What can Arsenal learn about the Barca culture club?

by .


Day 3 of my staycation. Things are getting boring. I have literally no unemployed friends. I’ve started knocking on neighbours doors…

‘Yeah, that Arsene eh? He’s a bugger…’

‘Mate, do you want something?’


Anyway, it’s fine. I’ve painted some walls. Watched some day time TV. Written a list of Sky Sports News presenters I’d like to take for a Peroni. It’s been great.

You know what’s not great? People telling me our injury issues are down to the World Cup. Or the worst, when a players from another club gets injured and Arsenal fans jump on it like some sort of Holy sign that Arsene Wenger is, in fact, not to blame for our problems.

A few things. This story that’s being pushed that all our injuries are world cup related really doesn’t add up. Ozil started 8 games for us before we found out he had an issue. David Ospina may have arrived injured, but then he came back for the Capital One Cup, then found himself injured after, that’s not sharp rehab. Ramsey didn’t go to the World Cup. Arsenal knew about Koscielny’s problem in February. Diaby, well, not worth talking about him. Debuchy was not injured at the World Cup, though he was very unfortunate.

I’m trying to think of any player that was injured at the World Cup?

Anyway, let’s stop pushing it onto the World Cup. Every major club is dealing with the aftermath. I don’t see Chelsea struggling. Let’s stop benchmarking ourselves against United, who have similar problems with a manager past his prime.

Our pile up isn’t in isolation either, like, say Bayern Munich’s is. Ours is consistently awful regardless of a summer tournament. Look at what happened last season.

Don’t take solace in other clubs failures, look at the best and ask how we can achieve that.

Anyway, enough on that.

How about ENGUUUURRRLLLLAAAND. I’ll have some of international football when we’re playing Scotland. What a good game. Hard, fair, of low quality… a great win!

Also, Chambo scoring a header. How about that? I love him. I think he’s such a talent. Explosive power, bold dribbling and so much enthusiasm for the game. Jack played pretty well as well… thing I like about Jack is I’d hate him if I was a fan of another club. He’s such a bastard on the pitch. He puts himself about, made some fancy passes and a looked like he enjoyed himself last night!

There were rumours of a WELBZ injury last night, but they are just rumours apparently. We need him ready for the weekend. Hopefully the locality of Celtic park will work in our favour, what with us having a lot of English players. More rest time, less travel.

United are having problems. De Gea is a doubt, as are about 43 of their squad. The really good news is Di Maria is a doubt. That’d give me nightmares.

The worrying thing about United at the weekend is though LVG isn’t exactly smashing it at the moment, he is a tactician. He will take a look at our line up and he might spring a surprise, or try and destroy our make shift defence.

This game is going to be about defence. I know that’s an obvious area to highlight, but both clubs are totalled there. It could be a bit of massive score. Or, knowing my powers of prediction, it’ll be a draw. We really need to take advantage of a bad United side. We really need to put some points on the board and we need to keep bubbling around the top four. It’s going to be pretty exciting regardless.

I’m hoping the team will all be pushing to make WELBZ look a hero. I’m hoping Danny is fuelled mentally to destroy them, because LVG mugged him big time when he sold him this summer. I’d also take some joy in seeing Robin lose. I know he left and got what he wanted. But he’s still a winner, the state of United will still be upsetting him.

Other things that have been going on in my boring little life? I’m reading a Pep book. It’s well good. I’m reading about Cruyff and La Masia. You can see what Wenger was trying to do with our youth team set up when he went hardcore project youth. He tried to build La Masia light. Trouble is, he missed all the values that make La Masia special.

The kids there live football. They go there and it’s an honour, a family privilege. Arsenal tried to buy a La Masia. We pinched the best kids from around Europe, ripping them from their homes with huge salaries as an incentive. It’s not a good way to kick off a career. It also seems like there’s way more freedom there. La Masia is like a camp, our school isn’t. I think Pep said at a talk, ‘when you sit in bed and you think about football and you don’t think ‘let’s have a quick ten minutes more play’ then you should consider another career’… I’m not sure you can do that in England. To many perverts and ‘no ball games’ around.

It’s a culture thing. It’s also a the culture they breed there. The kids watch the seniors play, I mean, there must be logistical reasons we have Hale End and Colney split, but it perhaps impacts the aspirational side that Barca have with their ‘Pitch One’ for the senior players. When you’re a kid, you feed off older people, if you can almost touch your idols, what a carrot… what a bloody carrot.

I also think there’s something in the amount of players they have that have touched the club since 1993. Pep, Vilanova, Amor, Begiristain and Zubizarreta to name but a few. Why is that possible? Is it because they’re indoctrinated into proper football values? Are they more educated? I mean, these are super smart people. Where are ours? How do we bring more into the club? If one of the most fascinating facts about the Invincibles team is that they’re all super smart… why aren’t we bringing that into the club? Lauren is doing a degree in Economics! I think Senderos had done a degree. Paddy always seems like a smart bloke. Lehmann is very articulate. Thierry immerses himself in the game, what an ambassador he’d be!

So many options to bring back the spirit of the Invincibles… and it doesn’t have to be in a decision making capacity. How can we bring a better culture to the club? How can we bring in expertise that can help non-playing board members? I mean, imagine sending two of them around the world to study best practice training methodology? It’d be great. I could go with them. They could help me cheat on my UEFA Licence, I could take care of the social branding. Symbiotic altruism at its finest.

My worry is that Wenger is the man stopping that sort of carry on… he wouldn’t tolerate innovative practices. Well, judging by some of his comments and omissions.

The book also talks about Cruyff and his training techniques. He was the godfather of the training ground. He believed in stopping training games to explain problems. He would beast players who’d done things wrong, but apparently it worked. The way Pep trains players now is an exact imitation of that style. It’s also interesting to read how Cruyff talks about the game. He believed in possession football, the same as Arsene, but also exploiting weaknesses of other teams… something Wenger doesn’t abide by.

Very good book. Pep Confidential. Essential reading if you’re looking to take over Arsenal in the next three years.

Right, enough from me, have a grand old day! x

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376 Responses to “What can Arsenal learn about the Barca culture club?”

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  1. Highbury Daze

    The bookies have Arsenal favourite for this game, not sure if that’s a good thing, I still think our players have the fear of United running through them, it’s like they are beaten in the tunnel

  2. northern gooner


    Yeah i followed the instructions to a tee.
    My comments went into moderation so i thought thats why it had worked.

  3. MidwestGun

    Obsession with possession, interchanging, and overlapping fullbacks. It’s a beautiful thing if it works. Problem is one communication breakdown, one bad turnover in midfield, and players playing out of position and not really knowing their role and it fails. And having holding/ defensive midfielders with little creativity creates endless switching of the ball.
    And having only one midfielder responsible for screening instead of 2 and you have a bad start to the season. Oh and injuries.

    So Mert is basically saying that, imo, that structure isn’t a priority. Where we really need it is protecting a lead.

    I would bet on a draw if I bet on AFC games which I don’t. Bad mojo.

  4. Gunner2301


    I used to say the invincible worked largely on auto pilot years ago and got slated for it. It’s been clear to,see for years that Wenger has zero affect on a game after the initial whistle is blown.

    The evidence of this was when he got rid of all the leaders when project youth started, he would have to be the leader as the team was young and we saw him abdicate this responsibility and the team looked like a rudderless ship for years until he started to buy in older players. But he failed there again instead of bringing in leaders in key positions he excused this by quoting that the players were all internationals and captains of their national teams I.e Rosicky, Arshavin etc.

    The man is a joke and hasn’t done a proper managers job for years. He thinks being a benevolent father figure with deep pockets on one hand and Chairman Mao on the other is football management. What a joke!


  5. R.S.P.C.Arsenal

    Looking at all the canidates in the Rochester by election ?

    They all look an unsavoury untrustworthy deeply devious looking bunch of mutha fuckers, you will ever see…
    An to top it all a sprinkl of Eric pickled .
    Vu la

  6. MidwestGun

    2301 –
    The evidence kind of piling up that a Laissez faire management style on the pitch isn’t effective. How many blown leads this year? How many last 5 minute subs?

  7. Gunner2301


    He’s never had a clue Adams and Viera carried him then Henry worked miracles so did Cesc then RVP. He’s been handed a get out of jail card so many times it’s bizarre.

    The more embarrassing thing is those in the game will know as well but as its a closed shop they all stand up for each other. It’s a disgrace. It’d be nice to just hear some fucking truth for once. It was so refreshing to hear Merton speak the truth but you saw the shit storm it caused for him only for him to be vindicated within the week.

  8. N5

    RSPCA it’s because Le Prof keeps calling midwest a PKB as in Pedro knows best, so we showed unity and all turned our avys to Pedro.

  9. MidwestGun

    Rspc –
    It’s an ironic protest to AKB’s who thing we’ve been brainwashed by Pedro. And to recognize Pedro for blogging everyday despite the twitter abuse for his opinions.

  10. tunnygriffboy

    So winning titles was down to the players and nothing to do with Wenger. I know he may have past his sell by date but that’s an absolute load of codswallop. He did wonders and produced the best football I’ve seen us play. Yes he had good players but all teams who win things have good players. People may be fed up of him now but to look back and not give him any credit is a bit unfair

  11. Leedsgunner

    @Tunny 2355

    That’s a completely fair enough comment… sadly these days Wenger is happy to accept all the plaudits but he doesn’t seem to take any criticism (or if he does he doesn’t learn from them to show we are learning from our mistakes.). If anything he seems to have forgotten what made his previous teams successful.

  12. tunnygriffboy

    Jack’s done well with England but they’ve played some pretty ropey sides. Would be happy for him to play alongside Arteta as a pair to protect our brittle defence. Man u will be a handful, they’re missing players but should have 4 or 5 back in time for Saturday.

  13. tunnygriffboy


    That’s a completely fair comment as well. Sometimes because the frustration is so high people sometimes forget some of the things he has done. It’s as if all objectivity has gone out of the window

  14. Leedsgunner


    I’m more than happy to acknowledge Wenger’s accomplishments in the pastbut that does not automatically make him the right man to take us in the future. In would have been the best for everyone if he had graciously bowed out last season on a high.

  15. MidwestGun

    Tunny –
    I wasn’t discrediting past. Loved the way we played in the heyday of wengerball. Just sayin it’s not a one size fits all. And the in game Laissez faire approach drives me nuts. I think many people are way too concerned about legacies tho. I’m more concerned with the here and now and next year. Especially, this weekend. Can’t express how much I hate hate hate losing to Man. U. So for me personally it’s a must win.

  16. Leedsgunner

    Hearing about the dreadful snowstorms in the USA and Canada – stay safe to all our North American Gooners including but limited to jwl, Middy, NYC, sal etc… Le Grove wouldn’t be the same without you!

    Ps Middy sorry about joking about it the other day I honestly had no idea how bad it was.

  17. MidwestGun

    Leeds –
    No worries……..upper midwest and northeast is bad tho. I’m still far enough south just getting the cold air not the snow. But ya anyone in the path of that one take care.

  18. Wallace


    “So winning titles was down to the players and nothing to do with Wenger. I know he may have past his sell by date but that’s an absolute load of codswallop.”

    agreed. this revisionism that a few on here go in for does annoy me. bit like Stalin with his group photos and all those who afterwards fell out of favour being gently airbrushed from the picture/history ….he’s not a genius any more, but there was a time when he was.

  19. TheBayingMob

    “he’s not a genius any more, but there was a time when he was.”

    I don’t see that that can be the case Wallace; he was the right man in the right place in 1996/97 and often, that’s what success is really about. It didn’t necessarily mean he was ever a genius, but it does mean the situation suited him, his skill set and knowledge perfectly when he first came to Arsenal. The situation has moved on but he hasn’t, and while every now and then we still have some very purple patches of form, it’s becoming increasingly hard to gloss over the apparent fact that the game has caught up with Wenger and he isn’t reacting to it that well.

  20. Wallace

    ““Jack’s been excellent,’’ Hodgson said. “When he burst on the scene, a very bright future was predicted for him but then he got injured. In my first year and a half with the team, we were always saying ‘what a pity we don’t have Jack Wilshere, wouldn’t it be nice if Jack was fit’. It’s been only since the lead-up to the World Cup and afterwards that I’ve had this period with him where I can always count on him being there.

    “Right from the start we could see what he could do. Players are special who can do what he does with the ball, ie take responsibility in receiving balls from the back, even under pressure, the ability to turn with the ball, the ability to see a pass. All he needs to add to his game to be totally outstanding is goals.”

  21. Leedsgunner

    “I’d say Arsenal was more the making of wenger”

    100%. He did bring us great success and helped us to have a platform in which we built a WC stadium… however that does not mean we have to be held hostage to one man’s ego ad nauseum. Thank you for the memories Arsene but honestly, it’s time to move on.

  22. Wallace


    we went from being a painfully laboured, defensive side lucky to finish top 6 before Wenger arrived, to becoming the most swashbuckling side in the country within about 10mths. maybe not genius, but certainly something very special. have a pop at him for the stuff he gets wrong now, but don’t try and re-write the brilliance of his early years.

  23. Gunner2301

    Morning guys

    I mentioned the Wilshire thing last night. I think as you say play him in a pair or against weaker opposition but I think he’s a sticking plaster not the solution.

  24. Steve

    Chelsea have the whole set up on one site with pitch 1 being the holy Grail / Mecca.
    Before I get told to f@ck orf and support Chelsea… I have to go there to inspect the safety side every year.
    Just saying…