Happy new day to you all. The sun is out, the newsfeeds are dead, it must be summer.
That means I have to think about my content. Which is an outrageous consideration.
Anyway, what can we talk about today? Lots of things and we’ll see where we go…
Firstly, this season was quite interesting in the sense that we didn’t really see the emergence of any young talent. It’s the first time in a while nothing was really knocking on the door and nothing really came close to blowing us away.
I mean, you could talk about Yaya Sanogo. I mean, he is young, but he looks a long, long way off being the real deal. He should be out on loan. There’s Serge Gnabry, he looked great when he hit the scene, but his inclusion quickly tailed off after a couple of injuries and some ‘issues’ behind the scenes. Outside that, where are we looking? I can’t see much coming through.
… it’s like, ever since Young Guns moved to the darkside, the kids just don’t seem to be coming through.
What happened to Zelalem this season? He was the great white hope last year. He was going to be king. We were going to see him tear up the League Cup like Cesc used to.
I’ve seen nothing. I’ve been told that he’s been realatively poor for the youth team.
The only hope that I can see coming through the youth ranks is Jack Jebb, who looks like a very powerful proposition… and also Daniel Crowley, who looks excellent. He also seems to be quite into the Arsenal fandom scene as well, he was liking my training ground photos the other day. Is he trying the get me to sponsor him through Le Grove in the same way I back the Jebbster? Maybe. It’s about time we had a new youngster to get excited about, hopefully it’s this guy and Jebb.
I guess you could talk about Chamberlain coming through? I just think you lose your ‘through the ranks’ sparkle when the club spanks £15m on you. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a talent and he’s exciting, but he’s not new.
Is this lull in youth talent due to us having a massive clear out a few years ago? Is it down to our policy behind the scenes? Or is it just bad luck? Or, is it a strategic decision by the manager not to blood until players are ready?
It’ll be interesting to see how things ramp up when Joncker is onboard. From what I’ve been told, the noise around him being groomed as a future manager is total nonsense. He’s been brought in to takeover the kids, not the big boys. What is interesting is that he’s an infrastructure change. I’d like to hope the club is looking to Europe to address the first team infrastructure challenges we’re having.
If I had it my way, I’d be looking at a few things.
1. Change the culture: Two things are going on here. Either people don’t know what the f*ck they’re doing, or they know what they’re doing but they’re not given the tools to do them. Arsene needs to take his backroom team on an away day, do some kayaking and trust exercises then thrash out the issues that have occurred this season and work out how to make them better. Sometimes you have to rip it down to build it back up again. Great managers do this when they’re doing well, because they realise everything evolves. Just because something isn’t broken, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look to improve it… make it faster, make it leaner, make it more intelligent. Arsene needs to encourage innovation, fresh thinking and he needs to reward behaviour that is visionary. I don’t think he does that at the moment. He’s the King, what the king says goes.
2. Bring in fitness expertise: Sometimes, no amount of free thinking is saving someone’s bacon. Our head of fitness is clearly not doing his job properly. He needs replacing. If working in fitness is about keeping players fit, then he’s failing desperately, consistently and spectacularly. Being top of the Premier League injury list seems to be the clubs priority. That needs to change. Our players are lethargic, they’re constantly picking up niggly muscle injuries and they’re not performing as a result. This should be taken out of the control of Arsene. If I was Ivan, I’d be taking a cost sheet mapping weeks out to expenditure.
Oh bugger waiting for Ivan to do it… I’ll do it.
I took this infographic, which may or may not be accurate.
I then layered those percentages over the players estimated wages. Remember, I said estimated, so no correcting me for being two grand out here.
I then minused the percentage from the weekly salary. So if we had Theo out 75% of the season, his injury would cost us £75k a week. Pretty basic stuff here, but I’ve done this in 20 minutes, so don’t shout if the numbers are wrong. That was then layered over 40 weeks (9 months of a season) to get a total.
The total wage bill at Arsenal is £154m. Total wage bill over 40 weeks is £118m. Arsenal players out injured over that time period cost us a whopping £16m. That’s 14% of our in season wage bill.
How f*cking mental is that?
Now, you’ll always have injury costs, but we have the worst injury record in the league. If the fans have to suck up the 3% on the season tickets, shouldn’t the club be making sure they’re making cost savings elsewhere? A player on the bench isn’t contributing anything to the business. This has been a consistent theme over the last 10 years and I think it needs to be addressed.
Only if Arsene says so I’d guess. But who at the club is pushing Wenger into making a decision? Who is going to show him the wastage stats? Who is accountable for addressing these massive, expensive problems?
Right, I’ll leave you on that. Have a good day!
Spreadsheet of the workings is here.
Before I go, Arsenal are having a sleepover. Here is the info.
Carl Jenkinson gets ready for Arsenal’s Camping on the Pitch event
Arsenal will be inviting 400 members of its young supporter scheme the Junior Gunners to camp out overnight at Emirates Stadium this Friday.
The youngsters will have the chance to play football on the pitch before sleeping out on the Arsenal turf.
With just a month to go until the big day, Arsenal star Carl Jenkinson dressed up a tent in Gunners colours to get the young fans in the mood.
A boyhood Arsenal fan, Jenkinson covered his bedroom in club memorabilia when growing up, and applied a similar touch to his tent at the Gunners’ London Colney training ground. The defender peppered the tent with Arsenal items, with Arsenal gnomes in the entrance and Arsenal shirts, posters and pennants hanging from the side. There was also an attempt to apply the Arsenal wallpaper from his old bedroom to the walls of the tent.
Carl said: “I’d have loved the chance to camp out overnight on the Arsenal pitch growing up so it’s great the club are giving young Gooners that chance. I’m not sure what the groundsmen thought of me pitching up a tent on the training pitches, but I hope my decorating skills give the Junior Gunners some ideas for their campsite!”
For more information on Arsenal’s camping on the pitch event, and for details on the Junior Gunners, visit alwaysaheadofthegame.com/junior