Goooood morning Grover-teers. Today it really does feel like winter is coming. No more home games in the sunshine. We have the Champions League Group stage creeping up on us and a winter scheduled packed full of big games. Exciting times if this team can gel.
We have German Champions Borousia Dortmund up tomorrow night at their place. There has been a bit of a resurrection for the ex-European Champions over the past few years, culminating in them winning back the Bundasliga last year in quite stunning fashion. Jurgen Kloop has proved that good coaching still exists, taking the trophy despite having a wage bill well under half of Bayern’s (£120m —-> £48m).
He’s basically tried to pull off a model not too dissimilar to the one Arsene Wenger has been trying to adopt. He’s bought in top youth talent but perhaps blended it with better experience. He’s one of the most passionate coaches in the league, so no slouching on his watch. The jewel in the Dortmund crown in Mario Gotze. He’s 6 months younger than Jack Wilshere and so far, he’s pretty much out performed him in all areas of his career (goals, caps, assists and trophies won). That doesn’t mean to say Jack wont catch up, it just goes to show that the boy is pure talent.
Tomorrow night is going to see a very tough challenge. They have players like Sven Bender, Marcel Schmelzer and the much linked centre back Neven Subotic. They also have Kagawa and Blaszczykowski keeping things exciting. They’re a technical powerhouse of a team… though on the upswing, they’re not in the best of form. That said, nor are we. Point neutralised!
Arsenal will have a much fuller team to choose from tomorrow night. We’ll have Mertesacker and Koscielny starting at the back, a partnership that looked fairly solid and complimentary against Swanseas, I’d imagine that Santos might get a run out if he’s fit enough, big question marks still hang over Gibbs and his positional sense. Sagna will play out right. In the middle, there are concerns over Ramsey. He’s packed in some severe minutes since the season started, so I’d imagine our midfield will contain Yossi, Arteta and Song. Leaving us hopefully with a 3 prong attack of Theo (If fit), Gervinho and Robin.
That should be more than enough to take on any side. Hopefully with all the top players back a bit of urgency can seep back into our game. Arsenal fans need to understand that although a win would be grand, a point will be no shame. We’re playing the Champions of Germany, we’re the 4th best team in the UK, this should be a 3 pointer for them, not the other way round.
Buying a drink at half time when you’re not picking one up for free in club level is an unbelievably painful experience. If you leave when the whistle blows, you’re looking at 15 minutes minimum. The staff can’t count and have a similar lack of urgency to the players.
A solution on offer in Germany and more recently implemented in Brighton is that of the touch pay system. Similar to the Oyster Card, you load up a prepaid beer card and instead of messing around with change at the till, you tap and move on. We have the technology built into our season tickets and we have the same tilling system Bayern Munich have. If the club want to keep people in their seats for longer, a good place to start would be improving the efficiency in the bar area. It takes 3 minutes max to get a drink at Brighton… there’s not reason we shouldn’t be matching that.
So it’s getting to that time of the year when we start decorating that open top bus for the release of our financials. Only this year we’re not going to be too celebratory. Any profit we make will be off the back of players sales again and I’m imagining quite a bleak picture is going to be painted.
Arsenal have more than likely slipped to the 5th most expensive wage bill in the Premiership this summer. That should technically mean that if we finish higher than 5th, we’ve out performed our wage bill. If we win the league, it’ll mean we’ve performed a miracle.
Sure we can shift out some of that expensive deadwood and make some efficiency savings. We’ll be able to take £12million off the wage bill and bring in at least £4million cash for Diaby, Almunia and Squillaci alone. However, that still doesn’t give you a clue about how to take on the big 4. Still, it’s possible. If Dortmund can do it in Germany, why can’t we? Surely being a great manager is about outperforming the given standards of football. If can reduce the size of our squad drastically, bring in a better quality of players and develop those players to the levels we did with Thierry and Patrick all those years ago, there’s not reason we can’t compete to a higher standard than we have been doing.
There will be talk of why Arteta had to take a pay cut. Clubs have to include wages into any transfer deal. The cost of Arteta over 4 years will be £24million. A big price to pay for a player who will be worth nothing at the end of that time period. Spurs pay Modric £12k a week less than Diaby. That’s why citing Spurs spending over the years as higher than ours is laughable. We spend £50mill more year than them on salaries straight off the bat. That’s a huge head start.
I’d imagine their will be some conversations about the Directors bonus schemes tonight. What will Gazidis be taking home this year in his pay packet? I’d also imagine there will be question over how United have stormed ahead even further on the commercial revenue side of things and we’re still lagging. There will also be question over the shocking summer we had and why we had to sell Cesc for a pittance.
Lots of big questions to be answered and I’ll be there, tweeting the answers, so make sure you follow me and get involved!
P.S. Le Grove have gone all arty and signed up for an Instagram account, you can find us… we’re called, LeGrove. Also a big well done to Lansbury, West Ham fans have been praising his hard work and solid impact for their first team in centre midfield.
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