Monday is here
You regret all the beerB
But have no fear, alas, Le Grove is here.
How about that for an opening for Monday morning. What a moment!
So what have we on this fine yet slightly muggy morning? Well, we have plenty to power through.
Squad wise, where we at bro?
Well, things are ticking over quite nicely.
1. We’ve addressed the Szeceney competition issue.
David Ospina represents a very real threat to our keepers number one spot. Personally, I think Fabianski turned his career round and in the end, I feel we’ve let the better keeper go. I think he’ll show you how good he is this season at Swansea. I think half the issue with Lukas at Arsenal is he always carried the ‘dodgy keeper’ sign around his neck. I’m not sure many of us could shake the image of him being targeted with 50 yard shots against Wigan… and struggling.
Ospina represents something different. He’s 6ft on the dot, he’s spectacular and he’s off the back of an amazing world cup. Part of me; the part that is reading into this way too deeply, feels that Wenger has lured the Colombian keeper in as part one of his attack on the nations players. They’ve a golden batch of superstars we might readily tap moving forward. Apparently, James Rodrigues goes out with his sister. So you never know.
Deeper than that, he represents a threat. He’s a very good keeper. He’s 25 years old. He’s hungry. He’s mature and he’ll be professional. When the selfies and the dip in form inevitably comes… he’ll be there to takeover. So we’ll see how this pans out.
Only worry is that Wenger is to keepers what West Ham are to injury prone strikers.
2. We nearly have a full compliment of defenders
Calum Chambers (if you see his name down as Chamberlain, that’s not a typo, that’s Mac autocorrecting) is coming in to compete long term as a centre back. Bellerin moves up in to compete with Debuchy (because Jenkinson isn’t good enough right now). Gibbs and Monreal are both more than capable if they kick things up a gear. Mertesacker and Koscielny give us the stability, we need one more if we can shift Vermaelen (which might not be too likely now).
3. We have options up front
I know, they might not be perfect, but you have to look at this through Wenger’s eyes. We have Theo, Sanchez, Giroud, Podolski, Chamberlain, Cazorla and Gnabry. That’s a lot of excitement and that’s a lot of pace. Remember, City, Chelsea and Liverpool are about individual talent, we’ve tended to play more as a team. We’re about the interlocking pieces rather than the one man who changes a game on his own. I expect to see a lot of positional rotation, which might be able to combat the lack of a world class striker. Giroud isn’t good enough to lead a world class outfit, but surrounded by pace, he might be enough… we’ll see.
Arsenal lost against New York. The only English team out of 7 to lose to an American team. On the face of it, it’s a shit show and it’s embarrassing. You know why no one is losing their minds online? Because we can all see the plan coming together. The players will be excited, the fans are excited and the Premiership will be fearing us this year. The atmosphere is totally different.
Money doesn’t by you success in football, what it buys you is confidence. It buys you time as a manager. It buys excitement… and hey, that’s what football is all about, right? Taking your budget and using it to bring as much excitement as possible to the game.
Before I leave for the next point, I was reading about the losses made by Amazon. Jeff Bezos is a long term visionary. Some would say, just like Arsene Wenger. Well, he’s been ploughing money back into a long term vision for years, he used to turn a profit, but since 2012, he’s started losing money. He has a vision that puts Amazon at the top of the pile in anything he goes near, be it cloud storage, mobile devices or retail. So he’s recorded a pretty big loss this month, to shareholder despair. One analyst, from Bloomberg said this…
‘Bezos’s strategy since Amazon’s inception has been to invest heavily to expand and earn customer loyalty…that has been been expensive.’
Now you could look at the stadium and say that was investment, and sure, it totally was and it was a brilliant move made at a deadly time. However, the length of time the club left the playing squad unattended held us back commercially as our revenues dipped and our additional partners stagnated (as Man Utd’s blew up!). Arsenal did fantastically well to get the stadium sorted, but we neglected the playing squad which has cost us big time, even with the deal we have now which is roughly half what United picked up (still pretty good going to sell your shirt deal for the same price as Madrid with zero success to negotiate with).
The second quote, which was interesting, and it came from a Forrester Analyst (highly regarded research agency).
“As long as there is money to pour into the business, they will be pouring money in to the business,”
“If you can spend down all your profit and nobody is going to penalise you for it, why show a profit?”
So when people say, ‘it’d be crazy to spend all your transfer budget’, it’s actually crazy not to when you have the cash sitting there. Money in the bank serves no purpose in a transfer market that has inflated by 30% over 5 years. It serves no purpose when you don’t have a squad good enough to compete. It serves the brand no benefit not to have a superstar laden competitive squad.
… and look, superstar doesn’t have to be Gareth Bale. It can be a Sanchez.
So if Arsenal can improve this summer and that means they spend all their cash, that’s not a problem if it’s pushing the club in the right direction. We’re on the right path, however, we’re still short… which leads me onto my final point.
5. The defensive midfielder
We need a defensive midfielder. Flamini is a limited player and he faded badly at the end of last season. Arteta simply doesn’t have the legs. Jack is a massive risk in a position he knows nothing about. We need a Carvahlo, Khedira or a Bender. We need some box to box magic. Something a bit special.
Piecing it together…
Now, this is where you all get upset with me. Bringing in great players is always a massive bonus and it’ll be an immeasurable help. However, if we don’t sort out all of the other issues around the club, it’s a complete irrelevance who is on the pitch. You can’t blag your way through a season without world class preparation, recuperation and analysis.
Will Wenger make the boldest move of the summer and actually implement a plan to deal with all the inadequacies of last season?
There’s the million dollar question.
Injuries hampered us last year, but they happened because training and load management of players was terrible.
Defeats happened last year because we only had one game plan last year.
Spankings happened regularly because we didn’t ever learn from our mistakes. There was no scenario planning. There was no different approach. We just kept doing the same thing over and over again.
Ultimately, you can bury your head in the sand and pretend that the only thing holding us back over the past 8 years was money. Ivan Gazidis is doing an excellent PR job rewriting history… however, the simple fact is it’s been Wenger and his archaic approach to the game that’s been the problem when kicking lots of great teams onto the next level.
Money didn’t stop us sacking Tony Colbert 5 years ago and improving our approach to fitness, despite all the evidence supporting that move. Money didn’t stop us ripping out an old school backroom team and bringing in fresh blood with modern ideas. Money didn’t stop us freshening up our scouting network and hitting the same markets Dortmund have exploited to incredible success. Money didn’t stop us looking at the opposition and preparing.
Really, money hasn’t had that much of an effect this summer either. We haven’t gone mental, we’ve just bought 4 players we needed. It’s mental for Arsenal, pretty standard for any other club with gaping wounds in their squad.
So the long and short is phase one of the summer has worked well, phase two is the season. That’s when we see how introspective the manager is prepared to be… because if he doesn’t change, the same old same old will occur regardless of how well we start.
It’s a big year for the manager. It’s a big year for everyone. Fingers crossed it’s a revolution, rather than a cheeky show of thigh before rolling over and going to sleep.
Right, mega post for you on Monday, before 9am. How’s about that?
Enjoy your day, I’m going to the Puma shop at lunch time…
P.S. HAPPY BIRTHDAY BLOGGER GEOFF