Wenger sours Lincoln win with crazy post match interview

by & filed under News Review.

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A solid Saturday really. No drama in a game that really shouldn’t have ever caused any. It was a pretty dry first half, Lincoln making us wait a full 45minutes to score. Theo Walcott well and truly on hand in the BIG games with a lovely deflected finish.

The second half was all about fitness and quality. There’s no situation you’d fancy Lincoln beating Arsenal, but away from home, on that mega pitch, it was only a matter of time before we stepped into destruction mode.

We eventually belted 4 more past the non-leaguers. They put up a good fight, but it wasn’t good enough. We never really stepped out of 1st gear. Alexis Sanchez, that horrible little scuz bucket somehow managed to contribute with some assists and goals. I mean, my big concern at the end of that game was whether he’d run 10km. What’s the point in contributing to the team if you don’t have evidence you’ve run 10km?

The game was so easy in the end, even Aaron Ramsey managed to score, albeit from a range of one yard where he literally couldn’t miss.

The magic of the FA Cup was there because that’s a lovely pay day for Lincoln. It wasn’t there in terms of an upset. The next round is the semi-final, we’re going to Wembley, a trophy is still within reach!

Things to talk about:

The Protest

So amusing to watch Twitter going into meltdown about the guy who had a ‘Vik Akers Out’ sign. It’s like a zero banter zone out there. I even saw a few British journalists play the offended card. Guys and girls, lighten up, it’s football and he’s the kit man. No one died. It was clearly a joke.

The protests caused a lot of online noise again. A lot of snarking from people who don’t like it. I can understand, you go to football on a Saturday to support your team. It can feel quite unnatural to go against the manager. However, we live in a strange world at Arsenal where we have a dictator who is deciding his own destiny against the backdrop of another abject season. Worst thing is journalists who have been close to the club for many years – Amy Lawrence of The Guardian – reckon Wenger is going to sign on again. He’s talking about feeling energised about the future and he knows by the time the season slumps to an end, we’ll all be too bored to kick up a fuss.

It’s really poor form from Ivan Gazidis and co. To even suggest this is a mutual decision is beyond embarrassing. I’ve heard news slinking out of the club from people who have access to various big names saying that not only does Wenger believe he built this club, but Ivan and co like the fact Arsene keeps things steady. The fear being that a new man might come in and shake things up, demand more of the club outweighs steady stagnation and a few grumbling fans.

We’re in a situation potentially where everyone just wants an easy life. Which is really depressing when you remember we’re not a FTSE 250 accountancy firm, we’re a sports club. What a way to live your life. Billionaire owner tied to steady growth figures over trophies, a manager so wrapped up in his own ego and mortality, he can’t quit and a CEO who doesn’t seem to mind what goes on at Arsenal as long as he’s coining in £2.6m a year.

Depressing. I mean, not as depressing as the worry I have that Arsene Wenger is full on losing his mind. He beats Lincoln 5-0 and all he wants to talk about is the Bayern game.

“I think the team was unjustifiably criticised for our last game against Bayern Munich because we had an outstanding game,”

 “Our game was killed not by the fault of the players. But we have to take a distance with that and have a look at a bigger perspective than people want to do.

“And overall, to respond today, that’s what we did. I think we had an outstanding game against Bayern Munich. Our game was killed by the referee. I’ve watched this game three times now, and it’s still the referee who killed our game.”

You’re like, well, at least if he watched the game, he’ll have seen the lack of effort by the players and maybe make some tough love decisions in the summer… errrr…

“I would like to watch the game with you and you would see that the players didn’t let me down, nor themselves, nor the club.

Then when you’re thinking, well, maybe he’ll have something coherent to say about his future.

“Let’s not talk about me too much because that has happened a lot recently. I have shown in my life that I try to serve this club with complete commitment and I will do that as long as I am here,” he said.

“How long? I don’t know at the moment. I have shown a lot of loyalty and my preference is here. I focus on my job. I always do that. I let other people judge my performances.

“People talk and talk and talk, it doesn’t mean they talk truth. We have to deal with that and perform on the football pitch. We let people talk and show them what we are about.

“When I have a problem I try to just sort it out. I am competitive and always focused on solving the problems I face. Sometimes the size of the problem is bigger, but there are always problems.”

A whole series of nothing comments. When he speaks of loyalty, he’s telling you he built the club. When he says people talk, he’s furious that people who comment on the game but don’t manage in it dare to have an opinion on his abilities. When he says he’s competitive, he’s saying that he’ll hit top 4 again and that’ll be that.

Disdain for the fans. Disdain for criticism. Disdain for the idea he can’t reframe what winning is in the modern era.

Just a selfish old man who can’t accept it’s over for him. A now unsuccessful manager clinging onto power in the socialist ecosytem he’s built and runs with an iron fist. A man who doesn’t realise it’s over for him at the highest level.

Depressing that we’re about to give £10m a year to a manager who:

#1 Couldn’t explain succinctly how he was going to take Arsenal to the next level, or explain what that meant

#2 Thinks his team had a great game against Bayern Munich. A side that inflicted the worst defeat on a British club in the CL ever. A game Neuer joked was like a training exercise.

# Thinks the players had a great game and didn’t let him down

When you think like that, how can anyone believe Arsenal will improve under him again? As immature as it sounds, those quotes are loser talk. The players will read them and laugh. Any prospective employer would laugh. Stan and Ivan should be rescinding the contract off the back of those comments.

They won’t though.

Welcome to stasis. Welcome to stagnation. Welcome to another 2 years of the nutty professor.



Damning AFC Press Release: Not even a vote of confidence?

by & filed under News Review.

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WHAT IN TARNATION. Just wanted to say that because it’s Thursday and I’m attuned to internet culture.

We have an ACTION PACKED episode for you today because many interesting things are happening. The biggest news to drop since Eboue rocked a tiger suit at the Arsenal Christmas party has landed.

THE BOARD HAS SPOKEN.

Sir Chips, a man who rocks disdain for the fans with sober venom (god bless yah PHW), actually drafted a statement inbetween goading poor people at food banks.

“We are fully aware of the attention currently focused on the club and understand the debate. We respect that fans are entitled to their different individual opinions but we will always run this great football club with its best long-term interests at heart.

“Arsène has a contract until the end of the season. Any decisions will be made by us mutually and communicated at the right time in the right way.”

So a few things to note of importance here. Sir Chips isn’t really part of the board, so don’t get too excited. He has about as influencer on Arsenal as you do on the geopolitical happenings in Yemen at the moment. He’s an artifact, buzzing around in the background, maybe at the very most tasked with finding a new supplier for dustbin lids. He’s there to ensure power is maintained by Stan and he’s merely a figurehead to give the impression of the continuity of ‘tradition.’

That said, as ex potilical PR man Alex (that other guy that occasionally blogs) informed me, the first rule of having a problem in PR is to NEVER admit there is a problem. You’re already losing if you go there. As we’re seeing in America at the moment, the idea of a problem or an apology is the biggest no of them all.

It’s still snarky. Taking a snobbish attitude about the long-term view of the club when they all sold out their shares to Stan K when there was absolutely no need to outside personal enrichment, feels a little bit hypocritical. Putting that to one side, if they think the long-term health of the club is in good hands when we’re taking 10-2 wallopings in the Champions League they’re kidding themselves. If they’re talking business, be real here, our commercial revenue has only climbed recently because of TV money, we’re

Putting that to one side, if they think the long-term health of the club is in good hands when we’re taking 10-2 wallopings in the Champions League they’re kidding themselves. If they’re talking business, be real here, our commercial revenue has only climbed recently because of TV money, we’re 7th in Europe with one of the richest stadium gate receipts going (important to note as Chelsea, Atletico and Spurs build new grounds that will elevate their wealth). United out gun us by £150m a season. Why is that? Because they know that a winning team brings in winning sponsorship deals. That is what good business looks like people. Don’t buy into the nonsense that Wenger is good for business, because clearly, he’s not unless you like losing ground to your rivals.

Anyway, back to the point. The ‘mutual decision’ is the hierarchy’s way of telling us it’s still not decided. I can’t help but think the way the protest was disseminated around the globe has added to the panic. The fans in full revolt, hopefully they’ll land even bigger numbers this weekend. The decision is on the table fans, do you want to waste another 2 years of your life on a rich old man and his outrageously arrogant view that he owns your club?

Get out and do your bit if you can…

Slightly less positive news if you take a read over at L’Equipe, they have an insider leaking stories of Wenger’s ‘great sadness’ at potentially leaving Arsenal at some point. This is slightly damning of Sir Chips statement, it states that the contract is on the table, the club want him to sign, but he’s aware of unrest so is holding fire. That approach might sound noble, but it has the impact of giving the club not time to react should he leave. That’s why Ivan should grow a pair and call time on the offer ASAP. Wenger’s feelings should not be considered. It’s negligence to put him before the health of the club.

The results are not as expected, the supporters are angry but Arsene is impervious to outside pressure and has the support of the board. His sadness will be immense, the day he leaves Arsenal. It is he who will decide his future. His contract renewal is ready. He only has to sign it. He is aware of some errors, especially in recruitment.”

‘Some’ errors? Please. There’s a raft of problems Wenger has been pontificating on for years, this is more than a few errors, this is a systemic failure of a dated philosophy. Wenger can’t fix it. Well, unless you want to talk to failed Valencia manager Gary Neville.

“In a time when managers get sacked every five minutes, when you think of the Claudio Ranieri sacking this season, I’d love Arsenal to stand by him and somehow prove everyone wrong in the next few seasons.”

This is why there’s so little trust in mainstream media sources. It’s a self-congratulatory old boys club. Really embarrassing. His job is to be honest to the fans, not hide behind a code of conduct that says ‘I won’t ask for a manager to be fired, but I will destroy his credibility week after week on TV.’

That said, Wenger makes a wonderful point in reframing the issues Arsenal have had in the CL.

“In the last nine years only once have we been the worst performing English club in the Champions League.”

Imagine passing yourself off as an intellect and having the nerve to drop an argument that again tries to devalue ‘winning’ to a competition of who is the worst? What must our players with a winning mentality think to that kind of carry on?

Sky Sports jumped into bed with John Cross in trying to take down the clubs best players. The one who scores most of the goals. The one that carries us with his energy and passion. The one that’s made 12 assists. This time, they tried to dive into the sprint stats that damn Alexis.

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Ok, so on the face of it, it looks shocking, right? There has been a dip in performance since Christmas. But where is the context here? His distance per 90minutes has dropped by 6%. His sprints per game have dropped by a slightly more significant 8%. Are we factoring in fatigue? This is a player who basically hasn’t been given a break in 2 years. He played all the games in the build up to December, was flown out to Chile for two games and brought back in bad shape. Then we obviously had the massive pile up during that period in which he wasn’t rested.

Is it not to be expected that there’d be a drop in physical output? How does he compare against other players in the team? How does his dip compare to other players in the league?

A more interesting stat was that he’d lost the ball more than any player on the team… about 100 times. He’s greedy, but again, when you don’t trust your team mates, or your manager, it’s to be expected. It’s tough to critique him too much though… he’s scored the most goals and he’s made the most assists and I’m pretty sure he’s created more chances than anyone at the club by an absolute margin. If there’s someone we shouldn’t be picking on, it’s him.

As with most football analysis, it’s pretty poor and it’s spun with an angle to provoke you to write a blog about it. Whatever.

In other news, worth paying attention to the fact Arsenal haven’t spoken to Chamberlain about a new deal. I can’t help but think he’s shown very positive signs in the middle. Great range of passing, drive, power, pace… and only 23. We could be about to make a bigger mistake than ignoring Gnabry until after the Olympics.

Finally, let’s finish on some banter. Firstly, the story of Wenger and the wolves. Secondly, this tweet about Spurs spiralling stadium costs. LOVING THE BREXIT.

 

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