Judge me in May he says. Makes sense. I mean, a team never wins 4th place in May, right?
Trouble is, there’s never a rational judgement. It’s always tomorrow. Judge me in May, judge me at the end of the World Cup, judge me when the window closes, judge me when I’ve finished playing beach volleyball.
Wenger is never judged because he always promises tomorrow. That tomorrow never comes. At the end of the season, he’ll have 4th place secure, a quarter final in the Champions League to boast about and we’ll step and repeat next season.
I read an interesting article from Barney Ronay. He said the booing was a bit ugly, but what really could we expect of an Arsenal challenged by the might of big oil money? That’s an elite journo right there peddling lazy insight. The sort of lazy insight lazy fans pick up on and run with in tasty sound bites.
‘HE WAS CONSTRAINED, NOTHING HE COULD DO TO COMPETE MATE’
‘ERRR, HELLO, STADIUM MOVE’
‘ARSENAL HAVE NO RIGHT TO WIN THINGS’
All great points. All perfectly acceptable if you have no context or detail wrapped around those 140 character moments.
The lack of context and real insight keeps the malaise going amongst the fans. It makes ‘judge me in May’ sound appealing. It makes the average fan thing, ‘jeez, maybe Arsene really is at a massive disadvantage and next year he’ll crack it’… wrong.
Money doesn’t impact an ageing backroom team that fails to deliver year after year. It doesn’t impact recruitment wastage. It doesn’t affect wage bill inefficiency. It doesn’t affect approach to fitness and recovery, squad rotation, tactics… the ability to motivate, lead and train.
But hey, judge him in May, just before he f*cks off on holiday. Before you leave for Spain to recharge on hope for another year of the same.
It’s interesting that quite a lot of the people who have a laissez faire approach to Wenger generally don’t work in something where you have to fight in the same way to survive. I don’t mean that in a derogatory way, but being told you’re expecting too much when I, like so many of you, spend everyday in environments where everybody else has to deal with a massive burden of expectation, well, it’s a bit rich.
I’ve never worked in a company that has said, ‘look, we have smaller budgets than them, so don’t worry about us expecting too much of you’… I’ve never worked for a client who has based their expectation of output on where they stand in the market. You fight to be better. You never look at the status quo and roll over. You, at the very least, improve on the areas that aren’t affected by mega money.
… be smarter with the detail. Have better planning. Have sharper scouting. Innovate. Utilise data better. Test and learn. Experiment by becoming early adopters with tech. Make sure your backroom team is always brimming with young people looking to prove a point. Make the environment a positive one staff can contribute to as well as players.
The idea that Arsene, over the last 6-7 years, couldn’t have squeezed more from the squad and the resource he’s had on offer is quite an absurd one. I mean, even at a basic level, why was our wage bill so high we couldn’t generate surplus revenue for players unless we sold? Surely lowering the wastage (and there was about £400k per week at one point) would have given us more flexibility to compete for the hidden gems teams like Dortmund were picking up?
I find it interesting that fans are constantly told they’re wrong by people who have zero experience working in environments where you have to drive a team or a product to exceed expectations.
I feel like I’m sounding a little like Wenger and the ‘how many days in the game have you worked’. I don’t think it’s the same. If you all you do is write about football, you have the time to get under the skin of the detail. If you don’t bother to. Well, you’re not doing your job properly. That’s why I have so much time for many of the European journalists (and look, there are plenty of incredible UK journo’s as well). The detail is a different level, but then, so is is the relationship set up they have with the clubs.
Some interesting quotes I missed. Namely Per saying ‘We said at half time, we’re going to fight until the end, that was the only positive thing, we’re not normally like that’… oooohhhhmmeeeeerrrr-what? That’s a funny old comment. A really funny comment.
We’ve scored quite a few goals late on in games. So not sure what he’s referencing that. Maybe he’s talking about bigger games?
Another comment that I missed was this one. When Wenger was asked why he didn’t stand up for the whole 90minutes.
“They love me so much here I did not want to give them an opportunity to show me that love.”
Right, ok, so I get that Wenger is being a smart arse here. For me, when someone has made a massive hash of something, and they respond in a sarcastic tone, it’s called arrogance. Trouble with this little comment is it’s tinged in some sort of sarcasm jest… you know, you’re being sarcastic but that sarcasm has a light basting of truth.
… because look, here’s the thing, not getting up for 90minutes during a game really isn’t good for the team. You have to show you’re down for the fight. This isn’t a new thing either, we had a lot of that last year when things were going badly. Arsenal players don’t like going to Stoke. They know it’s going to be horrible. Their fans are mean, the club are mean to players apparently… they do things like leave the heating off in the dressing rooms. Throw in the players who make scary comments before the game and you can imagine how this ramps up.
So when your manager doesn’t stand for a whole game. He doesn’t go toe-to-toe with the team. His fire isn’t present. That fear runs through the side. That’s why when we draw a tough team in a big game, we don’t win. We’re beaten before we get on the bus. Where is that belief? Where is that fight? Players not sticking their legs out or throwing themselves into blocks. No real passion on the pitch. No ramifications for playing poorly. It’s all in the managers name. Everyone’s behaviour stems from one man.
Tonight we’re playing a pretty patched up squad.
“The players who needed it stayed behind – like Cazorla, Sanchez, Gibbs – Giroud is not qualified – and Welbeck, who could have travelled but recently had a little knee problem, so took advantage of that to rest him.
“Sanchez had a groin problem for some time, and he has played 27 games…. it is more just the number of repetitive games we have.”
Problems, problems, problems… Sanchez has been playing with a groin issue. WELBZ has a knee problem. Gibbs should be dropped. Cazorla certainly needs some serious rest time.
Good news is we have Debuchy back in the side. We’re absolutely desperate for a bit of fight in defence. He’s more than capable of lifting the spirits of the back line. I’ve got to admit, I would have gone harder on the resting. It’s clear Per Mertesacker is broken physically and mentally. He really looks off the pace and I wonder if he can get it back. His age looks like it’s catching up with him. Our front line is Sanogo flanked by Podolski and Campbell. I’m really excited to see that. I’m not fan of Yaya, but I like his enthusiasm… I just feel his inclusion is pointless because he’s too brittle to rely on. Campbell is more my cup of tea. Explosive, unpredictable, a bit raw and desperate to make an impact.
Still no Rosicky. We’re playing Ramsey again and we’re playing the hapless Flamini. I’d have shot for more youngsters. Let the rest have some time off as we head into a busy period.
We take on Newcastle at the weekend. Good news there is they’re having issues with injuries. We should quite easily despatch of them. Then it’s Liverpool away, not sure we can count that as a big game this season, they’ve massive problems with players being available and form… they’re in a sorry old state this year, so no idea what to expect there, but it’ll be easier minus Suarez and Sturridge. We then play QPR, good news there is we play them two days before they play Palace, I’d imagine they’ll shoot for three points against Palace rather than bust their arse for a 30% chance of any points. West Ham, who we play on the 28th, have Chelsea two days prior to us, then they have West Brom after… again, I’d imagine we’ll be the 3 points they chuck for the big win against West Brom.
As you can see, the fixtures are favouring us over the next few weeks. Not just that, lots of players coming back in the fold. By the time the new year turns, we’ll be gearing up two or three points off the 4th placed trophy. Then Wenger is vindicated. Arsenal trudge through another season of elite mediocrity.
… which for some Arsenal fans is a total win. For our owner, it’s an even bigger win. For most though, the feeling is we should be doing more.
Let’s see what tonight brings.