Ivan says, ‘let them walk!’ | Sagna not Bac next season….

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Welcome to the Tuesday post. I had the worst nights sleep. If I could cancel anything out of my life, it’d be sleep. The human mind is a bastard, it needs a switch off button for procrastination. I wish we had more in common with dolphins, always awake… 8 hours on, 8 hours off on a split brain operation. Wouldn’t that be great. An AKB side of the brain / A realist side of the brain. You’d have to much fun… especially if your brain shared the same Twitter account.

Anyway, you don’t want to know my thoughts on split brain social media, you want to know what I did last night. Right? Oh I see… well tough.

I went to an AST meeting to listen to Paddy Barclay chat about Herbert Chapman. I haven’t really been a fan of his work, mainly because of the huge sway in his writing towards Arsene Wenger. I still went though, because hey, adults go and listen to people who have a different opinions. I was pleasantly surprised as well, he’s a smartly dressed (plenty of journo’s rock the wedding suit and tie combo from 1996) font of knowledge when it comes to Arsenal and their history . Also, his opinion is far more blunt than it comes across in the paper.

He basically started writing a book on Herbert Chapman because his die hard season ticket holding pal was so sick of Arsene Wenger, the club and how it’s run, he wanted to read something pleasing. What could be more pleasing than reading about one of the greatest managers of all time taking the club to heights we’ve probably never hit since.

I don’t want to spoil the book, because to spoil it, I’d probably have to read it… but some reasons to pick up a copy:

  • Herbert Chapman was one of the first managers to adopt tactics. He was a total visionary. He was the pioneer of playing between the lines and counter attacking play
  • He chose Arsenal because he wanted to make us the ‘Newcastle of the South’
  • If he was around today, he’d have been making bids for Christiano and Messi. He loved to make a splash and believed in having the best players money could buy
  • His mindset was more Mourinho than Arsene Wenger. He was there to win. Which he did.
  • @DarrenArsenal1 from Twitter, reckons it’s the best book on Arsenal he’s read. He apparently has every single Arsenal book every printed. High praise.
  • Buy the book here if you like….

It was also interesting listening to Mr Barclay chat after about the situation on Arsenal. Now, I don’t blow smoke up journalists backsides, but I’m always fascinated by their motives. I write what I like because my only motive is maintaining an honest blog. If I upset the club, it doesn’t affect my life. If the players don’t like me, I don’t care. I don’t need to placate people either way because this is my hobby. All I care about as a blogger is that 95% of you who come here know that whatever I pen comes from the heart of a fan, whether you agree or not.

Now, I think it was last year, or maybe the year before, I remember penning a takedown of one of his articles that centred around ‘Arsenal fans should count their lucky stars they have Arsene as a manager’… despite us underperforming massively. Paddy said that was the only time he’d lied about his feelings because he didn’t believe his words. He also intimated that he doesn’t hold out much hope this season. He had some stat that said if you totted up our points against the teams that were in the league last year in the corresponding games and took out the three teams that had come up, we’re three points worse off.

He also echoed many sentiments this site has flagged, highlighting the interesting point that no one ever comes in for our backroom staff… and that our policy for buying players is massively flawed. He also thought that Arsenal would collapse if Arsene left, which I whole heartedly disagree with. His mindset was that we have a lot of dross on staggering wages… likening us to a ‘job scheme’, so if Wenger left, they’d see the gravy train leave and down tools.

These are all issues we know too well, it’s just interesting to hear it from a seasoned writer. But it’s also interesting to hear how these writers will back people they like. When you’re too close to the action, you can be swayed… and look, I felt the burn of that last summer. You get taken in by the club, you hear the schmooze and you nearly end up looking like a massive patsy.

Nothing is more valuable in the crowded world of publishing than information… if someone has control over the flow of that and you need it to survive, you’ll do anything to keep it going.

Anyway, outside that, I met some lovely people as always. Meeting up with Arsenal fans you’ve conversed with online is like the worst kind of online dating in a way. However, it’s always nice when people are normal. I’d strongly recommend to anyone joining the AST. The access is fantastic if you’re an Arsenal geek.

Onto other news of  a ball ache nature… Arsenal, under no pressure from BT Sport are pushing ahead with the game against United on Wednesday despite the strike going ahead. In typical, ‘let them eat cake‘ fashion, the club have suggested fans walk from Liverpool St (3.5miles), Euston (3 miles) and Kings Cross (2miles). That’ll be grand eh? I wonder if Ivan will be walking?

If I were Arsene Wenger, after that performance at the weekend, I’d be looking to push for the rest. From a tactical perspective, it’d be great to get some energy back in those legs after the battering of the weekend. It’d also give us some mental rest. It’d also be nice if Arsenal considered all the fans that have to craft  a way of getting back in the freezing cold…

In contract news, Arsenal appear to have bodged the Sagna contract situation. One of our most consistent performers of the last 5 years has apparently rejected a new deal because Arsenal left it too late. Typical Arsene Wenger. He never learns when it comes to experienced players. Now, if this happens, we face the prospect of having to recruit two new right backs this summer… and we haemorrhage the experience of a player who oozes Arsenal and class. Really upsetting.

Final bit of a chat for you, my favourite football show, ‘The Footballers Football Show‘ aired a programme last night that had fitness experts from Liverpool, United and Leeds. Brilliant viewing for anyone who has a passion for the geekery that goes on behind the scenes. Hey, they even brought up the much maligned redzone! It was interesting listening to how clubs use data. The jist with the panel was that data isn’t there to tell a manager how to pick his team, it’s there to mitigate risk. Arsene has this data available to him, but it’s quite clear he prizes points over the health of his team. Brendan Rodgers is far more attuned to data than Arsene is, but that’s because he’s younger. I’m more attuned to technology than guys 30 years older than me. Rodgers also has something to prove, Wenger doesn’t… well, he doesn’t think he has to at least.

I guess the key thing about football nowadays is that there aren’t any excuses when it comes to fitness. If your team lacks energy on the pitch, that’s a management issue. If you team has more injuries than another side, that’s a management issue. The success of a football club is so much more than the manager nowadays. To be a brilliant team that functions at peak physical condition every game, you have to have a manager that cedes some of his gut feel decision making to experts around him. That’s what Ferguson does brilliantly, that’s what we’re seeing Rodgers doing brilliantly despite having a side that aren’t the best…. that’s what we’ve always seen Jose do. The state our squad is in at the moment isn’t an accident or bad luck… it’s poor management that’s been there for all to see this season. You’ll never win the league with a squad that is small. You’ll never win the league if other top quality teams have fresher players.

That’s me done for today, I’m off to buy some sensible shoes for the massive walk I have tomorrow.

Have a beautiful day!

 

854 Responses to “Ivan says, ‘let them walk!’ | Sagna not Bac next season….”

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  1. ArseneWengerNose

    “hackneylad February 11, 2014 23:34:40
    Arsene Wenger Nose Best

    I would probably orgasm from seeing the horror on RVP’s face at scoring for Arsenal again ahahah”

    It will be better than Henry’s last minute header against them in his last season, wouldn’t it?

  2. MarbleHall

    I have thought hard and Ramsey was on the wane well before his injury.
    Physically he dropped off so that point about him having the energy to hold his own in midfield don’t hold no water with me.

  3. ArseneWengerNose

    “Same Story February 11, 2014 23:41:05
    We’ve played United 21 times at home since the beginning of the Premier League, we’ve won 7 while they’ve won 6.”

    Most losses at the Emirates surely.

  4. WengerEagle

    Same Story

    That’s a terrible home record considering that includes the Invincibles. You have to be beating your rivals consistently at home to give yourself a fighting chance, an away win against them is a bonus.

  5. tunnygriffboy

    Wonder how many assists Ozil made for Ramsey ? Ramsey has become proficient at late runs into the box and behind oppos defences. We have so much missed this. Also I remember a really good 1st time pass from the byline by Ramsey for one of Ozil’s goals v Norwich. Ozil certainly smiled then. Wonder if he’s missing Rambo and their synergy. Walcott would have really prospered this season as well.

  6. Keyser

    Dan Ahern – Heh, yeah but what makes you think one player would excel over another in any position, with the players we have there’s give and take to all of them, there’s just not enough of the exceptional to make you think this one stakes his place.

    Fuck think I almost wiped Liverpool entirely from memory, totally forgot we had them in the FA Cup again.

    All I’d take from tomorrow is that we get our passing going again, build up some confidence in that respect, and then see where it takes us, the rest there’s going to be a proportion of luck attached to it. I don’t think Ozil could have such a bad game again if he tried, but his confidence may have taken a shot.

  7. ArseneWengerNose

    “tunnygriffboy February 11, 2014 23:46:26
    Wonder how many assists Ozil made for Ramsey ? Ramsey has become proficient at late runs into the box and behind oppos defences. We have so much missed this. Also I remember a really good 1st time pass from the byline by Ramsey for one of Ozil’s goals v Norwich. Ozil certainly smiled then. Wonder if he’s missing Rambo and their synergy. Walcott would have really prospered this season as well.”

    One of the last memorable moments for the two was against Hull. That second goal scored by Ozil. The passing and the movement on that play was exactly what we sorely miss right now.

  8. Keyser

    WengerEagle – Silva had plenty of question marks over his head when he moved and I remember Cesc being questioned to, I just think it’s hard to judge individuals completely if they play fort eams like Madrid, Kaka wasn’t just quiet when he went there, he might’ve been reported as a missing person.

    Overall it is the balance of the team, seriously it wasn’t the greatest team, people still thought we were 2-3 players short, but the team with Fabregas, Nasri, Van Persie, had it in them to be great, right age, and the balance was almost spot on, add Ozil or the Ramsey we see today to that and you’ve got probably a title winning team.

  9. WengerEagle

    And our record at Old Trafford since 2006 has been nothing short of pitiful:

    2013/14- Lost 1-0
    2012/13- Lost 2-1
    2011/12- Lost 8-2
    2010/11- Lost 1-0, Lost 2-0 (F.A Cup)
    2009/10- Lost 2-1
    2008/09- Drew 0-0 (United had already won the league), Lost 1-0 in the UCL
    2007/08- Lost 2-1, Lost 4-0 (F.A Cup).

    9 defeats and a draw in our last 10 matches at Old Trafford.

  10. hackneylad

    Very good points about Ozil and Ramsey

    They by far have struck up the best partnerships out of all the attacking players.

    Shows how quality Ramsey is that he has a better bond/ understanding with Ozil than even Cazorla and Jack.

  11. Romford Pele

    The problem with Ozil is that most still don’t understand his function. The dude is a quality player. Sure, he needs to get stronger – Wenger has admitted he’s working on his upper body strength. But you give him the right tools and watch him blossom. Fatigue has probably got to him to an extent too, he hardly ever completed 90 mins at Madrid and he’s playing in a more physically demanding league.

    I’m not really worried about him. As I said before, Arsenal fans always need someone to blame. Used to be Kos, Ramsey, now it’s Ozil and JW. Not bothered in the slightest though.

  12. Dan Ahern

    Keyser “Dan Ahern – Heh, yeah but what makes you think one player would excel over another in any position”

    I dunno, because they are different players with different attributes?

    For instance I’d play Wilshere on the right so he has less defensive duty. I’d put Rosicky middle with Arteta as he can pirouette and pass out of pressure like Wilshere, but is more tenacious recovering the ball and doesn’t have temper issues. He is wiser when passing out of danger vs. Wilshere who takes men on too often for my liking.

  13. hackneylad

    Wenger Eagle

    They no longer have Fergie as manager things can change its time for the lads to prove it I am doubtful but if there was ever gone be a time its tomorrow.

    I think the reason we lose big games against all top sides is Man United its the demon on our shoulder the monkey on our back.

    We need to rip that monkey of our back and beat the utter shit out of it so it’s sipping banna’s from a straw for next 3 weeks.

  14. ArseneWengerNose

    @WengerEagle
    That actually hurt my eyes. What an awful record. Let me see if I can remember correctly, our last win at Old Trafford was 1-0 in 2005, Adebawhore scored, and Gilberto Silva missed a penalty. One thing I also remember is that was our first win in the league that year.

    The most heartbreaking defeat of the list you posted is by far losing 2-1 in 2008, the season was going to fuck after so much promise, and Hargreves killed us with a freekick. Adebawhore also scored, using his hand.

    @MarbleHall
    Transfer list that mother!

  15. tunnygriffboy

    Hackney

    Agree re Ozil and Rambo having best combo of ourmidfielders. Ramsey much more mobile than Jack and Santi, quicker as well. Can give person with ball more options. Ox did start making runs in behind and driving forward with ball vPalace and bagged himself a brace.

  16. hackneylad

    Romford Pele

    I think most do understand OZil on this blog maybe not the norm Arsenal fan but on the blog everyone understands his a WC player whose more deadly efficient machine than flashy flair maestro.

    What people are questioning is his work rate and his attitude and they have every reason to.

    I think people need to stop trying defend him because no one is suggesting that he is to blame for all our problems or that he was the sole reason for our loss against Liverpool or that he is overrated or should be sold that would be ludicrous.

    But people are questioning his attitude and his work ethic which they should, of course he may need time to adjust the way he plays his game to the premier league and to Arsenal and he may need better players around him.

    And personally I don’t and never did expect him to single handedly win games

    But it’s his attitude which at times has been poor.

    And the fact remains he does go missing in big games for Real Madrid it was well known so why is such a stretch to think his going missing in games for Arsenal as well?

  17. Bamford13

    We’ll be fortunate to draw tomorrow. United have had our number for some time now. Only thing we have going for us is fact that they may be a little tired.

    If I were manager, I’d throw caution to the wind and start as follows:

    ________________________Szcz__________________________
    Sag____________Mer_____________Kos____________Gibbs
    __________________Jack_________Ox____________________
    Ozil___________________Cazor____________________Podol
    ________________________NB52_________________________

    1. Jack and Ox can together do all of the work Arteta is supposed to do.
    2. This central three has a lot of chemistry and would be creative, dynamic.
    3. Ox has shown he is good through the center.
    4. Ozil needs something different and has played wide at Madrid.
    5. United like attacking down the wings so it’d be good to have athletes out wide.
    6. Anyone but Giroud. At moment that means Bendtner.

    This side, I think, draws with United 1-1 or wins 3-1 in a match to remember. Sadly Wenger will start Arteta tomorrow, we will be lackluster and will either draw 0-0 or lose 1 or 2-0.

  18. WengerEagle

    Romford

    RE Ozil yes I think he won’t play to his full potential until we get Theo and Ramsey back and we sign a couple of athletic attacking players in the summer.

    The reason he is being criticised is because he has been one of our worst players in the last number of weeks. He shouldn’t be immune to criticism as constructive criticism is healthy for any player, it lights a fire in their belly and motivates them to perform better.

    RE his function I appreciate what he brings to the side but he hasn’t even been doing the basics right for weeks now, his passing has been very poor in particular. I have no doubt he will improve and get back to his best, I just hope it’s sooner rather than later.

  19. salparadisenyc

    “But you give him the right tools and watch him blossom. ”

    This

    Ronaldo
    Di Maria
    Benzema
    Higuain

    Not even getting into Khedira and Alonso holding it down and giving him the freedom to attack.

  20. Keyser

    Romford Pele – “As I said before, Arsenal fans always need someone to blame.”

    This isn’t specific to Arsenal fans, this is modern football, Ozil can take the premiership by storm and be deemed a flop 5 months later according to the press.

    The Liverpool game was worrying because his passing is one of the stronger aspects of his game, if it was a one-off he’ll have plenty of game to show otherwise, it’s not a massive worry, but you have to ask how he can be soo lax in a game of such magnitude, Could be fatigue and so on also.

    Also this ‘tool’s thing, Real Madrid shouldn’t really be a judge for any player, he could’ve stood on his head and got the stats he did, it’s how he adapts to who he’s playing with now, what made Fabregas, Van Persie and others stand out before them was that regardless of the tools, they excelled.

    If Ozil’s waiting around for others to get the best out of him, he’s going to fall short, he should be trying to learn, to work out how he’s going to make the most of his assets regardless.

  21. tunnygriffboy

    Romford

    Agree with you re Ozil. He’s missed Rambo as well. Also the player we were most looking forward to him linking with was Theo. That’s why we need bit more pacein the team this summer ( not withstanding proper DM ).

    Who are we going to use to run in behind Evra tomorrow ?

  22. Sensible old man

    We had the chance to win at OT and break that duck against this shit Utd team and we failed as usual. Tbh it doesn’t matter if we win or lose – if we win and go top we all know it’ll be the usual false dawn and we’ll collapse again a few weeks later. It would be nice to FINALLY beat that scum though.

  23. WengerEagle

    Bamford

    Bendtner is just not good enough, I’d rather we played Gnabry through the middle for a mobile 4-3-3 with Podolski-Gnabry-Ox as our front 3 with Wilshere-Rosicky and Ozil as our midfield 3.

    Honestly Gnabry couldn’t be any worse through the middle than Bendtner or Giroud

  24. Romford Pele

    Hackney,

    He was poor like many others at the weekend, and he’ll have off days like all players do but his work rate and attitude isn’t in question.

    Because he has a languid and laid back style, a lot of people assume he looks disinterested, and that’s far from the case. Wenger himself alluded to it today.

    Of course I still think he can improve and I expect him to but the problems the team have don’t really start or end with him. There are numerous elements within the team that still need addressing.

    People often talk about Arsenal having a great midfield. While we have a nice collection of midfielders, it isn’t really the most cohesive unit. We’ve done well to be within a point off the top but against the top sides or energetic teams, you’ve seen our limitations exposed.

    I don’t disagree that Ozil can have poor performances but I think the media and fan reaction to him being bad is way over the top.

  25. Romford Pele

    Keyser – yes of course, knee jerk reactions are nothing new. It’s why I ignore all the BS spouted from the media.

    As I said, I don’t disagree that Ozil was poor at the weekend and I don’t disagree that he’ll have bad games.

    The point about him adjusting to his surroundings better is a valid one though both Cesc and RVP had the set up catered to get the best out of them.

    It was interesting to hear Wenger say he thinks Ozil can score more and I think that’s a valid point. Still, I think people are blowing stuff way over the top for someone who had no pre-season, no winter break, is still getting to grips with a new culture etc having been here less than a year.

  26. salparadisenyc

    That said their seems to be a frustration building in the player and certainly this must come into play, lack of tools at his disposal and a lack of depth thats driving him into a red zone with fitness. Can’t help but feel tomorrow is a big one for Mesut and Wenger. Another uncommitted display and serious questions going to be asked of Wengers methods and Ozils commitment to the squad.

  27. Keyser

    Dan Ahern – Over the course of this season even parts of last, how many different midfield combinations have we had, I think we’ve got very few players who would hold down a place regardless of who was fit, the others have mixed and matched all year, we’ve ground out results based on defensive solidity and that one bit of creativity from numerous players that has got us the odd goal.

    We’ve rarely looked completely blitzed or destroyed a team, scored more than 2-3 goals, or won by more than 2 goals.

    Overall what’s got us here has been our passing and creativity as a team and our ability to hold on to a lead, arguably not against the greatest of teams.

    There’s give and take to all the players, Rosicky can’t sustain it for full match’s, Arteta’s experience is countered by his ageing legs and his lack of pace, Wilshere’s ability on the ball goes for and against him like you’ve described.

    What I want most is for us to get some of the fluidity back, even if it’s with as much caution as we’ve shown over the past few months.

  28. Keyser

    Romford Pele –

    Compare the players Fabregas, Van Persie worked with over the course of their careers with us, and then try to stack that up against the supposed ‘tools’ he had at Madrid, I don’t think Ozil grew much at all at Madrid, how could he ? That’s what’s annoying, it’s like completely writing him off as a player if he needs the sort of players he had at Madrid to progress, I seriously doubt we’re going to be anything like them anytime soon, nor would I want us to be if I’m honest.

    Regardless Ozil needs to grow, he needs to improve, he should be frustrated with himself, and that’s all really, the rest if up to people whether they’re willing to give him the time he needs.

  29. Romford Pele

    Keyser, I’m not asking for us to have Ronaldo etc in the team. And I do agree that Ozil’s job at Madrid was made easier by the personnel around him.

    What I want is for players with different traits in the team to compliment him more. Theo and Ramsey are the obvious shouts. The latter struck up a very good rapport with Ozil in the first half of the season but that’s not really a surprise it. The Theo-Ozil partnership should work in theory but we have to see how that pans out. A DM and a striker helps this process along as well in improving the team as a whole.

    Now this isn’t to say that Ozil is immune from criticism. I expect him to continue growing. I think this is a good challenge for him, and one that I hope/am sure he’ll embrace. Naturally there’ll be pressure on him because of his price tag but I’ve been generally impressed with his level of performance thus far.

  30. ArseneWengerNose

    The who racist crap with Balotelli and Italian fans is really ugly, it’s like Britain 20-30 years ago.

    Come to Arsenal Mario!

  31. Dan Ahern

    Keyser — I would like us to regain fluidity as well. We often look lacking in the inspiration department. I think it’s related to something else you brought up–lots of similar skill sets. We tend to have lots of players that want to collect the ball, or have it passed to them so they can create from there. But few players who make runs in behind, stretch the defense, or anticipate space that could be exploited. Our off-the-ball game gets a little stagnant and lacks speed, so most of what we create is based on short tight movements. Nothing wrong with that in and of itself, but now we don’t even really have the option of playing another way.

  32. Keyser

    Romford Pele – I dunno what it is, there’s something that grates at me, kind of like the Real Madrid thing, that somehow not only should we be priviledged that he chose us but also we should provide him with the ‘tool’s to succeed, ie the players he worked with there.

    If he genuinely felt like that, I’d say sell him on the spot, I don’t think he feels that way, and I can’t for the life of me think why people would want him to.

    He’s 25, and hopefully he’ll be here for years yet, he’ll have enough time, and even more so if we can add to the team, rather than see it look promising and then end up selling players like we have in the past.

  33. Keyser

    Dan Ahern – That’s pretty much it, in a far less antagonistic way then I might have put it.

    I think it’s just the way the season’s worked out, we started the year with Podolski, Ox and Theo missing large chunks, along with Cazorla, on their own that might not be significant, but when you want to stretch tired defences, the former 3 would’ve been invaluable to give the others a rest.

    We worked around that well, kept ourselves in it.

    In the end, with the group of death and so on Ramsey ran till he dropped and now we’ve got Ox and Podoslki back but we’re missing other key players, all year the balance hasn’t been quite right. To get the most efficient combination out of the players we have.

    There’s promise there, hopefully there is a reaction tomorrow, I’m not holding my breath though.

  34. BacaryisGod

    For all the people knocking Ozil, let’s just consider one alternative scenario that many fans were slamming the club for not executing on one or both of the below players:

    Ozil: 42.5 million approx
    Soldado and Lamela: 52.5 million approx

    It still amazes me how Spurs could have practically thrown away all that Bale transfer money.

    Chadli/Erikson/Paulinho/Soldado/Lamela/Capoue/Chiriches

    Insane.

  35. Dan Ahern

    Keyser — That’s why the January window was maddening. You lose Theo, you don’t trust Poldi, you have no speed at CF… but you don’t buy anybody. I guess Gnabry’s expected to make the leap in his first year.

  36. salparadisenyc

    Keyser

    I agree with the privileged Real Madrid portion of that, we should be so blessed to have him is bollocks. As for providing Ozil with a ‘tool’ to excel that should be Arsene and his scouting departments first thought. Who can we bring in to maximize Ozil’s play and make us a more dynamic threat. You don’t put that kind of outlay into a #10 without basing your setup around him. Surely there was a moment in procuring Ozil that Arsene said there is more to come.. a promise of sorts. Lets hope it goes unbroken, January was not a good start.

  37. MidwestGun

    Regarding Ozil:

    Ronaldo———— Theo, injured out for season, not replaced in tw
    Di Maria———– Cazorla
    Benzema———– Giroud
    Higuain———— Nick Bendtner

    Im finding it hard to see what the problem is.

  38. Keyser

    Dan Ahern – You’re not going to like my thoughts on it, for me it wasn’t maddenning at all, disappointing maybe, but expected really.

    If Theo’s out, he’s out for the next few months, he’ll probably be back for next season ? Might be too soon, but he’s still coming back, you wouldn’t really be looking for a replacement or another pacy winger ?!

    We’re looking for pretty specific players, if you can’t find them then there’s no point looking for long term solutions for short fixes, when you’ve already got soo many youngsters looking for game-time.

    The Podolski stuff for me is mostly rubbish, he’s started the last few home games, away when we need to hold on to the ball, and with the players we have fit, it’s just a matter of sticking with what’s worked, obviously that wasn’t close to enough against Liverpool.

    We need to build on efficiency, the weakest areas are defensive midfield, and striker, also we don’t need just any player, we’ve got players with potential, we need specific players, we aren’t going to have too many shots at it either.

  39. Keyser

    salparadisenyc – Mate, we’ve had the conversation, Wenger’s sold players at a profit since way back when with Anelka and his brothers agitating for a move to Real Madrid.

    For the past 8 years we’ve developed players, see them start to fulfill their potential only for them to be moved on, after 8 whole years, last summer was supposedly when the tide turned, stack up 6 months against 8 years, or even since Wenger first took over.

    We haven’t sold anyone really, and we’ve smashed our transfer record, United were spending 30 million on defenders back in 2002, 12 years later we’ve finally spent over 15 million for one player.

    We weren’t ever going to turn everything on it’s head in one season let alone one window, remember all the fuss about the ‘English core’ thing, we gave Ramsey another 5 year contract and no-one could understand why.

    People can’t have it all, you can’t say find these players, spend the money it takes to get them and then not appreciate how difficult it is.

    We need specific players for specific positions, I’d rather we made do until we find them, rather than take too many more risks we can’t afford.

    It’s a bit like Ozil, you don’t buy him as a start, you hope he’s good enough on his own to start to adapt, and then see what else you can find, it’s one player out of 25, how much focus can you put on him ?

    He’s the most expensive player in our history, by a long long margin, at Madrid he probably wasn’t even in the top 20.

    Right now Ozil’s had it easier than some of the other stars that have left, Fabregas was thrust in at 16, Captain, by what 20 ? I can’t remember.

  40. gnarleygeorge9

    If Arsene Wenger goes into tomorrows game against man u with the mind set that he is playing for 4th, he will win. In fact if he adopts the mind set for the rest of the season that he is playing for 4th he should grind out enough points to, dare I say it, win The Title.

  41. salparadisenyc

    Keyser

    Yes we’ve hashed the transfer spend out ad nauseam and I agree with many of those points. Meant it more in terms of finding the right balance with Ozil, less in terms of the big names. Personally I’d like Wenger to commit to the now instead of the the 5 year plan and I know full well the only reason were able to pull Ozil was by not doing the opposite of that. At a certain point the dice need to be rolled, were a big club we can sustain it we’ve got Mesut fucking Ozil lets buy a Gustavo or Lars Bender to enable him to fully express himself at what he’s good at. What he’s made name for himself doing attacking and assisting with ridiculous passing. I’m thinking leaving Gareth Barry for dead and putting a perfect ball onto Mullers feet for the 3rd or maybe 4th in 2010 at pace. Can’t help but think all his ‘duties’ are nullifying it.

  42. Keyser

    salparadisenyc – I understood what you mean’t just that the chasm to Madrid is soo vast that Ozil will have to meet us somewhere in the middle, it’s almost soo big that’s it’s not worth mentioning, like Germany for instance.

    He had a name before he went to Madrid, I remember 2-3 years before he left Barry on his ass, not sure if it was that long before, but him and the rest of the Germany under-21’s tore England apart in one of the under-21 tournaments.

    I don’t think he’s grown much since then, there’s been development, but if he’d gone to a team that had asked much more of him as an individual he might’ve shown the sort of ability to affect a game on his own that players like Fabregas had, rather than getting this name for being quiet in the big games.

    At the end of the day, it’s been a long and arduous time since we last won a trophy, everything the club has done has been so they don’t have to roll the dice, or take punts on kids with potential, that firstly we can find someone for 40 million, and then maybe keep them long enough to get the most out of them.

    We’re finally at that point, and I understand people wanting to finally feel the relief of being able to compete, I just don’t think it’s going to happen quite as quick as people want.

  43. salparadisenyc

    ” I just don’t think it’s going to happen quite as quick as people want.”

    That is the horror of it.

    In the end spending an additional £7 million to land a Lars Bender is what I meant by rolling the dice. Wenger seems challenged with the bigger picture and
    need to spend that wee bit over “his “valuation to land a very needed player. That can kick the whole thing off.

    I thought we’d sign Ozil from Bremen, also thought we’d land Ronaldo from Sporting, and Ronaldhino from Gremio then PSG. Lets not even get into Xavi Alonso. In the end a win tomorrow puts us top of the table, with uneventful football with little offense. What the fuck do we know?

  44. Keyser

    salparadisenyc – That’s the horror and the reality of it all.

    To be honest I think Wenger appreciates the bigger picture more than most, you could almost say he’s scared of it, he know’s the likelihood of us finding the one player that will decide titles rather than the 4-5 that just waste away into nothing is soo miniscule that he’s reluctant because of it.

    You can look at it from either perspective, the extra 15-20 million for Lars Bender, there’s no guarantee that he will fulfill any potential, or be enough anyway.

    That’s the bigger picture, I mean Mourinho’s complaining about Citeh’s spending now, that’s mental, just like he can be a tactical genius against Citeh and then be out tic-tac’ed by Allardiche and Pepe Mel.

    I didn’t think we’d sign any of those players not sure why you did, if we’re top tomorrow, you’ll have seen football at it’s rawest, I mean they’ve laid everything bare this year, they’ve given as much as most of them could.

  45. MidwestGun

    The beauty of that tie today, besides the obvious dropping of points, and giving us the ability to go top, is that I get a reprieve from all the Mourinho man love that was going on here even if its temporary.

    At one point after the Man City game I thought we were gonna hear some version of that annoying. JOOOOOOOSSSSSEEEEE MOUUURINHOOOO chant on here.

    Hopefully, Ivanovich went back into the changing room after the match and punched him in his smug face for me.

  46. salparadisenyc

    KeyserFebruary 12, 2014 03:16:06

    A late night for you captain.
    My old man and I bond via Arsenal Gossip, he’s 71.
    He was convinced Ronaldinho was in from PSG.
    Im going to go smoke a splif.

    I’d love nailing a wounded United to the dart board tomorrow… enjoy.

  47. salparadisenyc

    “if we’re top tomorrow, you’ll have seen football at it’s rawest, I mean they’ve laid everything bare this year, they’ve given as much as most of them could.”

    Keyser.

    Nice one but then I’m stoned and dethroned.

    Allardiche.. hehehe.

  48. Simon

    I was just looking at that bbc Ozil comparison of beginning of season and most recent games… If you adjust it for minutes on the pitch so that the stats are actually comparable (who expects someone to have score the same number of goals in 12 games as in 8!) then while there is a clear drop in form it’s not as marked. His chances created is pretty similar for instance. He’d have bagged another goal at least. Hoping he absolutely smashes it today in any event.

  49. Savage

    If United lose tonight, which is a clear possibility, they are as close to 9th as they are to 6th. Southampton now only 2 points behind.

    I don’t think this season will be defined by the game tonight. I think it will be decided by the games against Chelsea and City. Whatever we do tonight will be pointless if we lose those two, and if we lose tonight, we could still win it by winning those two.

    But boy would I love a win tonight, and it would send confidence through the roof. A good win tonight will pretty much banish the Liverpool result.

  50. Leedsgunner

    Simon @0734

    That is funny. Then when we meet the little horse, we should shoot it and send it to the glue factory 😉

  51. Simon

    Simon : I don’t think that this perspective will motivate the players more than that.

    Thanks Sylvain. Admittedly it might be more for me. Love idea of Man U trying to rebuild without being in the champions league.

  52. Gladwyn

    “If we beat Man U they might not make champions league. That is something worth fighting for!”

    This alone makes it a lot more scary. Have a feeling we are going to get spanked today as well.

  53. sylvain

    I don’t believe in a win tonight, not for one second.

    I will develop my arguments later.

    Oh and by the way, if we are unable to trash them tonight, we not deserv to be champs, that’s as simple than that.

  54. Simon

    Meanwhile over in Mancunia….

    FEBRUARY 12, 2014 AT 08:28
    dannysoya LOVES USAIN BOLT says:
    Whatever I think of Moyes or Cleverley I just hope we can return to our old selves very soon. If we start tonight with a win against Arsenal, it will be a miracle of epic proportions. At least give a good account of yourselves in the game. Don’t go out like wimps for the love of Christ.

    FEBRUARY 12, 2014 AT 09:00
    shaan says:
    Well @dannysoya. I just hope that we win but it is nothing more than hope and pray. The way we are playing and that nutty professor’s stubborn attitude does not provide any excitement. I dont think he will change the style or philosophy, and why should he when his plans are working (provide 100+ crosses and break all the heads).

    May be just may be I feel he wants to injure their defender by making them head the balls and when they are short of defenders, we will attack (just trying to convince myself with this stupid theory).

    FEBRUARY 12, 2014 AT 09:04
    trevor knightsmith says:
    dannysoya LOVES USAIN BOLT:

    I cannot remember the last time I had such little confidence in us getting a result as I have with tonight’s match .

    Mind you I’m beginning to feel a lot like this lately .

    My Arsenal supporting friend is being very quiet about it all , I think he thinks anything less than an easy win would be highly embarrassing .

    I think he has a point, under Moyes not only have we become a laughing stock , but a soft touch to boot .

    I just hope (without any confidence whatsoever) I have something to cheer about later .

    FEBRUARY 12, 2014 AT 09:08
    gra mar says:
    David Moyes has never won a Premier League game away from home as a manager against Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool or Man Utd (P48 W0 D18 L30).

    I still fancy us to put it up to Arsenal tonight. I can’t help but feel optimistic. Depsite Moyes and our poor form we are Manchester United. The thing is if I could choose anyone to win the league of the 4 contenders I’d pick Arsenal. I begrudgingly admire Wenger and couldn’t stomach seeing any of the other 3 do it. No doubt Mata will score the winner just to really blow Wengers top!

  55. Simon

    When it comes It will be positive. Or negative. It is always one or the other – never balanced! Makes for better journalism if not more insight!

  56. sylvain

    Me I’m not going anywhere.
    I live in france, and my last trip at the emirates, well it was long ago.

    I won’t pay this scandalous price for watch THIS.

  57. Gladwyn

    @ Simon
    I want to touch the hem of his coat.

    Spare that thought mate.

    Republik of Mancunia is all wound up today buti guess they’d have something to cheer about tonight. They always up their game against us, no matter what. Remember November when we thought we could win at Old toilet, that was our best chance and under no pressure whatsover. Today the pressure is all cranked up and you know what can happen to us when it’s like that.

  58. Musketeer

    Some of us would have predicted the Chelsea and City draws, unfortunately those of us are it would fall nicely for ‘I expect to team to respond’ opportunity.

    We were given numerous opportunities like this in 2008. This year we did not put United out of the title race, we temporarily reinstated them, we did not extend good leads over City and Chelsea when given the chance back in December, we did not derail any chance of L’pool dragging us into a battle for 3rd or 4th or even 1st.

    Now the chips fall for us to have the opportunity to still be top going into March if we beat United.

    So what will our expert bottling team do this time?

  59. sylvain

    I can only imagine what will happen if we concede an early goal…
    “Hello Sidney. Do you like scary movies ??” LOL

  60. Leedsgunner

    Gladwyn

    UNTOLD is not an Arsenal blog… it’s an “Arsene blog”… they hold worship services for Arsene there… win or lose, it’s never Arsene’s fault. It’s a cult, I tell you, a cult.

  61. Gladwyn

    @Leeds

    Sure is an Arsene blog and not an Arsenal blog.

    @ Simon

    no doubts about the heart being in the right place, but the head’s in the wrong place you think?

  62. Goongoonergone

    The only thing that’s going to happen at the end of the season is Wenger busting a gut to prevent the Spuds from stealing his fourth place trophy.