Wenger on TV, what a joke | Strategic void at Arsenal

by & filed under News Review.


More little bits sneaking through from that interview Wenger did with French TV for an hour. Apparently, if Diaby proves his fitness, he’ll earn himself a new deal.

Un-f*cking-believable. I’d hope Ivan Gazidis would block any such aspiration. The man has played a whopping 22 games in 4 years. 100 starts across his 6 year deal. That’s £210,000 a game he’s taken home. £2,333 a minute played (if he’d played 90mins). The fact he’s allowed to prove the fitness over the course of 5 months is quite staggering.

By the end of this season, he’ll be 29 years old. Footballers hit their physical peak, averagely, at 29. Then it’s all down hill from there. The last thing this side needs is to invest in another 29 year old midfielder who won’t be worth anything in a years time. I don’t care if he plays every game until the end of the season, he’s not a worthwhile investment.

I’ve seen people compare his ability to that of Yaya Toure, which is staggering. Talk about revisionism. I mean, he’s looked good in, what, 10 or so games? That’s the other thing. We’re not resigning an experienced player, we’re resigning someone with the footballing mental age of a 22 year old. He has had no game time. He’s not learnt anything by not being available. That £65k+ a week would be far better spent on someone who has fitness in the game from the start.

It’s loyalty gone mad…

‘But what did you expect him to say?’

Nothing. I can’t be the only one who finds Wenger popping up on any media show that’ll take him a bit embarrassing? He was shit canned by Canal+ for whatever reason, then instead of just concentrating on his football career, he sought out a new job doing a Gary Neville on BeIN.

What top class manager takes on a punditry role midseason? You didn’t see Ferguson doing it back in the day. You don’t see Jose or Pep Guardiola doing it? Surely when you earn a salary like that and carry a reputation as big as Wenger, you don’t do the shows, you know, like Kate Moss doesn’t interview. Messing around playing beach ball, getting tongue twisted on French TV isn’t befitting. It’s all made that little bit worse when you know that Rome is burning. Colbert and Peyton have put metal in the staff room mircowave and everyone is in tears.

Shouldn’t he be back at home assessing the shit show that’s been the opening 3 months of the season?

  • Why are there so many injuries?
  • What’s wrong with our tactical set up?
  • Why are my scouts not returning any decent players?
  • Have I taken Shad for coffee recently, you know, see how he’s settling in?
  • Why is our keeper playing so badly?

There are so many thing that are more important right now than trying to establish a post football media career with a foreign TV channel.

It’s always about Arsene… and it’s getting worse.

Rambo has said critique of him is unfair…

“I’m not worried. I know my qualities. I’ve had a few injuries and I’m just getting back. To be honest, I’m still not 100 % physically. It does take a bit out of me. It will take me a few more games to be back to my best. I’m not worried. Certain criticism from people is unfair.”

He might be talking about Charlie Nicholas calling his football ‘Hollywood’. He’s right, it is. Ramsey can bundle up his bad form in fitness, but fitness doesn’t make you play like you’re a striker. It doesn’t force you to go for all the ridiculous long balls or hold on to it for too long. Aaron is playing like he was 2 seasons ago.

I’m sure he can bring his form back onto the top table where the exquisite players dine. He just needs some focus. Needs to get his head right. Needs to start scoring loads of goals and remembering what made him so incredible last season. Question I always have is ‘who is sitting with him to bring him back?’… do any of the coaching staff sit down with him and show him what’s going wrong? Is anyone putting an arm around him and helping him work his problems through?

Who knows…

I know that the further we walk into Wenger’s Arsenal career, the more apparent it becomes that the players he inherited were born leaders who took initiative that perhaps Arsene wasn’t capable of. Look at our old back 5… all of them leaders in their own right. All hard as nails. All completely dedicated to the team. All drilled in practices that worked. Look at what we have now? Ego, inexperience and generally a quite placid group of players. All top talents, but I don’t know, just not the sort of guys who will take the ball by the horns. I think Wenger engineers his sides to be built like that.

If that manager can’t offer you what you need, shouldn’t the players be taking control. Like they did in 1998 after the Blackburn game, where they held a meeting to bollock the players… then went on an outstanding run to win the league. Who is capable of that sort of leadership at Arsenal? I mean, the manager is so deluded these days he doesn’t even believe in captaincy. That’s a bit like saying you don’t believe in leadership.

We don’t have a lot of know how in our side. We don’t have a huge amount of character. Which is mostly down to the manager. You can’t help that the personality of the squad is built with control in mind.

Interesting that you have Steve Bould there, a player Ray Parlour called the most underrated player he’d ever played with, brimming with know how, yet he seems to have a bit of a redundant input into the set up?

I do wonder what Jose would do to this squad. As much as I hate him, you have to admire what he does at Chelsea. He comes in, he looks at what he needs, because he understand that regardless of how good your tactics / setup is, without great players you die. He then builds out exactly what he needs. He looks into the future and plans so far ahead you’d be staggered. Every move is strategic, every move is thought through and it’s all geared around winning.

When I started in marketing, social marketing was very much a wild west kinda operation, you could get a job because you were a two bob blogger and clients would just ask us to throw a competition or whack any old content out there for the consumer. This worked for a while, but the output didn’t really have any long term value and the approach was very hit and miss. Then we developed this crazy idea that if you used insights and mapped a strategic vision, things might be better… because you knew what a brand stood for and where it wanted to go and had the roadmap to get there.

This is Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal. He’s still operating in the Wild West of football. There’s no vision for where we want to go. There are no insights into why we’re stagnating. There are just a bunch of ill thought out tactical executions that don’t make any sense, but kind of do a job.

What is the long term plan for Diaby? Can you tell me? If you performed some basic analysis across his record, what would your conclusion say? It wouldn’t say ‘give him a new deal’ would it? Look at how we play, kind of like a mini Barca if you’re being generous. They play high intensity football. Power, pace with outrageous discipline. Would you say buying Ozil fit into that vision? Would you say a giant cumbersome striker with weak control fits the bill in that system? Would you think Flamini had the skill set to play Busquets role? Of course not, but those signings weren’t thought out. They were options offered. Our transfer strategy is all about pull. We wait and see what’s coming, rather then pursuing what’s right for us.

Chelsea got to January last year and they knew two things. Their was far too much dependence on the running of Ramires and that they lacked power in the middle of the park. Instead of waiting until Jan 31st, they identified an explayer called Matic who boasted giant physicality, pace over 10m and super hero like power. Ok, it didn’t result in them winning the title… but Jose wasn’t thinking about the now, he’s a planner. He knew this year was his year. Whether that should have been acceptable considering the embarrassment of riches he has last season is a different question.

That’s understanding the needs of your squad. Now he has perfection, he’s smashing it. Will it last the season? There aren’t many who’d bet against it, especially now he has most of his players on side. Jose is the master of squad rotation and the king of psychology. He’ll be making sure all his players get a taste of the action so they’re physically and mentally sharp when crunch time comes. He doesn’t have squad players complaining in November. He doesn’t have a starting line up that looks flat.

Our manager is beasting the same starting 11 over and over again because he’s scared he’ll lose more ground… WHICH IS COUNTER INTUITIVE IF YOU LOOK AT WHAT HAPPENS EVERYTIME WE DO THAT. Or look at the injury stack up we’ve suffered with.

My point here is being a good manager shouldn’t be so hard. He has all the resource in the world to make good at this club, but his priorities don’t seem to be on developing his offering. Wenger has a formula that worked in 1998 and he’s determined to prove he can bring back the SEGA Saturn… when everyone else is rocking Oculus Rift.

A Twitter pal asked if I’d heard a podcast the other day. He said it was good. ‘They almost called time on the manager’. I find it crazy that so many major an publications still uhhmmm and ahhh over Wenger. It’s apparent he’s dead. It’s not even an argument now. Yet so many still sit on their hands in case the great man rises from the ashes. He won’t. It’s over. If you’re doubting him now, it’s with good reason. Now it’s just a case of winding down that clock that has 2.5 years on it…

What a bore…

1700 words, that’s what happens when I don’t have a hangover.



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