I had to book a same day flight back to London last week, the only choice was business class. I flew out to New York’s this morning hoping to take advantage of the opulence. Books ready. Films ready. Drinking boots ON.
Then I fell asleep for the full duration. What a waste of time. I feel like I let myself down, and the guy next to me who took care of a bottle and a half of red on his own. He’s the true hero.
Anyway, let’s talk about football today, as the dust settles on a window as pleasantly memorable as a first time shart in public.
Firstly, let’s talk about the insantiy of Arsenal.com hosting the story where Wenger said ‘my phone is red hot’, for the fans to find out a few hours later he was commentating in Paris during the death of the window. Unreal banter from a manager who does not give a rats arse about fan perception.
Anyway, he has to address a few very difficult challenges he face, so I’m going to talk through a few of them.
Players don’t want to join Arsenal:
Arsene Wenger said the interest in M’Bappe was real, but the asking price was ‘too much.’ He also said the interest in Lemar was real, and we’ll be back in for him.
WAKE UP ARSENE. Thomas Lemar didn’t join us because he didn’t want to join a train wreck of a club. M’Bappe was NEVER going to come to us. Arsenal couldn’t secure Chamberlain to the project, even with £180k a week, yet Wenger is out there telling the fans two of the finest talents in the world wanted in? Please.
All about net spend:
Arsenal fans need to stop fixating on the net spend. The fact we landed with the second lowed next spend was a happy accident, not a financial strategy this summer. How do I know this? Firstly, we were trying to sign players wildly out of our league. Secondly, if there’s a directive from above to build cash piles, you DON’T let your two richest assets leave the club for free. You sell them to anyone who will take them.
The fans have got to stop trying to post rationalise bad summers. Wenger had no plan this summer. We didn’t really strengthen. We didn’t make that much of a dent in the deadwood. We didn’t sign our contract rebels to new deals.
There was no thinking behind how we ended up +£27m. It was a happy accident, which would have been far happier if that was the plan.
The manager is notoriously weak when it comes to pretty much all his players. He’s the sugar daddy who can’t stop dishing out money, and can’t stop being so damn pleasant to his children. He doesn’t like confrontation and he’s not having a good time with Alexis. The skillful Chilean has taken to leaking stories about how upset he is about Arsenal botching his dream move to Manchester City, some reports saying, ‘he’ll never forget the role Arsenal played in this transfer.’
Arsene Wenger needs to take on some Napoleonic like thinking to deal with this insubordinate promptly. Jose Mourinho would have a plan, and it’d be aggressive and mean. He famously caught Didier Drogba in Milan talking summer moves when he was supposed to be at a dental appointment, he called him and said ‘did you mother raise you to be like this?’, the player was benched and punished. Came back and banged in all the goals and CFC won a load of medals.
Wenger needs understand what is precious to his star man, and squeeze really hard. Chile might not make the World Cup, but even if they don’t, the Chilean LOVES to play. Wenger hasn’t been able to say no to him his whole career at AFC. The manager should bench Alexis for a month. Take him to every game. Don’t give him any minutes. Make him feel the threat of zero game time. Convince him that maybe he won’t be on form for the World Cup. That’s how you get into his head.
Arsenal have to take back to power in a situation we have no power in. We cannot allow a selfish attitude to derail our season anymore than it already has. We need to protect the rest of the squad. Showing him who the leader is would be a good start.
Mesut Ozil is certainly going to the World Cup, he’s also another love child of Wenger. Undroppable, even the players leaked curious question to the media to that effect. But he’s not playing well and he’s only putting in a shift when he fancies. He’s a quarterback. He’s an elite quarterback. However, Arsenal are not good enough to be a man down out of possession. Mesut either pulls his weight, or we put someone on the pitch who we know will.
Notable again to all the Oziltologists out there ejaculating the BIG numbers he drops… that no one bid for Mesut. Not one. No one chased down one of the most prolific creators of chances in Europe. All that money swilling around. All the stupidity. Yet no one dropped a cheeky £40m bid for a player entering the last year of his contract on pretty low wages. NO ONE.
What does that tell you? It tells you maybe the ‘if you don’t get him’ crowd spend too much time looking at spreadsheets.
As for Mesut’s PR penned FB post celebrating 4 pretty average years at Arsenal. It was all about this block of copy.
‘Personally I’ve had to accept a lot of criticism during my time in London. ‘Too expensive, too greedy, bad body language, and lacking fight’ – this is what people have said about me. Some of these comments are made by those who do not know me, some are made by former players – both successful and unsuccessful during their time here at the club. Although criticism is something that all football players have to deal with, I nevertheless expected legends to behave like legends – my advice to these former Gunners: stop talking and start supporting!’
Poor little Mesut. As for all the fans defending him, remember this line.
‘Even though I personally do not know how my career will continue after this year, I look forward to my fifth season with Arsenal.’
He’s quitting next year on a free. If you thought you’d seen 2nd gear Ozil last season, wait until you see how he’ll play past February this year.
But look, I spoke to occasional poster Alex yesterday about this. It’s very difficult to truly assess a player’s quality at Arsenal because at the core if it, they’re not coached. Ozil in a real system, where he has responsibility, accountability and he’s being properly motivated… well, he’s a World Cup winner, or the guy who sprinted 60 yards to make a tackle for Germany the other night. Under rudderless leadership, he’s shrinking violet.
Aaron Ramsey is clearly riled by the club, his social media rant was pretty out of step. As Matt pointed out on the podcast, the love in from the players spoke volumes about the disdain for the manager, and the selfishness of some of the players. It showed there is a mutiny. Aaron is the most straight-laced pro at the club, the most scandalous thing he’s done in the last ten years is hang out with a penguin. If he’s speaking out about the loss of Snapchat hero Chambo, you know others are also seething. He has two years on his deal, he’s unlikely to re-sign. So we basically have another uncommitted starter in our squad. Also worth noting he dropped a very good performance last night for Wales.
Talking of uncommitted starts of next year.
Remember, Chelsea sold Matic to United to avoid him heading into the final year of his deal next summer. Utterly criminal how poor our renewals process is. How many more stars are we going to let run down their deals? What’s even more amazing is Wenger is trying to rejig the trend at Arsenal to be a world-wide warning, despite transfer fees hitting record levels this summer.
Finally, what are Arsenal going to do with their starting 11?
Here’s a few things we’ll have to consider.
Moving to a flat back 4. Three at the back doesn’t work for us, we don’t have enough talent or know how, so revert back to what kind of works. Bellerin and Kolasinac, with Mertesacker and Koscielny in the middle?
The midfield needs to protect the back 4, and needs to have legs to deal with Xhaka and his complete lack of physical capabilities. Are we in a dangerzone so red we need to flank him with Elneney and Coquelin?
How does the front three work? Lacazette being fed by Ozil on the right, and Alexis or Danny Welbz on the left? Could we play Giroud and Lacazette as two and have Aaron Ramsey as an industrious number ten? I mean, be real here, that’s where he ends up playing whether he’s ask too or not. Do we give Reiss Nelson the game time Sancho is likely to land at Dortmund this year?
Or, does Wenger just ignore the issues his unbalanced squad has and simply play the best names and hope it comes good?
What a complete mess.
Let me know your formation and selection ideas below.