Lots of sounds bites to smash through this morning. The first one is Wenger on the Usmanov comments.
‘First of all, the 18 years I have been here I have shown that I can take criticism and everybody has the right to have an opinion,’ he said.
‘Having said that, we have values at this club. The first one is when we go through a difficult patch, we show solidarity. That is a very important one.
‘The second one is that, when you have something to say to each other, we say it face-to-face. We don’t need to go to the newspapers.’
Interesting comment from the manager. You could maybe agree with it if you had the full context. That being that Usmanov really isn’t involved in the club. Le Grove has one share, Usmanov has 30% of them, yet he has about as much access as we do to the club. Which is a pretty sorry state of affairs considering the value he’d no doubt offer. So he’s not really inside the club to say it face to face… unless he’s singing it to Wenger with the rest of the fans.
It’s a good thing that he has an opinion, that he speaks to the fans in language they totally get. I sat in the last AGM. It’s quite clear that not a lot of face to face talking goes on at board level. Remember Sir Chips stating, ‘When the manager has a plan, we back it. When he doesn’t, we keep quiet’… that tells you all you need to know about how the club is run at board level and it stinks.
In injury news, Jack is out indefinitely due to the ankle injury he sustained at the weekend. Pretty disappointing. I know many fans point to him being poor this season, so it might not be a big deal… but it is. He’s a body. He’s a capable body and we don’t have a squad. Every time players come back into the fold, more leave it. It’s a depressing cycle and it’s caused us some big problems this evening.
The injury news doesn’t get any better. There’s no Chezzer, so that means we’ll be playing Martinez. There’s also no Walcott or Welbeck. I mean, this is a pretty desperate squad this evening. We’ll be playing Arteta for the second time in three days which means he’ll be out of contention for the weekend or destroyed and useless like he was after a heavy workload for the Chelsea game. It also means we’re putting a heavy burden on players like Aaron and Giroud who are fresh back from injury.
Tonight could be really bad. Dortmund have been great in the Champions League and Wenger certainly hasn’t cottoned onto how all the German teams are picking apart Klopp’s pressing game. So I’m half expecting to see a rabbit caught in headlights operation this evening. It wasn’t fun in Germany and Arteta played there as well. I have no idea how we’re going to cope.
Someone made an amusing point last night that this will be the first time in the clubs history where a majority of the fans prefer the opposition manager.
Please don’t get too attached to the obvious Wenger replacement. He’s having an absolute disaster in Germany at the moment. Managers go through phases of failure and it’s good for them. What I’d like to see from Klopp is that he comes back from this phase and reinvents the Dortmund wheel. If he doesn’t, he’s just like Wenger. One system, one vision with no adaptability. I’m sure he’s not that man, but you never know… success makes you arrogant. He hasn’t evolved his operation. The players he’s brought in of late haven’t been exceptional, his injury record is pretty appalling and tactically he’s just walked into school with no clothes on (not as a 48 year old man, metaphorically).
That said, he’ll still outsmart Wenger this evening.
I also don’t like the idea of bringing in Martinez. Again, a smart manager, tactically astute, but he’s not cutting it at Everton at the moment and his injury pile up was critiqued by Roy Keane recently.
For me, right now, the managers that are the most interesting would be Diego Simeone. He managed that tiny squad last year into the Champions League final. He’s a big scary name, he’s a leader and he’s suffered severe failure. He’s very, very experienced for someone of 42 years old. I also think Rudi Garcia is a fascinating guy as well, he’s worked wonders with Roma and he was the guy the took that tiny Lille side to Ligue One glory with players like Hazard and Gervinho (I know!).
I’d also be interested any manager who has been managed by the great Johann Cruyff. Koeman, Guardiola, Enrique and the late Villanova all have a meticulous approach and a deep understanding of the game. Picking up managers on the periphery at amazing clubs wouldn’t be the worst move. That’s why the Paul Clement story interests me. Not because I know much about him, just that his experience is fascinating. Managers that have seen it all, worked under exceptional modern influecnes… they could be the future of Arsenal.
I don’t want a fan choice, I want the right choice.
Interesting to read this Henry Winter article. I’ve been writing these for 5 years. Now the main man in English journalism has moved to the darkside, expect the pressure to get stronger and stronger. That article is end game for Arsene. Journo’s hunt in packs, they’ve tasted blood now…
Right, enjoy the game tonight, hopefully Wenger will spring a surprise!