Morning sports fans, it’s Tuesday, which is technically a Monday to me and my fellow countrymen, so it’s been a tough morning. Real tough.
I missed the Wenger interview on Theo yesterday. The 20 goal man has always harboured ambition to play through the middle, and this season, he’s occasionally made a good case for that. However, Wenger has poured cold water on that dream.
‘He finished in the middle,’
‘I use him on the flank because I try to put a player in the middle who can score goals and having another player on the flank who can score it gives you a little bit of security.
‘He (Walcott) is more mature in his finishing. His goal was similar to the one he scored against Manchester United. It’s a short back lift.
‘He makes good runs and he is calm now in front of goal. When he arrived [from Southampton], in front of goal the ball could go anywhere.
‘Now you see every time he hits the target, he is forcing the keeper into a save.
‘That’s why his numbers are so much better.’
He’s banging them in from outwide because he’s more instinctive in front of goal. For me though, as a striker, he’s a long way from what you need as a loan man. All he really has is pace and a shot. He can’t hold the ball up, he can’t battle in the air and he doesn’t have that magic a player like Robin has.
So it makes sense we have a high scoring wideman.
Elsewhere, the club are about to announce their new ticketing technology. They’ve been working hard to maximise their IT infrastructure especially in that particular area.
After undertaking fan interviews, they established a few reasons fans don’t sell back to the club. It mainly centred around the worry of who would take your seat. Now, I also highlighted the sad fact that sometimes you can’t give tickets away because we’re not an attractive proposition like we were years ago… but that fell on deaf ears.
Anyway, the solution they’ve come up with centres around a friends and family list of ten. You punch into your member portal who you’d like to give your tickets to. They get an email which lets them print off a hard copy of the ticket. They can buzz into the game on the new barcode enabled ticket booths.
Good times I say. At least all that messing around with plastic tickets is wiped out! However, as I said earlier, my fear is technology isn’t the main cause of empty seats… it’s he product on the pitch.
We’ll see though. What the system does do is open the fanbase up to reward schemes. Arsenal can operate a club card scheme like all the major supermarkets. That gives Arsenal more data to improve consumption and it gives fans a reason to pull their finger out and ensure 100% capacity utilisation on their ticket… because everyone likes 15p of baked beans in the Super Store.
It also highlights the glamour ticket buyers (you know the banks who buy up huge blocks of tickets they can’t shift on)… and gives the club the chance to pressure them into using them. How that’d go down with Goldman Sachs hospitality is a different story. I’m waiting for the day when all of this can be controlled from a smartphone app. It would be nice if aside from being able to pass on your ticket to a friend, you could donate it back to the club so people could get cheap tickets on the gate, or perhaps they could go to school kids or something. This is the first step in the right direction… and it’s a positive ‘consumer first’ story.
Goal have reports running this morning that we’re after both Jovetic and Lewandowski. Now, I’d heard that we’re chasing the Dortmund forward and that we are talking to his agent. Us… and about ten other clubs. From what I’ve been told, it’s highly doubtful we’d spend the best part of £50m on two strikers. It wouldn’t make sense when you consider the holes we have in the rest of our starting 11. That said, a marquee striker and a Remy wouldn’t be too much of a stretch. I think one of the reasons Lewandowski is attracting so much interest, bar his age, clinical finishing and size… is that his contract doesn’t have much long term in it. I don’t think he’ll be going for the £40m being touted, which puts him in the reach of anyone who is willing to make a suitable bid… and match his £10m a year wage demands.
If we’re going to go big this summer and smash the wage structure… well, he’d be the striker to go for. He’d be the statement of the year. I guess it depends on many things. How attractive are Bayern to him? How much does he like being the main man? Does he want to come to London? Would he accept being part of a project? So many questions… but we’ll have to wait and see. We’ve proved over the years, if desire is there to bring someone in… we can do it. If we landed him, he’d be the biggest statements of intent since Bergkamp.
… I’m sure even the Goldman boys would turn up if he was snared.
Our keeper has been in the news again for reasons which seem to have split the fan base. Basically, he can’t keep his mouth shut. One good save and Mr Arrogant is back.
“If we win our next two games it will be enough because either Chelsea or Spurs will drop points because they play each other,”
“If you look at Chelsea’s fixtures, they have Tottenham and Everton left and they won’t be easy games. And Tottenham do not have enough quality, so there you go.”
Now, firstly, it’s quite clear Spurs do have the quality this season. The only thing that’s let them down is their size of squad really. For me, the comment is totally unnecessary and it’ll likely act as a motivating factor for the game. You can imagine AVB will have that quote pinned to the dressing room wall on Wednesday night. It’s just an unnecessary thing to have come out and said… it’s the type of quote you read and thing, ‘fu*k me, if Spurs finish ahead of us, they’ll have that on t-shirts next year’.
Anyway, it is what it is… but this ‘oh, he just loves Arsenal so much’ nonsense people peddle on his behalf really grates. Wasn’t he talking about Barcelona the last time he saved a penalty?
Right, finally, a bit of fun from one of the guys on Twitter who is a black cab driver. Can you decipher this?
‘Mate, I took 2 agents & player to Colney last Thursday from Heathrow, one agents surname Neilsen, Black German player about 25, any idea?’
Finally, on this day 2006, we played our last game at Highbury (Courtesy of @Donaldo1998). It’s been a tough slog since them… but whatever your views of the new stadium are, it was a move that needed to happen. I do wonder whether we’ll ever have the same feeling for the new place? How can the club make the match day experience more special? Or is it just providing a team that competes? It’s a tough ask. I still think they could do more with the space outside the ground. I know there are restrictions on merchandising. Couldn’t the club make an exception? Even for food stalls… if you give more reason to come to the stadium plot, surely a bi-product of that will be people there earlier and in the ground earlier?
Ok, so that’s me brain dump for this morning. Have a good one.