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”

Jump to comment form ↓

  1. James

    Great, great post. All my feelings expressed in writing.

    Monday’s are so much harder to stomach when your beloved team is in turmoil!!

  2. N21 Tone

    Whilst we have people like this, we ain’t going nowhere!


    Andrew Harvey on Twitter: “Arsenal had a bad period last season too, we are only 5 points behind 4th, plenty of time to turn things around.”

  3. gambon

    Spot on post Pedro

    Totally agree about Wenger being a victim of his own advanced thoughts.

    It happens in every sport at some point once it has matured. People stop relying on instincts and start using data & computing power.

    Its not long before computer programs will be doing half a managers job. Analysing fitness, analysing opponents weaknesses and coming up with tactics & scouting/recommending players.

  4. Handbrake

    Caught Geoff spitting blood on BBC the other day.
    1st December 2012 – 21:31

    I hope Arsene is reading these comments.
    1st December 2012 – 21:00

    Arsene, I’ve made an appointment for you on Monday. At the Job Centre!
    Best of luck.
    I believe ASDA are looking for shelf fillers.
    1st December 2012 – 20:39

    Next week on the 8th, is our next home game in the PL against WBA.
    I plead with all true Arsenal supporters to stay at home and help with the washing up. Don’t waste your money on AW and his embarrassing premier league also rans. I will keep repeating this post in the hope that supporters will stay at home next Saturday.
    It won’t take many weeks before the board start listening to the supporters.

  5. localcelebrity

    Top post!!!! We need somebody new who will change things. You’re right even if we pick up a few players we are still not going to be any nearer to winning the cl or prem league. Let’s hope arsenal use those media tools and really work out the depth of fans that have simply had enough. I’m gonna throw bergkamp in the mix for manager, just thinkin what the board would do realistically and I never see pep coming.

  6. Wengerafc

    Wengers problem isn’t his age . It’s his myopic view of the world. He’s living on his success of 10 years past ! Ferguson as you rightly say evolves his teams to counter the constant change in the way the game is being played year after year . We had a plan A and a plan A part2 ( it was never a full plan B) – wenger brought on fast offensive players on the 70th minute and tried to attack our way out of trouble . For years it worked . Now everyone has got wise to us. He will still sub on 70 minutes although now its not even attacking type players as we haven’t got depth off the bench. We new young fresh talent. Guard iota would be ideal and the club would allow him to build a plan mid-long term. At chelscum or man shitty he wouldn’t get 10 games without being fired or forced to play the owners pet !!!!

  7. Dan not Stan

    Completely agree! Why wouldn’t pep join us. He’s very young and this could be a legacy go him.

    He seems to have many qualities, as he’s not a self proclaimed scout-man either so I’m sure he would mix up that part of Arsenal too.

  8. Wengerafc

    I hate predictive I phone text !!!
    I meant Guardiola and that we need new talent ! Although guardiota might be a new cheaper cousin !!!

  9. the_real_andy

    I don´t think pep is that unreal … what do you think he wants to achieve? he´s 40 or something like that, he has coached one team and won fuck all, you can be sure he has the feeling to show himself and everybody else he didn´t won that all just because of the best team on the planet but his abilities too. I even think this feeling is stronger than before after vilanova shows mourinho how good barca is …

    I really think he may well consider AFC. let´s be realistic there – what options does he have? he could join every club, I´m aware of that, but I don´t think he want to:

    spain clubs – never ever
    english – man united (same here as in barcelona, best team of the last decade, joining them and winning won´t change anything in his mind I think), city (I don´t think he´s a buyer, he wants to have a project as pedro already pointed out), arsenal, chavs (joining to get sacked soon?)
    germany – Bayern (it´s again a little bit of barcelona style – they are the best side in germany, dortmund may have been better in recent years but in fact nobody can match bayerns standard and everybody at dortmund knows that, so winning with the best team in the country isn´t that big of an achievement, and bayern tend to get german coaches), dortmund (well, they won´t change as long as klopp doesn´t leave)
    italy – well, who wants to be part of italian football?

    if pep really considers coaching again I am quite confident we are high on his list

  10. GEE-ROO

    That wasn’t Rogers’ side we lost to on the weekend. Its spine of Flores, Ki- Seung Yeung and Michu were all brought in by Micheal Laudrup.

  11. Ghost

    Something’s gotta change for Arsenal to move forward. Be it the manager or the board. The manager fed the monster that is the board now.

    Wenger always wants to be in control which is why him and Bould don’t communicate on the touchline again. Bould must have challenged him or wanted more first team control. Glad Bould stuck it to the players at the end of the swansea game. We have a first XI of internationals but they’re playing like clowns. Something and something big is broken somewhere. Hope they fix it. We’ve become a comedy club. Smh

  12. Tim Themba Geschwindt

    Media in south Africa is reporting there was a march against the sale of champions league players to rival clubs. That’s not what it was about right?

    Anyway… pitiful showing at the weekend. Time to drown myself in a vat of Scotch.

  13. TT

    One thing that worries me is the possible merging of the Europa league into the Champions league….that could mean that the 7th is a trophy…would that not suit Wenger down to the ground!

    Good post by the way Pedro. But I fear that we need much more than a manager change. If he could take the board and owner with him when he fucks off i would be ecstatic.

  14. Mach III

    Big post Today. I like the innovation.
    We definitely need a new approach. I watched a TEDx talk the other day about how groups, corporations, any sort of business – the bigger they get, the less direct influence they have. This makes the chasing of an idea the biggest objective and they fall away from the heart of it. A common symptom we can see in Arsenal is how they don’t listen to the fans, kind of how controlling they are in their ways.

    If we look 4 years ago, we switched from our 4-4-2 with Flamini, Hleb, Adebayor… We eventually had a team that could play a 4-3-3 after many years of playing together. Our players could just fill into this system. Our carling cup team could play this system. Even if we lost to United, or Chelscum, we still dominated possession as if it were too easy.

    Slowly but surely that team has dissipated and the replacements are not at that high technical level. Podolski can whip in a great cross, and fire a thundershot in the back of the net, but can he operate on the LW/LHS? No, he can’t combine with Cazorla and Arteta, hold the ball, create an opportunity in midfield. He’s not into keeping the ball. He’s a tunnel vision goal getter. That is just one of the problems facing this side.

    Our team needs a big, BIG signing that will right the wrongs. Bring in NEYMAR (I know it is impossible…) and we will be on the right track. We need a talisman in the team that is feared.

  15. Dom spawn of Baresi

    Wenger won’t change, in with the new. Maybe he’ll surprise us by changing formation but if we get another couple of losses in the next 4 i could see manager changing before the end of the season.

  16. gambon

    “he´s 40 or something like that, he has coached one team and won fuck all”

    Haha, at least we know this guy knows nothing about football.

  17. Pleb

    Sorry for being a twat but its Micael Laudrup, not Brian. Great post, Im not a AKB but Id be slow to let Wenger go unless Pep or Klopp were interested or available. Dont want to go down the Liverpool route of 4 managers in 3 years.

  18. Kaboom

    i think michael laudraup would be perfect for arsenal. he has proven record in spain and EPL. his brand of football is a better version of “arsene-way” and much more effective. all his signings are impressive so far. and his contract is expring end of next season. i am sure the compensation would be minimum (compare to AW’s 7.5mil annual salary)

  19. bergkamp63

    The real dick !!

    What the fuck have you been snorting ?

    Try wikipedia on Guardiola if know fuck all about football !!

  20. Afc53

    De Boer and Bergkamp for me or either of the following

    O Neill

    I don’t trust Wenger with the cash we have:

    Sell the usual suspects Diaby,bendtner,squillaci,Denilson,djourou,fabianksi,Arshavin,chamakh, just to free up some cash I’d let them all go for free.

    Buy proven prem players

    Time to go for broke for me otherwise its channel 5 next season

  21. Cornelius Lawrence

    Good morning one and all, nice post young Pedro.

    I was due to attend some wedding anniversary dinner last night (not mine, ha!) but chose instead to not brave the elements and instead watch television. I saw a movie called Moneyball. Has anyone else watched this? You can not help but think of Arsenal when you see this movie, do not misunderstand me, the whole movie does not remind me of our beloved club but certain elements:

    1. The club loses their star player – instead of replacing him like for like, the boss brings in 3 players to spread the contribution. Sound familiar?

    2. The boss bought unknown, has-beens, defective players as the statistics suggested that they could add value.

    3. What the boss did, angered everyone, it went against conventional baseball wisdom.

    The team started poorly but put together a 20 game unbeaten run however they fell when it really mattered – he simply thought he could win the championship with an ok/average squad of players who boasted reasonable statistics. This was a true story, it is worth a watch.

    Hope you all had a lovely weekend – bar the Swansea game which I shan’t go into.


  22. Guns of Hackney

    Well, I don’t want to say I am overjoyed that Arsene is all but finished, but…no, I will say it: GOOD RIDDANCE.

    And before anyone starts bleating about ‘but who else is there’…well, take a look around – at least 20 managers around the world.

    Arsene Wenger 1996-2013 (good for half that, shit for the rest)

  23. GEE-ROO

    Klopp would be the ideal replacement IMO. But unfortunately I can’t see him leaving the German champions and a squad that he has built over the past 5 years. It’s a group packed with quality and on the verge of maturing into a real force in European football. Additionally; he has the full backing of a unified board and the comfort of working in his native Germany. That’s not to say he couldn’t be pried away but it would take an extremely ambitious offer to do so. I can’t see Kroenke making such an offer. Can You ?

  24. GEE-ROO

    It would also require Kroenke to sack the goose which keeps on laying him these Golden fourth place eggs. Barring failure to qualify; Arsene will stay.

  25. Cornelius Lawrence

    oh I forgot point 4! – The boss did this all on a budget, never paid over the odds and was not paying what the market dictated, he paid what the numbers thought the player was worth.

  26. Cornelius Lawrence

    I have merged my two posts above for ease of reference –

    Good morning one and all, nice post young Pedro.

    I was due to attend some wedding anniversary dinner last night (not mine, ha!) but chose instead to not brave the elements and instead watch television. I saw a movie called Moneyball. Has anyone else watched this? You can not help but think of Arsenal when you see this movie, do not misunderstand me, the whole movie does not remind me of our beloved club but certain elements:

    1. The club loses their star player – instead of replacing him like for like, the boss brings in 3 players to spread the contribution. Sound familiar?

    2. The boss bought unknown, has-beens, defective players as the statistics suggested that they could add value.

    3. What the boss did, angered everyone, it went against conventional baseball wisdom.

    4. The boss did this all on a budget, never paid over the odds and was not paying what the market dictated, he paid what the numbers thought the player was worth.

    The team started poorly but put together a 20 game unbeaten run however they fell when it really mattered – he simply thought he could win the championship with an ok/average squad of players who boasted reasonable statistics. This was a true story, it is worth a watch.

    Hope you all had a lovely weekend – bar the Swansea game which I shan’t go into.


  27. Simon Gaunt

    Great post Pedro – Wenger has become a “Jack of all trades, master of none” He needs help, but won’t accept it and we are stuck in a rut……… How long do we let this go on for? We now need 5/6 players to get back to a Premiership winning team, have we let it slip too much???

    As another media man, I appreciate the importance of big data. I do worry that all the negativity in the “data-sphere” might impact our chances of maximizing the best commercial deals. I’m sure all the big blue chips we are looking too for lumpy sponsorship’s will be monitoring this and thinking are they really worth it??

    All those points you raised in favor of Pep joining are bang on the money, we need to act though. It’s not a knee jerk reaction to recent results either, the team has been on the slide for 4-5 years now.

  28. Jonas

    Good post, Pedro but one thing I disagree with is that Walcott does not go past players. Had enough chances to do this on saturday but always checks back to Jenkinson.

  29. Dave

    Pre-weekend stats:

    “Without Van Persie’s goals and assists, United wouldn’t be leading the Premier League – they’d be languishing in 12th. Opta statistics show that without the Dutchman, United would have just three wins instead of ten and seven draws instead of none. Their goal difference would be just +2 instead of a healthy +14 and they’d have half the points of bitter rivals Manchester City.

    The figures just go to prove how much of an impact Van Persie has made at Old Trafford. Without him, United would have been beaten at Southampton and only taken a point from home matches with Fulham, Arsenal and West Ham, and the away games at Chelsea and Liverpool.”

    That van Persie player seems quite handy to have around. I wonder if Manure would consider selling him to us?

  30. GEE-ROO

    Martin O’ Neill is responsible for a Sunderland side that ranks among the most dour and boring teams of the modern premier league era. They’ve only managed to win 2 games and score 13 goals all season.

  31. Big Dave

    This board have no balls to get out and get Pep. They probarbly don’t even know who he is ffs.

    A walk won’t push the board to think nothing is wrong. Fans should just boycott a game do not go in, problem is Arsenal fans are full of tourists and photo takers these days.

    Sad times at the club I love.

    Bye Bye Wenger

  32. Cornelius Lawrence

    hitman49 – you’re most welcome. Ha ha, good one – haven’t we all?!

    Nice film, This Brad Pitt fellow is quite humorous in the movie.

    I also understand that Stan Kroenke is friends with this Billy Beane character that Pitt plays. Does make you wonder and worry.

  33. hitman49

    why dont we have a day of action and stay outside the stadium ?
    all the media inside all true fans outside.
    that would have an impect..
    and for all those who dont want to miss the game you can go in 10..15 mins into the game.
    i’m sure our back for could hold on that long maye.
    we’v no chance of scoreing so you wont miss a thing wba will nick it like swansea 88th min.
    all happy go home job done 1

  34. Big Dave

    This year will see us drop out of the top 4 and could vey much see us turn into Liverpool. Lack of revenue . more average buys

  35. nin

    i still cant believe how many wenger lovers there are still out there.
    i was always of the impression that arsenal fans were some of the most intelligent out there, how wrong was i?

    the sheep are saying it isn’t wenger’s fault its the players?!

  36. TOLI83

    No lighted hearted comments about the weather. Love it Pedro .

    I remember teams such as Bolton first stated the tracking devices where Allardyce would monitor how far each player had ran and their positioning etc so a lot of clubs around the league reacted outside the ‘big boys’…

  37. nin

    pep would be the ideal candidate and to be honest we are a very attractive proposition as the blog points out.

    but these things never happen at arsenal.

    The demise of this FOOTBALL club started when the david dein was booted out,

  38. mystic

    HandbrakeDecember 3, 2012 10:00:18
    ‘ It won’t take many weeks before the board start listening to the supporters.’

    Sorry mate but the board won’t start listening to the fans until it hits them in the pocket and with the commercial deals going through SS etc just won’t give a f*ck if people stay away.

    I don’t know the answer for getting rid of the twats, but boycotting unfortunately won’t had any affect on the guys at the top. If the money keeps rolling will they care about empty seats? Reasonable people might, but that is not what we are dealing with.

    Ironically Wenger might be the answer, if the team doesn’t come together he might just think what the fuck and walk away – ok I’m living in cloud cuckoo land.

    All together now
    ‘All I want for Christmas is my Arsenal back, my Arsenal back, my Arsenal back, all I want for Christmas is my Arsenal back, AND I WISH YOU ALL A MERRY CHRISTMAS’

    Dear Santa, I only have one thing on my Christmas list this year:

  39. sam

    why is thierry henri not being mentioned?
    he builds his own mgmt team with perhaps sol campbell or keown as defensive coach.

  40. goonerDNA

    Bergkamp as manager, you’re talking about the assistant manager at Ajax the guy hasn’t managed 1 professional match so its a stupid idea giving him the role.

  41. Doublegooner

    Kroenke is as bigger problem now as Wenger.

    I just fear for OUR Club.

    The BSM march & continued demos MUST be stepped up.

  42. Arsenal1886-2006

    Guardiola wants to be the next Man Utd manager, he is desperate for that job, and Mourinho is fancied to take over at City.

    I can see Rijkaard taking over with maybe Bergkamp and Adams as assistants, imagine Bergkamp tutoring Jack, Ox and some of the other younger players, and Adams teaching the defenders how to put their hand in the air.

  43. Sanjeev

    100 percent nailed on Post , pretty worrying to see the way team plays nowadays . I , particularly , liked your assessment regarding the backroom staff and DVD stuff . There needs to be a change in the way the club is running . I would be supporting for a change in manager from next season and give Mr Wenger some well-deserved rest .

  44. Paul Johnson

    Your Comment Here
    Deepest sympathies for Saturday, however there is no shame in joining the long list of teams this season who have apparently ‘not turned up’ or ‘played the worst game of the season so far’ when the Swans have come to town. A couple of weeks ago I watched the displays against Reading in the cup and Spurs and you fully deserved the victories, but times are changing and clubs like West Brom, West Ham and Swansea are quick learners, and where before they might have given the big boys too much respect in preference to playing to their own gameplan, they now BELIEVE they have the tools to do the job, and are going out there and doing it. Swansea City are no mugs, I still have to pinch myself when they turn in these performances, but the basis of their success is hard work, team unity and a strong belief in their ability to achieve at the highest level. This is driven from the bottom up and manifests itself on a saturday afternoon at 3pm when the 1st eleven walk out on the pitch. But make no mistake, it goes a lot deeper than that, everyone needs to get used to results like this, because I believe Swansea will be here for some time to come and if they continue their knack of identifying the talent early, much like Arsenal of old, through their vast scouting network, then who is to say in a couple of years teams will consider any sort of point against them as a bonus rather than blaming the manager for his selection or, team tiredness, off days, etc,etc.

  45. bergkamp63

    Guardiola is the obvious choice, we need someone who knows how to win, someone who can get players to work hard, pass quickly & move quickly.

    None of which we currently have at the club anymore !!

  46. Cornelius Lawrence

    I should make a few of points about David Dein and Alisher Usmanov…and a new boss

    Dein – Appointing Dein would be a backward step and I am sure we can source someone better, who has been close to the game and has a wealth of new contacts.

    Usmanov – I think there is a misguided notion that this chap should be brought in and all will be well, he has ‘lots of money and is an Arsenal fan’. This is an extremely naive perception to have. Please note that Usmanov has benefitted greatly from the increase of share price given the size of his stake in the club. Also he is a businessman first and an Arsenal fan second, if he is one at all. I am not dimissing the fellow but evaluate with an open eyes and an open mind.

    New boss – any person who comes into the managerial seat will have to tow the line set by the CEO and the board so i would not expect any big changes. The same constraints would be placed upon him also. I think the critical thing is here no one truly knows (lets be honest no one knows for sure) whether the problem with spending money is down to Mr Wenger’s reluctance to spend or the board not making the funds available. I was watching Sunday Supplement on Sky Sports and one journalist (whose name escapes me) was very adamant that he knew through an inside contact that the boss was told he can only spen what makes through transfer sales, there is no extra funds.

  47. iSayed

    Pedro. Well said. But what about the fact that we’ve continued to make the same mistakes every year for as long as I can remember?

    That is what Arsene’s biggest problem’s been: Not addressing mistakes which should be rectified after a single match, let alone allowed to happen every single season.

  48. Doublegooner

    Only been here 5 minutes, but he;’s looking impressive.

    Players hold him in high esteem.

    Right age.

    Michael Laudraup

  49. bergkamp63

    Arsenal 1886,

    And where would Bergkamp be on a night like tomorrow night ? would he be driving all the way to Athens !!

  50. AW is a CEO not a football manager

    Yes AW is just a lucky con artist who had a great start and now he has been revealed as a shallow money man.

    His so called Young Generation is a con. Except for Jack who has really come through? No one. And he has already tried to kill Jack.

    For every TH14 signing he has had miserable signings.

    And as the game has changed he has hidden behind the excuse that he has mo money. he is a coward.

    Believe me you could coach any of his teams better than he does. Just play the ball along the ground in moving triangle formations. Simple.

    Please keept he pressure on him. Someone who as you wrote does not like being challenged and is dictatorial will perish. So keep the pressure on. And anyway hate this team. I do not like Mertesacker and Vermaelen. I tried to but they are not world class. Jenkinson yes. Sagna I like but has he ever taken on a player down the wing and crossed in a dangerous ball? Ever? I have to say it but either Neville brother is ten times sagna and Clichy. Anyway why do we need to cross? No one is ever in there. Arteta is not a holding midfielder. Cazorla and Jack are the same type of player. Diaby has ruined our season again. Walcott is a one trick pony. Giroud is average at best. Especially compared to Michu. Podolski is a a flop. Has he made one good pass in 14 mathces? Gervinho should go back to France. Ramsay is off key. This is a below average team. So don’t cry when players leave because they know this. Why shoudl van Persie have to play with Giroud and Gervinho? Please. Why should Song hold up Mertesacker and Vermaelan and Koscileny. Our central defenders are hopeless. How many matches have they lost for us. Let’s go to Old Trafford and gift them a goal. Please.

    You are right football changes. It is billionaire time. Bring in the Russian. it has also changed in a great way. And that is that Swansea are now the new Arsenal. Swansea looked liked the Arsenal of a few years ago and Arsenal looked like a good Championship side. Therefore the Arsenal way can still be done but it si being done better by other clubs and managers.

    So make him CEO and bring in Pep. But befoer that let’s what rubbish he brings in January. More Gervinho, Giroud, Stepanovs, Senderos. Diaby. and so on.

    As Piers Morgan said in a recent interview that mirros this post. He was great. Times have changed and he has not been able to either keep up with the Billionaires oe keep to the Arsenal philosophy that has been adiopted by Swansea so it is time to go. Thanks and bye bye.

  51. bergkamp63


    “Please note that Usmanov has benefitted greatly from the increase of share price given the size of his stake in the club.”

    In order to benefit he has to sell his shares at a greater price than he paid for them. Who exactly would purchase his 30% ? Kroenke has no need as he is majority shareholder already and nobody else is going to buy a minority stake in a business of that size without a seat on the BOD’s. Nobody is going to pay inflated prices other than Usmanov so he is stuck with them anyway ?

  52. Johnny Wins

    Guardiola will be back in the game next summer and with Wenger seeing out his contract we’ll lose him. I agree absolutely with Pedro as to why he would come to us. That was a great great post Pedro.

    Guardiola fits perfectly with the board too. Players will play for him first, money second. He will attract some big names for playing reasons alone.

  53. cub

    Personally I think whatever is wrong with the club should be assessed and taken care of immediately. Not how when intends to “end of the season”.

  54. Errix

    Good post,

    finnaly we’ve opened this debate, and lets try and make it as constructive as possible. Couple of points:

    1. Whilst I migh agree that the rate of change in tecnology could be killing older managerial teams, look at United and Bayern – 3rd and 4th most successfuly clubs in the World with the oldest managers in the game. The manager should be the strategist, motivator, PR guy and crisis manager when things gro wrong on the pitch (e.g. look at Fergie’s response to Da Silva’s play against Reading the other day). Other than that he should have a team of able (young) managers helping him with action plan to implemement the strategies, controlling issues etc. Nevertheless the boss on top takes blame when the organization is not performing, hence Wenger should get stick but not necessarily because he’s old.
    2. Billy Beane, the master of sports data crunching who killed gut tactics in baseball says Wenger is his idol and I would imagine he would not be saying this if Arsenal did not have one of the most developed strategy/tactical/data crunching engines in the footballing world
    3. Arteta is 30, not 32 🙂

  55. Cornelius Lawrence

    gambon December 3, 2012 11:09:40 Usmanov hasnt seen any benefit at all you mug.

    oh he has. I don’t care for your language either gambon. behave.

  56. Gooner4lyf

    Great post Pedro.

    Want to know my opinion in the comment?

    Well my opinion is well summed up in your post, you’ve taken the words out of my mouth and out of my heart. You’ve done all the thinking for me and you’ve pieced them together like I can never imagine.

    Top post, top blogger!

  57. Matchy

    As i wrote few a weeks ago. I dont believe the trio of Areta, Cazorla and Wilshire can play together in that midfield. They have too similiar characteristics to play together in the EPL.

    In another league where it i not so physical maybe. First they are too short and small. Secondly wilshire is still learning the game .. yes he is still learning. How many games or years has he played in the EPL? He is over rated.

    guardio say ‘we have many wilshire at barceonla academy’. But because the guy is english he is treated like the last man standing. Not saying he is not good. He is good but tactically he is still learning.

    So … lets get back into the early days in the season before DIABY decided to go on holiday.

    Arsenal dominated and played beautiful football. The trio of Diaby, Cazolara and Areta controlled the midfield. This allows a balanced in the team. Took pressure of the defense and allows the offensive unit to flourish. Thats why Walcott was sitting on the bence with Gerv running around the top like a madman.

    Since Diaby went on holiday Gerv stopped scoring. Arsenal midfield dominated by opposition. Remember the game against fulham? And on saturday against Swansea.

    As i mentioned before many times. Arsenal need a player like Diaby, Fellani, Vieria. Yes these players above are DIFFERENT but they have one thing in common.

    They are tall, strong and box to box midfielders. They can dominate their opponents in many ways.

    Since diaby went on holiday, Wenger tried


    They failed.

    So what can arsenal do until January ?

    Diaby still is on holiday unless he makes a dramatic appearance. Else arsenal will continue to struggle in this area.

    They can change the formation play an extra man in midfield ….

    No lets get back to today post.

    Comparing Feggie to Wenger is just stupid.

    Feggie at Man united, his boss supports the guy with money.

    At Arsenal his boss supports wenger with ‘words of mouth’. Kronke ever put his hands into his pocket and took $1 out? NO. But the board always say … we have $. How much? 50cents?

    Wenger took the job knowing so. So its not a freebie. And his boss told him so. Arsenal took a different route in football. They knew they couldnt compete against man united cos lets look at asrenal previous owners.

    Dein etc etc they arent that rich. They are poor mans millionaire. Yes the current guys are super rich but hey im still waiting for Usmanov to reach out with his billion dollar offer to kronke.

    To say Wenger is past it due to his age and technologies etc heheh. Wenger is the most progressive manager in the league.

    Tactics in football is over rated. You have 11 v 11 on a small area on the field of play. The games have played fot over 100 years. Which areas of tactics can you improve? hahah

    With top quality players you have top quality tactics
    With standard players you have standard tactics.

    Guess what? With top quality players you need top $$$$. Arsenal are playing against top clubs with top $$$$. Arsenal in english football historocally is a mid table team. Yes they had a glorish 1930’s but went dead till 1980’s. And the last 16 years due to the constant participant in the CL the club has risen in profile in world football community. Why is that liverpool and man united commercial deals are worth more than afc?

    Guardio is an unproven manager. Yes UNPROVEN. Lets look at barcelona now. The team is winning and setting best starts to laliga in 100 years etc. Guess who is in charge? His assistance for the last 3 years.

    Few weeks back barceonla played for the first time in its history started with 11 home grown players. Yes al the players played that day came from its acdemy. This acdemy setup in the late to mid 70’s.

    Secondly in Spain the manager and coach are two different things compares to England. At Barceonla the coach is guardio.

    Guardio will never be able to do what he did at barcelona in those three years.

    I will say right here who is a proven coach and manager. Benetiz. Benetiz won in spain with valencia twice and in uefa too. He did it against two mighty ‘world’ club with limited budget club.

    Came to england and won for liverpool. Liverpool also by now is a poor mans club with no money.

    Benetiz is proven.

  58. Rohan

    I think you got it spot on … Great Article …. Getting tired at the number of times the pattern goes . Arteta-Mertesacker-Jenkinson-Mertesacker-Sczesny hardly anything happens and we lose the ball …. There is nothing happening consistently enough in the final third …. Hard to watch after all the silky movement and technical ability we have all gotten used to … Something needs to change .

  59. Rhj

    Good post, although I don’t think age has anything to do with it. You’re right when you say the autonomy that managers are afforded at Arsenal is a good thing but the Board needs to watch that things are not going astray and they’ve badly fuked up on that score. It will be interesting to see how ambitious Gazidis is. He has a real opportunity now to make a name for himself and push Wenger out in favour of someone like Pep but somehow I doubt he will take it. Didn’t I read here that he had dinner with Pep and his people recently? Gazidis could be the turd we all think he is and stick with doing nothing (let’s face it, Stan’s not going to put him under much pressure as long as the cash flow continues to look reasonable), or he could really try and make a name for himself as the man who turned it around and got Pep Guardiola into the Arsenal. I’m not holding my breath.

  60. abeeola (@abeeola)

    Arsenal sold Robin van Persie to Manchester United during the summer and McLintock went on to state that the Gunners have never got over the loss of their Dutch talisman.

    “Last year Robin van Persie single-handedly keep Arsenal in the top four,” he added. “I thought we were heading for fifth or sixth position [without him].

    “You could see then it was just papering over the cracks though. We needed big reinforcements for this year. Van Persie and Arsenal must have had a conversation about that and that’s why he left, Arsenal weren’t thinking along the same lines as he was.”

  61. abeeola (@abeeola)

    The best thing about the Bundesliga though is definitely their care for fans with reasonable ticket prices. Too many working class people have been priced out here now, especially by the southern teams who are just getting more and more extreme with their ticket prices (I am being told if I want to watch my club against Norwich away it’ll be £50 and if I want to watch my club against Arsenal away it’ll be close to £70). I recently saw a photo of a North London derby ticket with the price tag £94 on it. More than £1 per minute of football.

  62. Carlito

    Pep’s stint at Barca wasn’t a true measurement of his managerial ability. With the team they had, still have, they could literally manage themselves.

  63. Joppa Road

    Or could it be as simple Pedro as Wenger’s (and the clubs) policy of selling world class player after world class player and replacing them with mediocre average players rather than top quality has caught up with him, because it well and truly has.

    Many of us predicted this. There is no way back for Wenger now.

  64. gambon

    “And RVP deserves an apology from many on here for simply telling it how it is.”

    Totally agree with this.

    RVP is a hero, as simple as that. I would rather city win the PL,, but if they do win it i’ll cheer on Robin, no doubt.

  65. Joppa Road

    Just from a watching point of view it seems we need a tough tackling midfielder, yet again I was laughed at on here many times for saying we need a Joey Barton/Scott Parker type – not because they are brilliant footballers but because we need some steel in the team. We sadly lack that all over the pitch.

    I am 100% right as usual.

  66. Ulster Gooner

    I’ve always defended Wenger. He certainly deserves respect and gratitude for what he has done in the past. But you make a good case. If we could get Pep I would support a change.

  67. Joppa Road

    Again, complete madness thinking we will get Pep – it’s not going to happen. He will go to one of the big three – City, United or Chelsea. Yeah, sure he is going to come to Arsenal for morally correct reasons – what a load of bollox.

  68. abeeola (@abeeola)

    And finally…

    “If you want Attacking Football the Bundesliga is where it’s at. If you want a Fast Paced Football the Bundesliga is where it’s at. If you want a Football Clubs that are not neck-deep in debt, the
    Bundesliga is where it’s at. If you want an even league when the bottom teams can mix it with the top teams, the Bundesliga is where it’s at.
    If you want a league where fans can still stand and can still
    drink beer at games, the Bundesliga is where it’s at.
    If you want a league that has not priced itself out of the budgets of students and the working class, the Bundesliga is again where it’s at.
    If you want a league where young players are blooded with frightening regularity, again the Bundesliga is where it’s at”

    Sorry for my junks this morning.

    Just saying you don’t have to spend like City to be successful. And the fans don’t have to be served junks cos you are doing things “the right way”.

  69. indian gooner

    You have ripped it apart man..Take a bow.I have been trying to say similar things and get rebuked either in forums or my opinions are moderated:(
    A few points to add to your analysis.

    a)Why are most of our players so one footed?Can anyone other than santi make a pass with his weak foot or score a goal?Jenkinson losing the ball against swansea was a perfect example of a player unable to handle the ball in the other foot, not being able to dribble his way out or control the ball in a tight situation.How many times do we see a barcelona player get caught like our players?Very few. Even defenders and goalkeepers in barcelona seem to be able to play with both feet. Most of their players are from the academy and seem to be trained to do this.Why cant we blindly copy some of those training methods to bring about two footed players all over the pitch?

    b)Why havent we gotten rid of the dead wood?Why cant we right them off? like we did with park? They are hangers on and are definitely a bad psychological influence on the rest of the team.The team has to know that there is no place for mediocrity here.Instead, we are rewarding mediocrity with longer contracts.

    c) Wenger throwing away cups has slowly made the team forget what winning means. The psychological strength that wenger harps about is actually lacking in him. When we threw away the CC against chelsea( 2008 i think) by fielding young players, imagine how the seniors would have felt. they hadnt won anything in 3 years and yet the manager decided to field a young team that had won nothing till then against a solid team of pros. Likewise AW threw the match against chelsea in the next years FA cup when he didnt field Arshavin.His response was “I wanted the team to know that they could beat chelsea without arshavin”.What a pathetic excuse. This is why cesc left and this is why rvp left. We may hate them all for backstabbing the hand that fed them, but they considered it as escaping the ghetto..I dont see anything wrong with that.

    d)Lack of fresh blood in every aspect of the team, right from the coaches to including ex players to be ambassadors for the team. This gives the players a sense of belongingness.Remember how we went with a measly defence during the 2006 run to CL final?It was the work of keown. why wasnt he hired full time or atleast as a consultant?I think it has to do with AW’s desire to be the centre piece of attraction if and when we get the trophy he has been promising us.

    Unfortunately we wont win anything under this has been. Maybe the only way we get the message across to the board is by refusing to attend matches.
    We take 1 step backwards to move 2 forwards. Let the revolution begin.

  70. st34

    Excellent post!!!

    December 3, 2012 10:00:17

    “…It happens in every sport at some point once it has matured. People stop relying on instincts and start using data & computing power.

    Its not long before computer programs will be doing half a managers job. Analysing fitness, analysing opponents weaknesses and coming up with tactics & scouting/recommending players.”
    Totally agree mate!

    By the way, if you like betting – check out this website:

  71. gambon


    Wenger earns more than his rival managers

    Moral reasons have nothing to do with it.

    Is it any wonder Arsenal feel they can mug us all off, when the fans pretend we are Charlton or Crystal Palace.

  72. home and away

    cubDecember 3, 2012 10:38:09
    We all need to show support for the team and stay positive.

    Stay positive ? you fucking simpleton – People here are supporting the Team and The club by looking at the root of what is slowly killing it can’t you see that ?

  73. Ric

    gambonDecember 3, 2012 11:30:07



    I know you for one Gambon was never vocally supportive of getting rid of RVP, especially to manure, but I can’t remember you rushing to his defence as people where calling both him and his support traitors either.

  74. bergkamp63

    In a perverse way RVP prolonged our agony ? If he hadn’t scored all those goals last season, we would have finished 8th or worse !!

  75. mystic

    ‘And RVP deserves an apology from many on here for simply telling it how it is.’

    Why? Because Cazorla and Podolski wouldn’t have benefited from playing with someone like him? Because Arsenal wouldn’t have benefited from him staying and playing with the new recruits?

    Why does he deserve an apology, because he thought that incoming players with over 150 international caps (for Germany and Spain) between them was too inadequate to team up with?

    RvP leaving hasn’t done anything but weaken the team and frankly I don’t give a fuck about how put out the individual might have felt , I support Arsenal and any player who wants out is a wanker, little better than those fuckers who are systematically killing the club.

  76. Johnty79

    All those who think pep would consider joinng arsenal need there bloody head testing. Chelsea r offering him 15m a year and he hasn’t snapped there hands off. Klopp doesn’t know the premierleague and the Dortmund players wouldn’t leave there for us why should they. There average crowd is bigger than us. And you could argue they are a bigger club than us.

    Only Martinez, laudrup and dimatteo r realistic managers. The most import thing for any manager who comes n is to cut the wage bill from 157m( this years predicted) and drop that to 120m by getting rid of the shit


    That is 25m off the wage bill straight away. Offer koisceny a new contract at half the money.

    Just to put it into context. Shawcross has just signed a 6 year contract for a reported 27k aweek. He is better than. All our centre halfs.

    Wake up and get real.

  77. Cloggs

    Couldn’t refrain myself , so I gave him some flak, what a complete imbecile.
    Lady Arse is a frustrated pathetic attention seeking dyke who knows nothing about footy and has adopted Willie Wonga as her father-figure.

  78. Johnty79

    Rvp should have come out and said the truth I.e I ain’t playing with shit anymore earning almost the same amount of money as me.

  79. Joppa Road

    Wenger “Do the fans think throwing money at the situation will solve all our problems?” (Or words to that effect).

    NO NO NO NO Wenger. I don’t want you throwing money at anything. Fkin hell, we’ve seen what happens when you throw money at players, we get Bendtner, Gervinho, Denilson, Park, Schiilachi, Diaby, Rosicky, Manone, Fabianski, etc etc etc.

    What will help though Wenger, is you fkin off now you half way to completely wrecking our whole team.

    People say “Be careful what you wish for”.

    Fck off you muppets. I wouldn’t give a shit if for example Arsenal gave Tony Adams the job and we finished 10th because it would back to being about Arsenal and not Wenger. We would have a soul back.

    Wenger is at one of the biggest clubs in the world, has delivered fck all for 8 years, highest paid manager, has wrecked the squad by selling all our prize assets and you get the same old cunts defending him. WTF?

  80. Johnty79

    Djourou 55k aweek to be a Moral officer at arsenal. Well done arsenal.

    Gambon gazidas is the man who ultimately sanctions these wages. The spurs chairman would have him on 10k aweek max.

  81. Ric

    bergkamp63December 3, 2012 11:57:55

    I remember him being silent when me and SDE had to take an unrelenting shitstorm which ultimately led to me being banned until you guys convinced Pedro to let me back on.

    I rememeber gambon actually made the point of how we could not hope to fill the gap in points RVP would leave. But I don’t automatically equate that to standing on the breeches against his peers.

    He’s grown increasingly more vocal in support for RVP as our season has looked ever increasingly more futile, but so has most of the people on here including Pedro.

  82. Ric

    mysticDecember 3, 2012 12:01:20

    You on the other hand I remember would torch Gunnersauros as long as you had a friend nearby to call him traitor.

  83. Cloggs

    Last Saturday;
    Barca Win (Cesc 2x)
    Utd Win (RvP 1x)
    Those wankers will probably be lifting a trophy at the end of the season.

  84. mystic

    Just read blog that says
    ‘ and The Met Police said there was around 2000 on the march,’ so maybe it pulled in more than your sources have suggested?

  85. Joppa Road

    He needs to hear it Cloggs. Never thought the day would come when Arsenal fans would be more deluded than Spurs fans – but the majority of Arsenal fans have surpassed anything Spurs supporters have been guilty of in the past.

  86. Leedsgunner

    The BEST post I’ve read on this blog since I started reading. If “Exciting summer of transfers” Gazidas is stratching his bald stump of a head — he needs to look no further this morning’s post. The sad thing is we all know they won’t. They’re are so far up their own a**** — that’s why The Lot speak s*** all the time. Just wait, they will wait for one positive result and repeat the well worn lies of “positivity”, ‘mental strength’ and the important of “belief” — whilst conveniently forgetting results like Saturday, or the one before, or the one before… etc. That’s why it is important for us, those who bleed AFC to not let them, forget. Ever.

    All together now,


  87. Dony

    Pedro, good write-up but we won’t get Pep.

    Pep is a winner and Kroenke is not. Pep won’t be given the kind of money he needs to build a squad with real quality, one that’s capable of challenging for the PL title and CL.

    Kroenke is into Arsenal as an investment. It’s not a passion. He wants to play ‘moneyball’….find quality players at a bargain price. This is why wenger and kroenke are perfect together.

  88. bergkamp63


    I think you will find that Gambon & myself were supportive of RVP leaving against many.

    I never blamed him for going for one minute, why should he stay, he has a family and a living to make the same as the rest of us. Why should he not get one big paycheck and go and have a chance of actually winning something big with a real club with ambition, if he stayed, he would be on half the money and surrounded by shit !!

    Good luck to him and thanks for providing us with CL football this year. Him winning the PL this year is just two fingers up to Wenger & the Arsenal BOD’s and that’s fine by me if that adds to chance of change at my club.

  89. Keyser

    Joppy mate, that’s the funniest thing, getting all political, maybe you could’ve provided a leaflet with your own itemised list of demands, maybe with Wengers face on the front, a red circle with a line through it diagonally covering his face.

    Underneath you could’ve had..


  90. guns of hackney

    Lay off Arsene, you rotters. The man has done more for this club than anyone. I’m prepared to wait another 7 years if it means we can sustain ourselves.

    I cringe when I read the comments on here.

  91. gambon


    Youve lost it. I made the point on here over and over that if RVP is a cunt then so is every player weve ever bought.