Gut feel management is dead, that’s why we’re suffering | More thoughts on Swansea

by & filed under News Review.

Morning Grovers, let’s crack straight in to today’s post, no light hearted quips about the weather.

A few points raised about the game at the weekend.

We’re heading into a new era of football. There are a number of reasons Wenger can’t cope at the moment, the biggest issue I fear is his age. That, combined with  his reluctance to embrace the future and the realities of football in 2012.

When he took over at Arsenal, he was the man who raised the bar in the Premier League. He understood the importance of fitness and technical ability. He changed the regime at Arsenal, he stopped alcoholics drinking, he gave the best players more money and he supplemented winners with more winners. The result? A strong team of experienced leaders that had the magical flair of a continental side.

What was Ferguson’s response? Change. He brought in Carlos Queiroz. What happened to Arsenal over the next few years? Nothing. Ferguson dominated. Arsene had two more great league wins after 1998, still with the core of experienced heads. Every time, they were marked with a change by Alex Ferguson. Every time Arsenal won the Premiership, there was a response. An acceptance change had to occur, be that backroom staff or players.

Now we’re in the post Mourinho era. There are no experienced winners in the side. The legacy of any winning team has disappeared because Wenger sold them all off. He didn’t keep anything in the changing room for a rainy day. He hasn’t changed his backroom team. There’s very little know how in the side we have at the moment. When I say ‘know how’, I mean people who have been here through the good times and the bad. People who lead in the dressing room. People who manage themselves.

So are the players the only reason we’re struggling? No. The other reason we’re not what we used to be and the other less spoken about reason the Premier League seems to be of a lower standard is because of the teams below. Back when Arsene rocked onto the scene, lower league teams couldn’t match the big teams for fitness. You would turn out against players who’d been on the p*ss the night before. If you didn’t destroy them with quality, you’d certainly destroy them with fitness.

There’s a new type of manager coming through. Managers like Michael Laudrup, Paul Lambert, Chris Hughton, Brendan Rodgers who all understand the game. They all understand the benefits of technology and they all run incredibly tight ships at their clubs. Rodgers and Lambert are at new clubs, but make no mistake about it, they both have great reputations in the game and Rodgers especially will get it right at Liverpool. That was his team we played at the weekend. They passed better than us, they fought harder than us and they thought harder than us.

All those teams are now as fit as Arsenal. There’s no advantage on that front. So there is where the problem lies. We don’t always have the quality to take out these sides, because the people managing them can make up for the  lack of quality with a tactical master plan. Arsenal were out smarted by a team with a £17million wage bill this weekend. The same happened at Villa and the same happened at Norwich. Teams know how to screw us. Man mark our three person midfield and force Mertesacker to do the passing. Then press our full backs, look what happened to Jenkinson. It kills out width and it kills out movement in the centre of the park. Is Arsene working on a plan to stop this killing our flow? Very doubtful. Is he asking his backroom team to address the issue? Again, doubtful.

I keept a close eye on the Presidential election. Social media marketing is my thing. Now, one of the biggest focuses for my area of business over the next year is big data. Every tweet you send, every status update you make, every comment you contribute to a blog could be insight around a brand or a passion point and it could be harvested into an insight. The brands who use that data most effectively over the next few years are going to give themselves a huge advantage over everyone else. In the months building up to the last election, President Obama recognised the need to collect all this data and make sense of it. He created a super database that mashed up online and offline data to help them accurately model where he needed to apportion budget. He won the election at a canter. The long and short of this is gut feeling is dead in marketing. Not totally, but we’re moving to a new age where creativity and decisions will all be underpinned by hard data.

Football is moving this way. Young managers get this. The days of having a feeling about how tired a player have been replaced by scientific certainty. Every single statistic about a team is logged, analysed and turned into something that can be used as an insight. But is it at Arsenal? I don’t believe so. We’re still living off the days of gut feel. Well, here’s a bit of gut feel for you. How many games has a 32 year old Arteta played so far this season? Nearly all of them to the tune of 90 minutes. How long is he going to last until he has a breakdown? Even if he stays fit, what about his mental fatigue? Wenger is still working off gut feel and that’s why he’s being outsmarted so reguarly.

Who at the club is going to challenge him on this? He’s a dictator. The club know this, which is why they should be using this down period to assess what’s going on. The players know how we operate isn’t right because they have friends who they talk to. That’s why all our stars leave. We don’t refresh our backroom staff. If Wenger had it his way, I’ve no doubt Pat Rice would have been tied down to a forever contract like Diaby. Wenger doesn’t want to be challenged, you can see that by his comments about his 1,600 games. Sure, you used to know the way to win, but things never stand still. Technology moves on, training regimes improve and the game evolves. Ferguson delegates tasks at United, he knows he doesn’t have all the answers so he trusts his experts. That’s why he’s survived. Arsene Wenger doesn’t delegate, he’s still manning the whistle at training.

Another example of something I’m sure we don’t do. AVB was the away scout at Chelsea under Mourinho, that would involve him going out to all of the teams they were about to play, analysing how they play and feeding this information back into the manager. He’d then help put a DVD together which would be given to the players. Who is our away day man? I’m pretty sure it’s Stuart Houston. Yeah, the caretaker manager from the George Graham days. No offense to the man, but what is he going to know about the modern game? What insight is he going to bring to the table? How many Stuart Houston DVD’s have been given to the players this season?

Then there’s the scouting network. What the hell has happened there over the past few years? Is it the case that once again we’ve been caught up? No. It’s the case that we’ve been beaten again. Look at the players we’ve brought in over the past few seasons. Hardly any of them are true rough diamond gems. Why are we missing out on so many good unknown players these days? Why are other teams with less resource doing to much better on that front. What did Michu cost Swansea? Why weren’t we in for Rangel this summer for £3million. He looked like a very  Arsenal like player. What about Cabaye, Tiote, Ba and Cisse?  Or the players at Everton like Mirallas, Oviedo and Fellaini. We’re being out played at our own game… and rough diamonds is most certainly our MO.

I’m not saying we should be landing them all, but we’re missing out on a serious amount of good players who would vastly improve our offering for a very low price. The problem with this type of management is that even if we do climb into third, we’re not addressing the issues at the club. Each year that passes contributes another £20million to the ‘what we’d have to spend to get back to the top’ pot. Theo leaving will be a hammer blow to our squad, not because he’s the greatest player on the planet, no, it’s because he’s one of the few players we have who can take the ball round players. We’re static and pedestrian at the moment. We don’t have the flair we should have in the squad.

This is why I’d opt for the young manager option. My first choice would be Guardiola, my second would be Jurgen Kloop. Pep would relish the job at Arsenal. Why people say he wouldn’t is a total mystery to me. He’d be on £7.5m a year. That doesn’t really matter though, Pep isn’t about money, he’s about the project.

Let’s look at what makes Arsenal appealing

  • Money: Some of the biggest deals in football are about to drop, plus he has £70m banked
  • Training facilities: We have some of the best in the world. Don’t doubt the pulling power of this factor
  • Stadium: Incredible stadium
  • Legacy: Arsenal are a big club. The 4th biggest in the world. We have a deep and rich history
  • Baseline: Take over from Ferguson and you’re taking over from a ‘now’ winner. Perhaps the greatest. Who’d go to Chelsea? City might be interesting but you’re on a time limit. At Arsenal you’re starting from a pretty low baseline. The only way is up. Nothing modern is being trialled.
  • Control: We have a history of giving autonomy to our managers. This is another huge pulling factor
  • Time: We’re about the long term with our managers. You know there won’t be any knee jerk reactions. He’ll be given time to impose himself on the brand.

All those above factors will ensure we get a manager of excellent pedigree. But you know what, I wouldn’t mind us picking up a manager who just had an excellent vision and a CV which showed they could do it, even at a small club.

This is the thing, do you want to sit and watch 5 more years of what we’ve been served up over the last 8? Or would you prefer to watch someone who had a passion for trying something new? I know what I want to see at the club. It’s a new project, it’s a new vision and that’s only going to happen with a young manager…

Let me know your thoughts in the comments…

527 Responses to “Gut feel management is dead, that’s why we’re suffering | More thoughts on Swansea”

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  1. TOLI83


    Young, from the championship, over priced, won’t see the best of him for another four years .

    Yep we’ll prob sign him… To rub it in we will also play him out of position when we get him …

  2. kwik fit

    Arsenal team from 1998 to 2004 was arguably the best collection of players any club has ever assembled. Player for player they would have match Barcelona today. 3 League titles and a few cups is all the have to show. Why?
    Answer: Arsene Wenger!

  3. Radio Raheem

    KeyserDecember 3, 2012 19:03:14

    Radio Raheem – I’m sorry we’ve ended our last two debates like this, maybe I am being more antagnoistic and not understanding enough.Like we’ve discussed I just don’t think Michu is enough of a step up, if we hadn’t bought Giroud or Podolski, but we’ve already got enough players from those ‘Average’ teams trying to make their way that’s all. If he had something that seperated him from the players we have then maybe.

    He is a goal scoring (central) midfielder. We don’t have that we haven’t had that since Cesc. Does that differentiate him enough? I think so, he’d bring a different dimension to our play. Sometimes football can be a simple game we need to score goals to win matches and Michu has the pedigree of scoring goals. However, I’d prefer his assimilation into the squad to be overseen by a different manager.

    I see no reason why a player like Michu cannot play with these ‘exceptional’ players you speak of. How many exceptional players would we have in the squad? 2, 3, 4? However many they are they’ll need to play with others. Which ever way you look at it there is value in having a player LIKE Michu.

  4. Radio Raheem

    “The players give 100 per cent in training and on a Saturday afternoon. I didn’t say the players didn’t want it enough. I’m definitely surprised by our position in the league. When you look at the quality of our players we should be fighting for the league.

    “We have one of the best teams in the league, but it’s our responsibility to put things right. What’s gone wrong? That’s not for me to say.”


    Not sure about fighting for the league but we certainly shouldn’t be 10th.

  5. Gunner2301


    He’s obviously thinking about the CL Money and we haven’t earned enough yet. If you asked him in the quarters or semis he would have given a different response as we would have gone as far as he is expecting. Cunt!

  6. Gunner2301


    He’s talking bollocks 4th place trophy that he keeps going on about year in year out isn’t fighting for the league. The mans deluded and full of shit.

  7. gooner87

    Arshavin was our first established world class signing since Bergkamp.

    What did Wenger do?

    Drop him in favour of Diaby for an FA cup semi v Chelsea and turn him into a pub footballer

  8. Gunner2301


    Wenger doesn’t seem to be able to motivate players who are struggling for motivation. If a player is driven and dedicated to his craft ala Bergkamp then they seem to thrive. Arshavin and you could say Chamakh and Bendtner before him need someone who can motivate them, can you imagine them turning out the same under SAF? Neither can I.

  9. kapslock

    Wenger doesn’t understand the meaning of a squad. Our first XI is a match for anyone. Our squad is pathetic. Fergie gets the formula right and our wage bill is only 11% short of theirs. As much as I hate that red nose cunt Wenger isn’t fit to drink from the same whiskey as him

  10. Jay

    Absolute fantastic. Brilliant post as always! Moyes would jump at the chance to take over arsenal and would take the likes of baines, fellaini and potentially mirallas with him. Amazing players! Speaking of the younger generation, i believe kris olsson, gnabry and eisfelt are the ones with most potential to make the step

  11. Dada_83

    It’s starting to become clearer and clearer that the lack of footballing leadership at Board level is causing us to decline at a frightening rate now. Since the Board decided to get rid of David Dein in 2007, instead of replacing him with someone with his best qualities, to lead the club and support Wenger on the footballing side they instead decided to hand some of Dein’s responsibilities to Wenger instead that included:

    – Negotiating player contracts: Why on earth is our Manager dealing with that? surely his sole focus should be preparing the team for football matches?

    – Transfer budget handling: Again, shouldn’t the Manager’s only concern be about giving his player wish list to someone else to deal with. It then should be that “someone else’s” problem to get players at the top of the wish list through the door at London Colney – not for the Manager to worry about the cost and negotiations.

    The Board handing those “added” responsibilities to Wenger has had the following impacts:

    – Overpaid players that didn’t deserve the money at the time but were paid high wages because Wenger thought they would be worth it when they “developed” to the level predicted. However, this backfired because they didn’t develop and the club are still burdened with them we as we still struggle to move them on. Also, paying a young player a lot of money doesn’t really give you enough room to bumper that deal when they come to renew.

    – Because of the overpaid players that the club is burdened with, we’re then unable to compensate the players that do deserve more money because of mismanagement of the budget.

    Pedro has covered the subject of our wage bill quite a few times and even gets slated on twitter that having a wage bill higher than the opposing team doesn’t mean that you’re going to beat them (true) but the fact is our wage bill hasn’t been utilised properly because it’s been handed to the wrong person to manage it – due to negligence from the Board. The most worrying thing about this is that Gazidis mentions during the announcement of our new Emirates sponsorship deal that they still trust Wenger to handle that budget – Really?!

    Wenger’s wage/transfer policy has been an epic fail. But is he to fully blame? No. It was the Board’s negligence of giving Wenger that much power in the first place which lead to the mother of all impacts; the quality of our current squad depth is not good enough and we’ve lost most of our best players because we did not compensate them. Does this trend continue? of course it does. Theo Walcott hasn’t signed a new contract but Ox and Jenko are getting pay rises after only being signed LAST YEAR and not proving a consistent level of performances that merit those new contracts. But Walcott, our top scorer and one of our best players this season is not compensated for that – so the trend continues and I’ll be absolutely shocked if he signs on. Who was the last high profile player that we got to renew their contract whilst they were being tracked by another team or had a year left? Correct me if I’m wrong but wasn’t it Mr Theirry Henry in 2006? who said himself that the reason he renewed was because the 2 gentlemen sitting either side of him; Wenger and Dein. Fast forward 1 season, Dein is sacked and Henry is worried about the direction of the club so he leaves.

    I’m not saying that Dein and only Dein is some sort of savour, in fact, I don’t care who it is but a club as huge as Arsenal who very shortly will have lots of money to spend need someone (outside of the Manager) to provide footballing leadership, ambition, knowledge of the transfer market, knowing how to close deals and to support the Manager and sometimes provide the manager alternatives if not it becomes one dimensional. When Wenger wanted Overmars, Henry, Pires, Kanu, Ljunberg, Campbell and Wiltord, David Dein delivered them and we had a strong squad to last the season. Without someone with that ‘know-how’ and ambition we can’t tie up deals and go the extra mile(£) for the players that we want, examples: Benzema => didn’t know he was for sale, Pepe Reina => too expensive, Hazard => Gervinho, Gary Cahill => Mertesacker, Mario Gotze => Benayoun and the list goes on.

    I’m guessing everyones read the rumours about Zaha maybe in the summer – Why?! for £10m, £15m, £20m whatever it is, No! An example of that “someone else” providing the footballing leadership he would also say no! he would say something along the lines of: “No Arsene, we already went down that route with Walcott and Chamberlain paying premium for Championship quality, now we need World Class Quality! Why spend up to £15-20m on Zaha when Neymar only has one year left on his contract? We have the money, I will sanction the deal and anyway he’s young, world class and will have sell-on value. Who can make us strongest? Zaha or Neymar?”. Thats the footballing leadership I’m talking about! Ok I may be in dreamland when I say Neymar but thats the class of player that we should be going for and another voice providing an alternative.

    Unfortunately, until this type of footballing leadership is re-attached at board level to support the Manager then we’ll continue to decline – Even if Wenger leaves and and we bring someone else in because none of the modern football clubs give transfer budget/contract negotiation responsibilities to managers like Guardiola, Mourinho and Mancini. They have someone else well qualified to del with that. The Board need to acknowledge this and do something about this issue now if our club is to be great again.

  12. Padraig O H-Ealaithe

    Excellent article that highlights most of the weak spots in the armoury of Arsenal FC presently. May I add another dimension that being our crazy wage structure.

    It is a fact that Arsenal have the fourth largest wage bill in the premier league so it is a fallacy that the club are “miserly” in what they are prepared to outlay on wages. Indeed the following will illustrate clearly that Arsenal management have at best been negligent or at worst reckless in managing the aforementioned wage structure.

    At some stage a decision was made that Arsenal will pay higher wages for potential and limit the upper end of individual pay. Take Aaron Ramsey for example. Manchester United were in for him but only offered a wage that they believed his age and experience merited at that time. Arsenal on the other hand offered him a much higher salary based on a measurement of his potential as well as age and experience. The net result he signed for Arsenal. Now the jury is out on Ramsey in that he may well yet realise the potential. If he does he will look for money on a par with the top earners at other clubs. If we don’t meet his salary expectation he leaves. If on the other hand he doesn’t fulfil his potential he remains on a long term contract with us on wages that will not be matched by potential buyers. The best we can hope for by way of return is a loan move to recoup a “portion” of his wages and eventually at the expiry of his contract he will be free to negotiate more favourable terms elsewhere. To be fair to Aaron Ramsey he is merely being used by me to illustrate a serious flaw in how Arsenal FC manage our affairs. I hope he flourishes and remains with the club for a long time to come. I merely doubt a positive outcome from an Arsenal perspective.

    Take Bendtner as another example reportedly on 52k a week on loan and warming the bench in Turin while Juventus and Arsenal make up his salary in whatever proportion agreed in the loan negotiations. Denilson in Sao Paulo same situation. Cesc came to Arsenal for wages that Barca would not have countenanced at his age and experience level and returned there with a much more healthy bank balance than he would have had if he had stayed there in the first place. This is not intended to be a criticism of Fabregas indeed one could argue that he was worth it. Walcott has enjoyed a better financial package to date than he would have at any other top club which may account for the fact that he is allegedly wanting 100k a week now. As the old saying goes “eaten bread is soon forgotten” so don’t expect Theo to temper his wage demands on the basis that he has been very well looked after up to now.

    As I said at the outset clearly a decision was made at Arsenal to structure in such a way. Whoever made that decision and those that acquiesced to it should be accountable. It was clearly a bad decision in business terms and in a normal business heads would roll. As Chief Executive Gazidis must have some culpability. As manager Wenger might be partly responsible. We as fans do not benefit from any form of transparency and I suggest that we are entitled to answers given the shambles that prevails at the moment. It’s hardly surprising that we cannot meet the wage expectations of our best players while we are subsidising the wage bills of other clubs as far away as Italy and Brazil and others much closer to home.

  13. Keyser

    Radio Raheem – “However many they are they’ll need to play with others. Which ever way you look at it there is value in having a player LIKE Michu.”

    He’s an attacking midfielder/ striker, more of a striker than anything, he’s scored goals, he has a pretty average pedigree, they’d be value in having him, it’s what value he’d bring.

    The whole point was that we don’t have enough of these ‘Exceptional’ players to begin with and there’s not much to say he would become one of them.

    We used to tow the line between 4th and above, and now we’re towing the line between 4th and 10th, I’d hope a new manager would be at least thinking a lot higher than that, unless he’d decided on a role that would suit him.

  14. Radio Raheem


    I don’t think we disagree on the need for exceptional players. Maybe the difference here is that I also believe we need better squad players. I think the point Ric and others were trying to make, or what lies behind the point they were making, is that we need a stronger squad – in both quality and depth.

    By exceptional players I assume you are talking about players like Cesc? With the way we are run I can’t see us signing players like Cesc at the moment, maybe, a Cazorla. So what have we got left? Ba, Michu, Dembele etc.

    I suggesting that a player like Michu can add something to our squad does not amount to a blindness to his limitations or a denial of our greater need of exceptional players. We need to do both as part of a raft of changes we can make to the club.

  15. Paulinho

    We have finished on average about 15 points behind the leaders over the last four years. Hardly ‘towing the line’. We were closer to fifth and sixth than the league leaders.

    A new manager wouldn’t have a particularly hard act to follow.

  16. Radio Raheem

    I don’t think Michu’s pedigree is that poor either. If he stopped scoring now he’d still have had a good first season in the premier league. That will be two conservative seasons hitting double figures in two different leagues

    I’d be surprised if he was sold for less than £15 million come the summer (assuming he hasn’t a buy-out clause).

  17. Keyser

    Radio Raheem – They don’t have to be rounded players, to be fair, it’s not Michu’s size or his timing, it’s that he’s smart, I’d say that above all else, and then how good he is technically for someone his size, I haven’t really seen him use his size that much.

    You look at our midfield, and all three of them could be players you’d look at in other teams and think they’re quality, put them together, and we’ve seen the mix. Not one stands out from the other and collectively they struggle.

    Then take the midfield from 08′, only Cesc really stood out, the other 3 put them in other teams, Flamini works hard but looks nothing like he did for us, same for Hleb and Rosicky well injuries took his toll.

    Right now what do we have ? We can’t overwhelm teams physically, whether that’s just a matter of time, or they simply can’t I think we’ll see over more games, and individually even Cazorla has faded.

    There’s no real structure, or it’s too weak to excel, without rest, without certain players, whatever.

    Someone like Michu, would provide squad depth and rotation, I can’t see much more than that, and Giroud probably offers just as much anyway.

  18. Keyser

    If we had the right mix, if we had a dangerous attack that needed someone with smart feet to be the figurehead, or we needed plan B, or a variation to something that already worked, but we don’t right now ?!

  19. Radio Raheem


    Yeah Michu would offer squad depth and also a different option in approaching the game. Unlike you I don’t see him as an alternative to Giroud. The only both players have in common, in my opinion, is their skin colour and height.

    I think what I said was that Michu would be a better option as a striker than Podolski due to his size. (It doesn’t mean that is the only reason) I have seen him use his size several times and he has actually scored a header or two for Swansea already. I have become a bit of a Swansea fan since last season so I do watch them a fair bit! Having good timing is part of being smart. ‘Smart’ is a generalisation.

  20. sam

    Lol! wenker,

    i can’t imagine messi playing left back
    well anything can happen under wenger, first he will start as cover then it remains his permenant position.

  21. Keyser

    Radio Raheem – I don’t see him out wide, or tracking back to cover, the comparison to Giroud is to where we’d want him to play and while it might be possible I can’t see him playing off him either.

    Of course smart is a generalisation, but you wouldn’t pick him because of his ‘timing’ it’s because overall he’s a decent footballer that’s clever enough to get more out of himself than he otherwise would.

    Think of it another way, what is at Swansea that’s allowed him to score the goals he has, the way their set-up ? A specific player other than Michu ? that they play to his strengths ? Or because he’s simply lifting them above the norm ?!

  22. Radio Raheem

    Of course smart is a generalisation, but you wouldn’t pick him because of his ‘timing’ it’s because overall he’s a decent footballer that’s clever enough to get more out of himself than he otherwise would.

    I didn’t think I needed to point out the obvious or use generalisations. He has played in passing teams in both Spain and Swansea so some things I assume is a given. On his timing could it be that maybe I have watched him more than you have?

  23. Radio Raheem

    You lost me with your last set of questions

    Feigning understanding of what you mean I would suggest that a manager would make these considerations. This is why I suggested that he could do more than a squad player – could offer an alternative to how we play. For example, playing behind Giroud might look cumbersome doing so behind Podolski/Gervinho might be ok!

  24. Keyser

    The obvious is his best feature, you wouldn’t buy him for his ‘timing’ ? Maybe you’re generalising by saying ‘timing’ what’s soo good about it ?!

  25. Keyser

    Is he that good at Swansea ? Or is there something there that is allowing him to be as good as he is ?!

    Mate how do we play ? The last time we looked anything like cohesive was about 15 games ago

  26. SDE


    Having gone over the last posts from the previous page..

    I must admit it was a riot..

    But CA & RIC as a parting statement…

    Why bother argue with a fornicating imbecile,who has never paid for an Arsenal ticket in his life,nor ever been/attended a Arsenal match in his lifetime..

    When you think about it..It’s actually hilarious,that the imbecile sits as judge & jury on all footballing matters,especially those relating to AFC!!!

    A bit like seeking advice & conversing with a homeless,alcoholic ,glue sniffing street beggar for advice on how to be a successful millionaire..!

    You just would not even go there!!

  27. Keyser

    “A bit like seeking advice & conversing with a homeless,alcoholic ,glue sniffing street beggar for advice on how to be a successful millionaire..!”

    A bit lonely are we? Aww.

  28. Radio Raheem

    You just admitted ‘smart’ is a generalisation and timing is a part of being ‘smart’. ‘Timing’ in football is knowing when to run when to hold, release a pass or hold on to it and so on. Mastering ‘timing’ is useful in breaking rigid defensive lines and organised defences. It is something you notice in a player from watching him over a few matches.

    You are still holding on to this ‘timing’ thing. Simple truth if you have watched him long enough you’d know what I mean (but the mistake you have made is assuming my view on the player is based on his last match). If If you wanted to break down what you mean by ‘smart’ how would you go it? All I have done is go a step further. There are some other posters whom I would generalisations with or use simple basic descriptions for. Yeah my mistake.

    I would be grateful if you could show me where I said we should sign Michu for his timing.

  29. Keyser

    Radio Raheem – “Michu seems to have a timing in being at the right place at the right time…which is one of the reasons he scores goals. Whether anyone else would have scored those goals is neither here or there. Pointless.”

    We’re back to square one, the goals against us weren’t good examples, they were on the break where Michu was under little pressure from the midfield, and had enough time to not only pick out a player, who also had plenty of space, but also get the break on our defence.

    “Mastering ‘timing’ is useful in breaking rigid defensive lines and organised defences. It is something you notice in a player from watching him over a few matches. ”

    Yeah, there should be instances that stand out, mate all I wanted to know is if you could think of any such example, examples, a consistent trait.

    I’m not holding on to it, you brought it up as something you thought was signicant.

    For example, the Walcott goal against West Ham, firstly Giroud’s pass to Cazorla, then again his pass onto Walcott, that was on the break, so it’s similar to the goals against us.

    The assists against Montpellier would be a better ones, he not only gets up high enough to win the header, but also is aware enough to cushion it down into Wilsheres path, the Podolski one, the angles tight to play the ball through on the floor so he flicks it up and over the defensive line.

  30. Radio Raheem


    From that quote I haven’t specifically used the goals he scored against us as examples. Nonetheless, knowing what part of the pitch to be in to take advantage of the opposition’s mistakes may be ‘loosely’ linked to timing.

    Do you want me to give you specific examples? NO I cannot. I do not support Swansea so, perhaps, sub-consciously, I am not going far enough to record details in my mind to replay at a later time, but I enjoy watching them. A natural part of my enjoyment or viewing is to make certain observations., one of which I have shared with you.

    What is unreasonable is your insistence on an example like it is the pinnacle of a higher truth. I could easily make something up if this meant as much to me as it seems to to you. I have disproved your assertions quite easily too. Apart from killing time it has been of little value to me.

  31. Keyser

    Radio Raheem – “I have disproved your assertions quite easily too. Apart from killing time it has been of little value to me.”

    Eh ?!

    “On his timing could it be that maybe I have watched him more than you have?”

    See it seems like you think because I say or ask something, it’s that it’s to denigrate your opinion or belittle,on the contrary,I respect it enough to be curious.

    If someone impresses you, naturally wouldn’t there be moments that stick out in your mind ? If not and it’s his general gameplay couldn’t it be concievable that you were more impressed with Swanseas seemingly natural game and the way he fitted within it ?!

    Swansea were comfortable on the ball and it looked well rehearsed and cohesive like we did at the start of the year only even more refined, I’ve watched one or two other games and where they weren’t as good was in the final third, where they over-elaborated and didn’t seem entirely confident in taking the final pass on, especially if going against teams defending in numbers, they’d rather retain possession, unless it fell to someone like Pablo or Dyer.

  32. Keyser

    “By the way the quote doesn’t say we should sign Michu for his timing”

    It wasn’t me that highlighted it as a quality, if there’s others let me know, mate you bring it up, I ask why you think it’s good, it seems like you then think it shouldn’t be questioned and get defensive.

    You could’ve just said, it doesn’t really stand out, Swansea looked good and his smart interplay works well for them.

  33. Radio Raheem

    If someone impresses you, naturally wouldn’t there be moments that stick out in your mind ? If not and it’s his general gameplay couldn’t it be concievable that you were more impressed with Swanseas seemingly natural game and the way he fitted within it ?!

    Yeah. Like I said I watch Swansea because I enjoy watching them. There is no doubt or it does seem logical that Michu benefits from the way they play but that does not have to be exclusive of his personal characteristics. Apart from the more obvious observations I have mentioned what else I found interesting about the player.

    Mate you can’t say you respect one’s opinion yet proceed to question the basis on which it was made.

  34. Radio Raheem


    I explained to you why it is good and even went as far as to define it. You wanted examples.

    Saying it doesn’t really stand out will be your opinion and contrary to mine. At least you accept he does use his size, something you didn’t previously.

    What you have highlighted are generalisations applicable to many a player. Michu’s record so far suggest he’s better than some players playing a similar position.

  35. Keyser

    Radio Raheem – “Mate you can’t say you respect one’s opinion yet proceed to question the basis on which it was made.”

    It’s supposed to be an exhcnage of ideas.

    Like if were discussing Van Persie’s timing, off the top of my head, the goal against Wolves, Sagna cross, he kills the ball into the path of Cesc, or the nasri goal against Fuiham.

    Eduardo the goal against Everton we won 4-1, where he waits, waits, and passes past Howard as he overbalances and can’t adjust quick enough, the goal against Burnley I think where he uses the outside of his heel from a Song pass.

    Eduardo wasn’t better than Van Persie, but his timing when finishing was exceptional.

    You could’ve just said about how well he fits into Swanseas style, but were adamant that he’d provide value to us, I asked why that’s all, when in comparison to Swansea we don’t have the same cohesiveness and we already have players of Michu’s standard.

    In my opinion we either need to build up a style similar that gets the best out of our players, or buy exceptional players that cana djust regardless, but we’ve had that conversation before.

  36. Keyser

    Accept he uses his size ?

    “What you have highlighted are generalisations applicable to many a player”

    Exactly, what I wanted was something that held him out as an exception, like you’ve said his goalscoring record, my reply would be that there are many examples of players with a goalscoring record for smaller teams who don’t quite make the same cut as they move up.

  37. Keyser

    Also when I say smart, I don’t think they are the norm really, in my opinion most footballers get by without, which is why Bergkamp stood out for me.

  38. Radio Raheem

    You could’ve just said about how well he fits into Swanseas style, but were adamant that he’d provide value to us, I asked why that’s all, when in comparison to Swansea we don’t have the same cohesiveness and we already have players of Michu’s standard.

    We might players of a similar standard to Michu but of a different type. I did say on several occasions that apart from rotating he can provide us with an alternative approach.

    Funny I can’t remember of a lot of these examples you are bringing up but I am fully aware of the characteristics you are trying to describe. I tend to focus on the crux, details are secondary.

  39. Radio Raheem

    my reply would be that there are many examples of players with a goalscoring record for smaller teams who don’t quite make the same cut as they move up.

    …and there are others who do

  40. Radio Raheem

    Accept he uses his size ?

    Would scoring a header be using his size? Or contesting and winning balls in the air against opposition players?

  41. Keyser

    “I tend to focus on the crux, details are secondary.”

    Details sperate the players that are smart, from those that are smarter, especially if they did it consistently.

    Overall Van Persie was a better player than Eduardo, but Eduardo’s use of ‘timing’ when it came to finishing was far better.

    Do you remember the Milan game at home. where Van Persie went for the chip over Abiatti ? In an instant, he realised he was too close to put the ball either side, and naturally went for the chip. It didn’t come off, but he’d weighed up his options and decided almsot automatically that was his best one. Not the simplest, but the best chance of it being successful.

    We don’t really have an approach to find an alternative for, that’s all. Swansea play a certain way and it suits Michu, if we develop something similar I think we’d improve further regardless.

  42. Radio Raheem

    When I said details I meant describing specific players who did what? when? etc. I do sometimes but not all the time

    “We don’t really have an approach to find an alternative for, that’s all. Swansea play a certain way and it suits Michu, if we develop something similar I think we’d improve further regardless.”

    So it seems but under a different manager, maybe? Michu has shown he is effective across 2 leagues that is a basis on which to work from. Going from Swansea’s style to ours is, arguably, not as big a jump as, say, changing clubs between countries.

  43. Radio Raheem

    I wouldn’t be comparing Michu to RvP or anyone else. I don’t find these comparisons helpful in this context. Blank canvas start painting

  44. Keyser

    When it comes to players, there’s just certain things that stick in my mind, say that I know are difficult to do or pull off or stand out, the rest is memory.

    We’re going to end up over-lapping on our previous conversation, we need to get the players we have working together.Various reasons for that, or we need players that are good enough to enforce their characteristics on our game.

  45. Radio Raheem

    We’re going to end up over-lapping on our previous conversation,

    Lol a bit late for that mate I have had to repeat myself a few times. I am more concerned about what happens when the pint of coffee I had wears off and my work is uncompleted.

  46. Keyser

    I think I’m tired anyway, mean’t the conversation about getting more out of our squad of players, there’s Olympiacos later today, some of the youngsters to watch, then hopefully the others are rested enough for West Brom I think.

    Other than that, Gazidis or the board haven’t come out with any statements, when usually they’re rent-a-quotes and we’re already in December.

  47. Radio Raheem

    Talking about rent-a -quote dunno if PHW’s ill health has helped dissipate the Swansea defeat…it’s the main news on the website.

    I’m not sure if I’ll watch tonight’s match…to have chatted to 3am it must’ve been important/enjoyable

  48. Karim

    There’s no easy fix for an age old problem for Arsenal. Still Wenger is arrogant enough to change his transfer policy on buying “established” players. He continues to keep second grade players like Squilacci, Djourou, Ramsey, Bendtner in the squad. Why? Because he still feels that these players can be his saviour one day.

    Stop explaining to the fans about the team spirit or the so-called togetherness in the squad, it’s all lies. What happened to the fear factor when Arsenal play against Man Utd or Chelsea? Already gone, cuz managers around the globe knows how to screw us cuz we don’t have plenty of world class players in the squad anymore.

    If Wenger still believe in the potential of the team, then I must ask him to go and manage some other clubs in Bhutan or Laos who clearly have plenty of players to succeed in their country’s competition

  49. Jeff

    The biggest irritation for Wenger isn’t whether or not it is true about Bould having a go at the players in the dressing room. It’s not even how the players performed or didn’t perform. His biggest and only objective is a CL place. Nothing else matters. It is like an addiction to him. It’s probably not even the money as much but this record he has that everyone and his wife talks about; qualification 16 years on the trot. Among the AKBs and majority of his adoring fans, it is that record that gives him the mandate to carry on as manager. All other considerations and ambitions are secondary and as far as he is concerned, unimportant.

    This season, he whittled the quality in the team to a bear minimum and is sailing so close to the wind that we have been found out much earlier than he had hoped. We normally start to fall away in the final third of the season hovering around positions 3rd to 6th. This season it has happened much more quickly. He didn’t expect the thin, shallow and talentless squad to tire and capitulate so early. That is his biggest irritation. You will see him get more and more desperate as the season goes on if we remain low in the table. He is still telling us what he thinks we want to hear: things like “the team is strong”, “the club is in a fantastic position”, “they are in good spirits” and “he can fix the problems”.

    If we were any closer to the top he would be teasing us with: “we still have a chance for the title” and “we will fight to the end”. Many more fans and outsiders who were hypnotised by his words are now being woken up by the loud thud as we landed at position 10 over the weekend. It is -5 outside but Wenger is still telling us we are on a cruise ship gently wafting along towards paradise.

    There is a real chance that we will fall out of the CL places and then it will be cold turkey time. He will suffer withdrawal symptoms like he’s never known and that will be the end of that. The charade will come to a miserable end.

  50. SUGA3


    I don’t think too many actually fall for this rubbish anymore, especially that everyone and his dog knew that the wheels would fall off much sooner than February like they did all these years…

    this season is what the last season would if it was not for RvP, surprise, surprise!

    but hey, let him talk, the more he does, the more people will see that the emperor is now stark bollock naked!

  51. Doublegooner


    We can all moan as much as we want. We are a minority, very few really care enough to do anything.

    Our club is full of ‘cosy, sit on their arses, theatre going’ fans.

    My 45 year love affair is now so tested, more so because of the non activity of the fans.

    Wenger is a horrible dictator / cult type individual. I detest listening to his lies & nonsense.

    He together with Kroenke & his puppet will destroy our club for years to come.

  52. Jeff


    You’re both right of course. He is becoming a constant source of irritation. What I find the most annoying of his habits is the outright blatant denial of the obvious. We are being treated like children who know nothing and what is worse he thinks he has absolute right to carry on unchallenged. He will not share his power and nobody else must take even an ounce of credit for anything and any blame is always someone else’s fault.

    There were some reports (maybe it’s just tittle-tattle) that PSG might be interested in his services. I find that so incredible. Why would any club worth anything want to employ a man who has no idea whatsoever about managing a football team? I am sometimes at a complete loss as to the source of this great admiration other people have for him when it is so clear that all he has done is manage to redefine failure by calling it success.

    Fourth is failure. Third is failure. Second is failure. Losing to Birmingham in the only recent chance of silverware is failure. Selling your best players year in year out is failure. Hoarding useless players and draining precious resources is failure. We drew with Stoke, Sunderland. That we put down to “it’s too early and the players haven’t bed in yet”. We lose to Swansea, QPR and Schalke and suddenly it becomes “we were too tired”.

    For once in your miserable life please tell the truth and be honest about your intention to do something about it. That is all that I ask. We’re now beyond trophies and titles. We just want to see the team compete. If you can’t or won’t do that; leave it to someone who can.

  53. Doublegooner

    Just turned Talksport off as an Arsene fuckwit disciple has just come on starting ‘ I have to back Arsene Wenger because he doesnt have money’

    WHAT A CUNT.. !!!

    Off to work now. Have a good one Jeff / Suga

  54. SUGA3

    Double & Jeff

    I am off to work as well, have a good one 😉

    it has just struck me: I think Wenger has ruined more players than he actually improved in the process of bringing them through he ranks…

  55. GaryC

    “We are in a good financial position and we have great mental strength. People do not like that” The man is ill

  56. Ryan Black

    ——-Van Persie




    Completely possible! What could have been…

  57. Johnty79

    I heard that as well double gooner….

    He is so blind that guy his mrs is probably banging the milkman and he doesn’t know.

    If we lose to west brom that will be it. It will show that the players have turned on arse hole wenger.

  58. Jeff

    Yep off to work as well. See you all tonight in the comments. He’s taking to Greece a load of juniors and what he thinks are seniors like Ramsey and Gervinho. We’ll probably get slaughtered and of course the ready-made excuse will be that we had to rest our best players. We’ll end up second in the CL table, meet with some devilish team in the last 16 and go out with “we gave it our best shot and used our mental strength”.

    Aren’t we lucky to be blessed with so much mental strength?

  59. SDE

    December 4, 2012 07:28:19
    There were some reports (maybe it’s just tittle-tattle) that PSG might be interested in his services. I find that so incredible. Why would any club worth anything want to employ a man who has no idea whatsoever about managing a football team? I am sometimes at a complete loss as to the source of this great admiration other people have for him when it is so clear that all he has done is manage to redefine failure by calling it success.


    Just to add..You will be surprised as to how highly he is regarded in France..

    Was talking to a french mate of mine from Brittany,who’s also an Arsenal fan..

    We were exchanging stories about Arsenal & Arsene,albeit from opposing ends of the water..

    I told him Wenger was shot as a manager & the machinations at the club,are such that,we will end up falling outside the top 4,anytime soon..

    He countered with the fact that Wenger is celebrated in France,is well respected & they view what he has done at Arsenal as quite incredible..

    I almost simultaneously choked on my water & fell off my chair, upon hearing that..

    Sacre Bleu…!!