I’m losing my edge

by .

Someone gave that guy on the fountain chair a child to dance with...

Someone gave that guy on the fountain chair a child to dance with…

Happy 65th Arsene. The big 65. Wow. Huge achievement. You’ve done some things. Won stuff. Made some cash money. You’ve got it all.

Question though. I have questions. How long do you go on for? When is it right to hand over to someone new? When does continuity become detrimental? When are you just holding onto power because of ego? When do you say, ‘I can’t do this anymore’?

Interesting that I raised the age thing yesterday to great fanfare. When people question the age of the board, it’s cool. When you question the age of the manager and his relevance in football, it’s ageist.

So when it gets like that, you have to put numbers into the game. Before we play this, my view is this. Football is a young mans game these days. The sweet spot for great managers is between 42-55. I personally think the real talent lies at the lower end of that spectrum. Usually when managers have done their stint as an assistant and are ready to emerge with fresh ideas.

The reason young managers work well is they don’t have a formula. They have access to more tools. They’re part of a generation more accepting of technology and its evolution. They have more to prove. They also have more of a connection with the youth generation. Especially in football, where you’re trying to connect with teenagers.

The difference between football now and football of ten years ago is immense. It’s the same in marketing. My Dad ran a successful creative agency in the eighties and nineties, but things changed. Digital became more prominent, data became more of a focal point and the world went from less than ten channels to hundreds. When Wenger took over Arsenal, revolutionary was stopping players from drinking 10 pints, having a strong play on nutrition and raiding the French market for talent. 20 years on sport has changed. All clubs have access to the same tools. Tech is cheaper, smarter and it’s being mastered by experts rather than managers. Teams like Barca and City have video analysts sitting in the stands cutting video for half time. Prozone are integrating with Football manager to improve access to scouting. Football globalisation has lowered the barriers to entry to pretty much all the markets. Football is 80%+ faster than it was. The players are bigger and faster. Managers are more tactical and flexible. Clubs aren’t about the domineering manager who is jack of all trades, they’re built out so they own process IP… they’re built out into departments that are run by experts who feed into the main man who makes the decisions.

The game is a million miles away from where it was. Our manager, however, isn’t. He’s still sitting at the starting line refusing to purchase the bus ticket to the future.

Ok, so before I crack into this, there are a couple of anomalies. Firstly, Pelligrini. Personally, I don’t rate him. Also, he’s dealing with the Man City squad. Don’t come defending him to me if you’re the type of fan who uses City’s resource to defend Arsene. If Jose was at City, I think you’d see a far more dominant team. Ferguson is the exception but he’s retired. Heynckes was replaced by a Bayern Munich who understand what I’m making a point about here.

Pep G 43
Carlo A 55
L Enrique 44
R. Garcia 50
Conte 44
Allegri 47
Mourinho 51
Blanc 48
Klopp 47
Simeone 44
Unai Emery 42
Rogers 41
Lopetegui 48
Jardim 40
Pelligrini 62
Loew 54

So above are the best coaches in Europe, either by performance or job. I’ve left LVG out of the loop because, let’s be honest, he’s going to be a disaster. Wenger isn’t an elite coach anymore. The rest up there have all won something major or they’re doing a pretty major job. Allegri perhaps shouldn’t be there, but he’s the new man at Juve, so there’s something in his appointment.

Anyway, average age of a top football manager in Europe is 47.5. Wenger is 37% older than the average, even when you factor in the City manager. 34% older if you wanted to the throw LVG into the mix.

Now, I’m not for a minute suggesting you can’t be dynamic at that age. I’m just pointing out that the clear trend with football managers is to opt for the younger man. I’m saying our problems stem from not accepting the future. Refusing to adapt. Not adapting the core team of backroom leaders despite clear failings.

Steve Jobs believed creative contribution post 30 was a tough ask citing musicians and artists. He had to go out of his way to keep his thinking radical and ahead of the curve, namely by always asking questions of himself. Mark Zuckerberg had a similar mindset when he was starting out Facebook. Now, whilst these are extreme examples and probably misguided (I am thirty, I don’t want to be useless), there is something in the idea that there’s a top out point when it comes to being innovative. There has to be a point where you say enough is enough. Looking at all our failings as a club, that all centre around one man who has been here for too long.

65 is great. Even greater if you’re still in a job. Not great if you’re only in the job because you’ve built an impenetrable power base no one can break.


Enough on the birthday celebrations. What about the game tonight? Well, Koscielny won’t be about. Still injured. Ospina has some how managed to crock himself for the next three months. His injury powers are strong.

Arteta could be available as could Aaron Ramsey. That’s good news. The more bodies we can get back the better. We want people firing as soon as possible. Wondering when we’ll see Theo back in the mix.

You’d hope we have enough in the locker tonight. We’ve not responded well to anything this season. We’ve looked like we’re on aย  permanent hangover all season. We need to wake up, we need to show a bit of passion and the manager needs to inject a bit of instruction into the side.

If you’re going, have fun. Stay safe. Drink all the Belgian beer!

I’ll leave you with this song by one of my favourite bands. I imagine Arsene Wenger singing the footballing equivalent of the below track in the shower.

885 Responses to “I’m losing my edge”

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  1. gonsterous


    I can see why he said that… Which other managers got the BoD in their pocket and is on a massive salary coz he managed to get only yes man around him… He really is amazing !!!

  2. Cesc Appeal

    All I’ve got is live updates and judging by that Anderlecht are giving is a seeing to, host is “amazed it’s still only 1-0″…like I said, team is reflecting the manager

  3. karaul

    Anderlecht – 10 games without win in Champion League.

    After almost two years theyยดre celebreting with Wenger? lol

  4. bob

    you prick look what happens when wilshere is off the fucking pitch this what happen against hull everton and spurs

  5. Craigy

    Buzzing where back in it, but this doesn’t paper over this disgusting performance, arsenal only start to play when we’ve scored a goal,

  6. Quagmire

    I’m just fucking tired. Can you please MR Wenger just leave my club. Stop acting like a god. Many people were here before you. They did their part and left. I’m grateful for your input but I do believe it is time. Walk away or people will have a chaotic day outside Emirates stadium before the year ends. You aren’t invincible. You are just a man

  7. Wengers Plastic Bottle

    bobOctober 22, 2014 20:33:13
    we are fucking wining soon as that prick wilshere goes off we are playing so much better now


  8. Arsene's Nurse

    Gibbs got the first?? I’ll have to watch the replay for that as my feed is a few mins behind and the old bladder was fit to burst before he scored.

    Wenger ought to get a ‘Noorf Landaaaan Firm’ together and go do a bit of blaggin’ an’ robbin’.

  9. pliget

    Where is Jacqui Oatley – “Arsene. another game where the performance doesn’t reflect the result. Your thoughts?”

  10. Cesc Appeal

    It has been my opinion for a while we play worse with Wilshere on the field, I have banged that drum for a long time.

    Obviously that was a freak turnaround in 2 minutes.

    But I do actually concur with the fans who feel we look better without Wilshere.

  11. Dissenter

    Really, behave yourself. Stop the anti-English rhetoric.
    You’re coming across as a 10 year old.
    Its not funny.

  12. Jeff

    I was getting ready to clear my diary for Thursday nights but no I think we’ll go through now and get knocked out by one of the big boys. I’d rather that than thrash about aimlessly in the Europa league.

  13. Roaaary

    It may have been effective a few years ago but the games about power and pace now.

    4-1-4-1 encourages sideways passing.

    It’s not so much a case about arguing for or against wilshere. It’s more the team tactics and directness

  14. BillikenGooner

    Pleased to have won.

    Not pleased that we played like we have almost every match this season: at the same level as whoever we play. Hence, all the draws and close matches.

  15. Goonergirl

    We really didn’t deserve that win. But I’m glad we managed to come back. That performance was truly terrible. I can’t stand Wenger and I can’t wait for the day that he leaves.

  16. gonsterous

    good night folks…. boring game… but 3 points…. cant wait for the big round of 16… thats the objective…isnt it ???

  17. Jeff

    If we had played one of the bigger teams, we would have been thrashed good and proper tonight. We live to fight another day.

  18. Dissenter

    I really think Wenger should stop persisting with players who are out-of-form like Ramsey.
    Its demotivating for the rest of the team who work their butts off in training everyday.

  19. N5

    Cesc we were saying it all summer mate wasn’t we, we’ve looked awful in this 4-1-4-1 and with him on the pitch. (Bar City).

    I just don’t think he fits in our set up.

  20. Blsany

    Lets talk about wilshire.Please boys your thoughts on this wannabe dribble,diver.slows the game down for a playmaker has no vision.I swear he gets worse all the time.

  21. Cesc Appeal


    Same story. Look at Everton, withdrew Wilshere went to a 4-2-3-1 and could have won that game in the last 10 minutes, scored twice as it was.

    Villa and Gala, no Wilshere and a 4-2-3-1.

    I’m not trying to diminish Wilshere’s ability; he’s not as good as many claim, but he doesn’t fit in our side. A lot of out problems this year are traced to this horrendous 4-1-4-1 that is to accommodate Wilshere!

    I much prefer Ramsey and either Arteta and Flamini at the base of a 4-2-3-1…obviously I’d like a proper CDM next to Ramsey.

  22. Le wisham gooner

    Papering over the cracks job if ever i saw one… Anderlecht-fucking Anderlecht!? This is how it works though Wenger will say this was down to spirit, determination and all that bollocks…
    We had 2 real chances in 90 mins and we were lucky to take em

    That performance ws terrible. We didn’t deserve to win. I wish we’d lost so the clueless could see beyond the result and assess the performance and say, we were fucking awful and our manager is a lunatic

  23. Wallace

    fuckin’ hell…given the runaround by a bunch of kids…how the fuck did we win that. as awful as we were Anderlecht have got some talent. Tielemans, Praet & the left back were very impressive.

  24. Jeff

    Yeah, once again, when we abandon the 4141, things begin to happen. But come next game, it’s back on the beat and track no matter what happens. None so blind as those who will not see.

  25. london gunner

    problem with jacky is his a mincer.. takes to many touches.. slows us right down and is predictable always tries to dribble centre of box through a wall of defenders.

    his lay offs and runs are also more often than not unsuccesful

  26. Jeff

    I truly believe this bullshit formation we’re sticking to has cost us as much as 6 points in the league if not more this season.

  27. salparadisenyc

    That Klopp is certainly being “found out.”
    As for Wenger another clean shave and a very likely 2nd spot in the group, again.

    Hope we draw Bayern, round of 16.

  28. Ozy

    We should buy Tielemans. Class player.

    Anyway, shit performance. Didn’t deserve to win. I repeat, our English core will be the death of Arsenal.

  29. Goonergirl

    Wenger will persist with the 4-1-4-1 formation until we actually have a good game. He’s so arrogant that he’ll rather try to prove himself even at the detriment of the team.

    I’m also of the opinion that without Wilshere we play better. Nothing against Wilshere but he just doesn’t suit our system.

  30. MidwestGun

    Stop playing JW and Rambo together in ridiculous formation, yep.
    Cue Keyser asking me what formation we were playing. Hahaha

    oh hell……. I’m giving all the credit to my boy Joel Campbell even tho I think he touched the ball twice. Lol.

  31. Thomas

    Typical Wenger. Always manages to get a result when he’s under pressure. This win will just keep Wenger in a job so we can continue to lose points in the long run. The sooner he fucks off the better.

  32. bob

    say what u want about me but i did say soon as wilshere went off we would score and the guy that replace him podi got the wining goal for us. wilshere out back to bolton now little men

  33. N5

    Bob, everyone agreed with you, everyone!!

    We just said stop always banging on about Jack, you never ever talk about anything else.

  34. kwik fit

    This team is not bad , in fact player for player their very good. Its Wenger who makes them look like shit. Congratulations on your 65th Birthday Arsene , now just politely Fuck OFF!!!

  35. tunnygriffboy

    Shocking, shocking, shocking but so pleased we sneaked it even though we didn’t deserve it. Don’t know where to start really. Apart from the warrior Sanchez and the keeper who made a crucial save at 1-1 who else could you put a positive spin on Gibbs ?

    Anyhow a win is a win:)

  36. Ozy

    Klopp is an incredible manager. What’s this ridculous notion that he’s being “found out”?

    People are so reactionary.

    Talking about being reactionary, Wilshere and Welbeck belong in Aston Villa. Oxlade and Chambers in Southampton. Enough of these garbage players.

  37. Blsany

    I was watching Real and their players know how to make the ball stick to them and wave patterns and if they spot a player on the wing.They can turn and run release the ball when u supposed to.

  38. luke

    We are 2-1 up in the last minute and we almost lose the ball in the middle of the park in a typically arsenal way, just a bit naive (only a little not a fucking lot). There was more talking between the beatles when they recorded the white album then there is in our midfield. Fucking disgrace.

  39. Live by the River

    N5 seems you are the avatar afterbirth of Gammon?

    Do this blog a BIG favour and go troll some other site pleeeeze!!

    BTW Poldi well done son….that’s exactly the reason the Germans love you!

    Memo to AW: play Poldi in every game now…he atleast is a WINNER!!

    Oh and also Mr Wenger have you thought about retiring?

  40. Jamal

    I said Anderlecht scoring would wake us up. What a poor performance that was but that’s what we’ve been watching all season. We are actually average.

  41. Bermy boy

    We will get the Germans and watch the shit run done our legs.
    Chelsea,Manpoopoo and the Germans when playing them we act like scared kids in a room full of angry adults.

  42. Emiratesstroller

    Lucky Arsenal!

    Defence was hopeless. Monreal is not a centre back.

    Midfield is pedestrian and frankly lacked penetration with too many poor,square an back passes.

    Apart from Sanchez we were very poor.

    The real problem is the Manager’s judgment. This game reinforces my view that our squad lacks balance and depth in defence.

  43. N5

    Bob, I would prefer TR playing instead of him too. I don’t rate Jack and don’t think he adds anything to our current set up. The formation doesn’t help either, the 4-1-4-1 is pathetic.

  44. salparadisenyc


    I absolutely agree with you. Wilshire been a contentious spot for me all season barring a good performance against City. Like the Ox, not sure what his best position is. As many been saying, ideally he’s depth for Ramsay and we revert back to a winning formation with Ozil in the middle once fit. Think Ramsay will flourish as he did last season in the role.

    Wenger is nutter without doubt, absolutely thrilled it was Poldi whom bailed him out. That must be quite satisfying for him, happy birthday boss.

  45. BillikenGooner

    If Wenger concentrates on the final 3 minutes and not the previous 88 minutes of pure crap, then … well, we already know about how delusional he can be, so it doesn’t matter.

  46. london gunner


    Ya daft cunt you ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1 We thrashed Gala so is Wenger great?

    2 Did I not say that his been found out domestically but not internationally.

    You tried to stick it to me.. but you fail again.

    Try harder! ๐Ÿ™‚

  47. Follow the money

    We didn’t deserve anything. But Wenger will get second in the group and get hammered in the first knockout round. This clown’s luck at getting 4th and into the last 16 is astounding. Depressing

  48. Bermy boy

    I used to want AFC to lose so that Wenger should lose his job but I don’t even care about that anymore.The team is what it is who really cares anymore.

  49. TitsMcgee

    Another pathetic performance. .

    But Wenger will be first to give himself credit and last to be willing to accept Criticism

  50. london gunner


    Ozy said

    “people are so reactionary”

    In regards to me calling klopp out

    Do you get why I get annoyed now?


    REactionary isn’t saying the same things for years is it? Reactionary isn’t calling klopp out before his team has declined..

    How am I reactionary??

  51. TitsMcgee

    This clownโ€™s luck at getting 4th and into the last 16 is astounding. Depressing”

    It’s what he counts on.

    He has no balls whatsoever. He plays for second fiddle.

  52. Follow the money

    Our record with wilshere in the side is horrific. Bench him and go back to last season formation and we’d play 100x better. But Noooooo Wenger knows! My ass

  53. N5

    London, I understand why you think those comments were directed at you but I think both Sal and Ozy were talking about Pedro’s post yesterday because he was the one who used the term “being found out”.

  54. gazzap

    How bad was that performance? How can such world class players look so bad. Sanchez was great, everyone else was really poor. Joel and Pod when they came on did a decent job to be fair.
    Can’t wait for Walcott to return. We needed quality out side so badly tonight and he’ll bring it. No one can moan about being benched after that, other than Sanchez.
    He looked disgusted with his team mates at the end and rightly so. He’s just realised what he’s joined.

  55. Cesc Appeal

    If we just get rid of this ridiculous 4-1-4-1 and stop trying to shoehorn Wilshere into the side we’ll look better without even taking the manager into consideration!

    The side isn’t that bad, obviously we’re missing a few signings and a good manager; but we’re not as bad as we’re being made to look.

  56. Live by the River

    They know the manager is leaving at the end of the season hence they don’t play for him

    Watch (for those of you you who don’t really know the game) and you will see that the players do not PASS and MOVE

    Therein lies the problem with this group of players eg watch Cazorla and Wilshere (kid with brain of goldfish)…..

    There you go….

  57. bob

    player rating for wilshere in one english blog

    Jack Wilshere Struggled to link up with his central midfield colleagues in the early stages, allowing Anderlecht to get a foothold in the game. Inches away from a number of decisive passes, but inches away is not good enough. 7
    how the hell did he get a 7???

  58. MidwestGun

    If I had to pick would give Gibbs motm. Other than that the subs pulled it out for the win. Fuckin Anderlecht. ๐Ÿ™

    AWcan say whatever he wants that overall performance was shit against a wank team. Gonna get some dinner and drink now.

  59. Wallace

    i don’t think i’ve ever felt sorry for the opposition before. that was 3mins away from some pretty nasty meltdown. still can’t believe we won…

  60. LeMassiveCoq

    lol….told my missus we came back from 1-0 and won 2-1…she said…

    “see, Wenger is a genius.”


  61. WengerEagle

    He may get a fair amount of stick off of plenty but after his 2 goals tonight Benzema now has scored 40 Champions League goals in just 67 apps. He’s only 26 but is already the 13th top scorer in Champions League history.

    He’s only 1 goal behind 2 superb players in Del Piero and Ibrahimovic who have played 22 more and 37 more matches respectively in the UCL.

    Given his age, unless he suffers a bad injury or a sudden Torres-esque dip he will when he retires be the 3rd top goalscorer of all time in the Champions League behind only Messi and Ronaldo.

    The lad deserves respect.

  62. salparadisenyc

    If I had to pick one striker to come to Arsenal within reason, its Benzema.
    He’d thrive in this league, absolute boss.

  63. Lebgooner

    We will qualify 2nd. Wondering if 3rd place and a shot at Europa Cup isn’t a better deal for us, playing teams at our level.

  64. Roaaary

    @midwest I agree with a lot u say but Gibbs never motm. He won the game for us with the goal and cross at the end but the 88mins before that he was terrible. Caught out of position for their goal and numerous other times.

    He is good going forward but poor defensively. He would be a great wingback in a 3-5-2 or if he had a clever DM who could cover him instead of that donkey flamini

  65. gunnergetyou

    We’ve got decent players but Wenger doesn’t know what to do with them. He can see things aren’t working but waits until we’re losing to do anything shape things up.

    And what’s going on with our defence I doubt Steve Bold even has a say. Bellerin has proved himself to be more than capable but Wenger just can’t help playing people out of position.

    One thing about Podolski though, even though he’s usually invisible on the pitch he does get some goals.

  66. Al

    Wenger slowly destroying another thing he raised to another level. …. aka Arsenal aka RAMSEY

    Shocking performance. ..Disgusted in wenger and that team.

  67. MidwestGun

    Roaaary –
    Fair enough. I said if I was forced to pick. But it was a good finish by Gibbs at least he didn’t panic. Flamini was pushed to the limit by Anderlecht as you said a donkey. Not surprising we struggle with better teams.