Morning Grovers, I went out last night and drank the whole bar, so this will be short and fluffed with massive quotes.
First up. Arsene Wenger just showed his cards to Theo Walcott and the fans.
‘It is easier to take a player of 25 and put him in the team. You know what you are getting.
‘If you put them in at 17 or 18, you have to stand up for them. You risk losing games while they are learning their job. Once you have produced them you want to say, ‘Okay, let’s stay together and win together.’
‘Somewhere along the line they need to give back to the club what the club has given to them.
‘When a guy gets to 30, you can understand it is his last contract and if he feels he wants a change.
‘This is a more sensitive age, but basically, it is a reward for our policy.’
‘I am happy to pay Theo the money he deserves, but I feel as well that I bought him at 16 years of age and spent a lot of money on him.
‘I am a big supporter and I believe he is happy here. Theo has always looked to me like he is an Arsenal man.’
Oh dear. This is slightly awkward. Arsene Wenger admitting he takes risks with kids that cost us games… and now he wants those players he’s let serve apprenticeships under us to sign on because they owe us?
Arsene, Arsene, Arsene… this isn’t how football works. You can’t command loyalty by dishing out big contracts at the beginning if you can’t dish them out at the end. Theo Walcott doesn’t give a crap that you gave him 6 seasons of fatherly love at the expense of the club. All he cares about is himself. The above comment sums up how totally out of touch you are with the modern game.
Here’s an idea Arsene, why not start doing things with success in mind? If there is a 25 year old available, and that’s easier, why not bring him in? They’ll give you 6 seasons, 6 of their best seasons, and chances are they won’t lose you as many games. Hey, you never know, if the young kid you’ve got earmarked for great things is good enough, he might push past the 25 year old if he works hard? Isn’t that a interesting notion. Having to prove yourself rather than being plunged in at the deep end until you can swim… even if that takes 5 years.
That comment for me is a perfect summarisation of one of the biggest problems we have with Arsene. Winning isn’t a priority, it’s a hopeful byproduct of a flawed idea that he’s never managed to get working. We’re embarking on the rebranding of that project as we speak. As some of the Grovers coined it yesterday, this is British Project Youth. This one will get more time from the fans because those 4 of those boys will be in the England side. It’ll probably be about as successful as the last one though. We need change at the club, not flash marketing ploys that involve Arsenal not investing for another 7 years.
Anyway, back onto the big talking point from yesterday… we drew Bayern Munich. Last years finalists. Leaders in the Bundasliga. A team loaded with quality and form. Failing to top the group has once again come back to bite us on the back side. Bayern are going to be very, very tough. They feel more beatable than Barcelona for some reason, but the simple fact of the matter is we’ve probably drawn the one of the toughest teams in the competition.
Still, you have to be capable of beating the best if you’re going to win this trophy. If we do beat them, things could get interesting. some big teams are going out early.
Galatasaray vs Schalke 04
Celtic vs Juventus
Arsenal vs Bayern Munich
Shakhtar Donetsk vs Borussia Dortmund
AC Milan vs Barcelona
Real Madrid vs Man Utd
Valencia vs PSG
FC Porto vs Malaga
Anyway, I’ll leave you to chew over our chances! See you in the comments.