetence. 6 defenders is quite incredible. Even just on a human level, expecting any level of defender to go through this period without support is grossly unfair. Imagine the state they’ll all be in by January? You need a squad, you need to rotate and you need to have back ups who can come in and do a job for you.

I think a great example of bringing in bodies to help is the way Chelsea work. They bought Drogba, a man well past his prime who made the difference against United at the weekend (nearly). Barca bought Larsson back in the day. Milan used Veterans to dominate. Spurs used Sheringham, Scholes and Giggs to great affect. United signed Blanc. Arsenal have used Henry and Sol Campbell over the years.

The solution should never be nothing. Especially if there’s no logic behind the nothing.

Not a lot else going off today? Have a great day. I’m off to mop a floor I purposely spilt yoghurt on #LivingTheDream.

P.S. Friend of the site, Josh Landy, has a business where he’ll let you play football with legends like Perry Groves etc. He has a great portfolio of exPros. Great for stag do’s or corporate shindigs. Check out his site here.

Tags: ,

Meritocratic managerial appointments | Winston Reid a target

by & filed under News Review.

'This grass is a little bit short'

A fun day of football that worked for all concerned. Spurs were beaten by Newcastle who just can’t seem to sack Alan Pardew, the bugger always pulls it out the bag when his job is publicly put on the line. Then in the evening, United grappled a last gasp point from a resolute Chelsea side.

Is that the awakening of United? Doubtful, but it did serve as a warning. They played much better than I’ve seen them play in a while and they certainly played with an energy and tactical astuteness to make me think they’ll cause is problems when we play them in a few weeks.

Didn’t take long for LVG to start with the public slayings… this is him on Robin.

“He did a stupid reaction after the goal”

“You can be excited but don’t have to pull your shirt off.

Arsenal need to take the down time this week to get some freshness back in the legs. This isn’t an opportunity for more intensity. This is an opportunity for reflection on our performances. It’s a chance to assess our tactical failings. It’s also a massive chance to rotate some excitement back into our squad.

The two games we have coming up, in Hull and Anderlecht, are perfect opps for us to bring in some fresh blood. If you can’t rest your best players against Burnley, when can you?

United have quite a tough run into the Arsenal game. Palace and City. We have one extra game, which is a burner. But what can you do? The price of not bombing out of the Champions League is more games. As ol’ Brendan is finding out at Liverpool.

We have to bring in Joel Campbell, Lukas and Rosicky into the next game. Not just to inject freshness into our weary team, but also to give some motivation to the players on the fringe who will be massively important for the run in.

In other news, we’re starting hear the links to new centre backs coming thick and fast. The hottest name I can share is the name I mentioned in the summer. Winston Reid is appealing to Arsenal because he’s 26, he’s a contract rebel and he’s a leader for West Ham. He’d be a bit of a coup for me. No bedding in period, relatively cheap and eager to prove he can make it at the highest level.

It’s going to be tough landing a big name. People like John Stones would have been of interest before his price tag shot up to English premium levels. You can talk about Mats Hummels until you’re blue in the face, simple fact is, big clubs don’t sell their best players in January unless there’s a totally outrageous fee attached. I’d love to rely on our scouting network to bail us out here, but those guys are the reason we don’t have a decent offering.

If it were me, I’d just hand over the transfer dealings to Ivan. He nailed the WELBZ signing in a morning. Just give him a list, or better, let him compile his own list.

NO, have a competition on the website where everyone selects their favourite option and the most popular, we go big for? Crowd sourced transfer planning. It’s the future. It’s here. It’s so now.

There’s some talk about Pedro moving to us because he’s handed in a transfer request. Really can’t buy into this. The last player we need is Pedro. Top talent, but what’s the point in putting cash behind a position you’re fine in. We need a Matic and a centre back before we start entertaining the luxury positions.

Finally, Jurgen Klopp appears to be struggling at Dortmund. 6 loses in 10. Tragic. Looks like his pressing game has been rumbled. I raised the prospect that in 3 years time, he might not be the man for us. Some claimed that was fickle. For me, that’s a dim point to make. You have to constantly reassess who is working and who isn’t. Having a singular view of the world regardless of a change in variables is the reason we’re in such a hole at the moment. Football is changing rapidly, the weakest now have strength, the most adaptable are surviving and conquering…

What’s interesting with Klopp is that he had a winning formula and it appears he hasn’t adapted it. Sure, he’s been hit by player sales, but mistakes have crept into his set up. The injury pile up is Arsene Wenger like. That’s the problem with winning. It can make you arrogant and complacent. You have to always kill the formula, because in any game, once you have a winning technique, it’s dead. You need to constantly strive to improve. The best do it when they’re winning, the managers that don’t go onto Ferguson like greatness fail to adapt and die.

Will Klopp adapt? I hope so. He’s such a character and his passion is incredibly infectious. He has a challenge on his hands though, he can’t leave that until he’s masterminded the resurgence of Dortmund. I hope he does it then takes over at Arsenal.

The football revolution is so exciting to watch. This is a real golden era. The evolution of the game over the last 5 years has been incredible. The smartest in the room are now disrupting the game. Football is starting to lose the dinosaurs, we’re starting to see meritocratic appointments that sit outside how great your career was. It’s so refreshing. Long may it continue!


Tags: ,