Arsenal have a self-interest approach to football

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I don’t know where to go with these posts. Everyone knows my feelings on the manager. Most agree. Then they don’t. Then we win two games. Then we rally round the manager like winning two games means he’s back. Then we disappoint again and the cycle continues.

It’s not getting any better. I don’t mean that in the sense that we won’t piece together a winning run. I mean in the sense that there’s a top out for the manager. There’s a glass ceiling he’s getting further and further away from. He’s just not a very good at his job these days. He doesn’t see the game in the way he should. He doesn’t have the tools in his locker to kick us on. You can hope he’ll change. You can hope this is just a blip. You can pray all you like. Facts are these… he’s dead as an elite manager. He’ll always disappoint you.

Don’t ask for the manager of 2004, because that’s what you have… a man who let power convince him change wasn’t needed.

Occam’s Razor… states, that on a basic level, if there are competing explanations as to why something occurs the way it does, you should pick the one that relies on the least assumptions and is thus the simplest. Some will say it’s too simplistic. Which is can also be true. This is the beauty. You can look at the simplest assumption, or you can deep dive. Like… you could say that Wenger’s success in the early days was down to George Graham having the core of a team that was drilled so all Wenger had to do was layer brilliant players over the top of them. You could also say that Wenger owned the 2004 team which proved he was a total genius. Point here is that it’s very difficult to pick out what makes a success, the environment, the luck of the player groupings or what the new manager inherited.

Nowadays, however you splice it, the conclusion is always the same. Arsene Wenger sits at the heart of everything at Arsenal. He’s the most settled manager by about 4.5 times. He has money. He’s on record as saying he demands total control. He makes all the decisions. We haven’t lost a major player in 2 years.

When you control everything, you have to take the hit when things go wrong. Admittedly, it’s taken 10 years to get to this point. It’s been a slow burn regression, but it’s a regression that could have been halted years ago with some spark or passion for change.

I read this in Creativity Inc, and it’s telling.

‘Why would anyone want to change a system in ways that would endanger – or even eliminate – one’s own job?

Self interest guides opposition to change, but lack of self-awareness fuels it even more. Once you master any system, you typically become blind to its flaws; even if you can see them, they appear far too complex and intertwined to consider changing. But to remain blind is to risk becoming the music industry, in which self interest (trying to protect short term gains) trumped self awareness (few people realize that the old system was about to be over taken altogether). Industry executives clung to their outdated business model – selling albums – until it was too late and file sharing and iTunes had turned everything upside down.’

Lack of self-awareness – A manager who watches more football than anyone not recognising the flaws in his side compared to other sides that regularly expose them

Protect short term gains – Set your goal as Champions League football qualification, rather than winning a major trophy

Cling to outdated model – Trying to win in 2014 with 2004 approach to transfers, scouting, tech, fitness and recovery

Arsenal are all about self interest. Why would Ivan rock the boat, he’s the best paid CEO on the planet and he’s rewarded without having to pressure the manager or make any major decisions. Why would Wenger work with Shad Forsythe who could expose him as having inferior knowledge and force him to sack his favoured fitness coach of 15 years? Why wouldn’t you sack Steve Rowley, a man who couldn’t find a centre back last summer nor a defensive midfielder in two years? Because he’s your boy. What reason would you have for keeping Gerry Peyton on board as one of the least impressive keeping coaches in the league? He’s one of the boys. The circle of friends that protect your power. Because the worst thing for a power hungry person would be someone breaching that circle, exposing negligence and forcing uncomfortable change when the appetite for upheaval isn’t there.

There’s no consequence in breaching the status quo. Vanilla is applauded. So why rock the boat? If the environment provided doesn’t incentivise change monetarily or career wise. Why rock it?

Arsenal FC are blind. They’re arrogant. They think the ‘top 4’ gravy train will continue to roll on forever. No one pushes for more. No one seems to ask questions. No one is putting any pressure on anyone because everything at Arsenal is about preservation and self interest.

Yesterday’s game was an appalling yet typical showcase of where we are as a club. The first half was abysmal. I’ve no idea what the possession was but it was low. We were being outrun, out fought and out thought by a very average Liverpool side. Somehow we went in at half time one apiece. The second half didn’t really improve, but we managed to snatch a goal with some lovely play between Santi and Giroud.

You think, ok, so we’re stealing this game here, absolutely stealing it. Liverpool played an extra game in the week, they won’t be able to maintain that level of energy for the rest of the game. So let’s just close it out.

Chambers, clearly having an appalling game at full back was being exposed time and time again. Liverpool set up knowing how bad he was going to be on the ball. They were letting him have it then pressing him because they knew he’d give it away. That much was clear at halftime. Did anyone notice a tactical intervention? I didn’t. No support for a kid being thrown to the wolves. Then Liverpool made a change and pushed Sterling outwide to harass him. Did we react? Did we double up on him? Did we support a teenager clearly struggling? Of course we didn’t.

Liverpool brutalised us down that side time and time again. No reaction. No plan for keeping things tight. Instead we just let them come at us, we kept on giving Liverpool the space to let Sterling run at us. No thinking. Then a corner, deep in stoppage time comes. Everyone back in the Arsenal box, so Liverpool were invited on (they had ten men for fucks sake), ball flies at the back post nice and flat, Skrtel has a 7 yard run at it, Chambers doesn’t track a man he can see, Mertesacker ducks the ball goes in at the post, Gibbs doesn’t race to cover the post or clear the ball… and there it is.

Where are we at as a club where we miss so many of the basics? Who is training Gibbs? Who has told him that his mistakes are so frequent, he’ll be gone if he doesn’t buck up his ideas? Who is pulling Mertesacker to one side and lambasting his poor communication this season?

Who is accountable on the pitch?

35% posession, our lowest since opta started recording the statistic. We conceded 27 shots. We conceded another lead.

What is this? We haven’t shown any promise and it’s December. We don’t look capable of pulling anything together. We’re an absolute shower and the manager doesn’t know what to do.

I know people think I have a thing for Rodgers, and look, I think he’s a very good manager. He’s lost two major players and he’s struggling. What I like about him is he’s experimenting with different line ups, different systems and you can see that he’s constantly assessing the mess he’s in trying to get out. I like Rodgers because he’s not tied to an ideology or a way of doing things. Liverpool absolutely destroyed us yesterday and they played an extra game. We have no excuse there. Not one.

Giroud was awful most of the game despite contributing to the score. His control is appalling at times as was some of his passing. WELBZ just looks like a really big guy who steams around the pitch, he showed no class yesterday. Oxlade looks like an inexperienced kid. Sanchez had a terrible game (when he’s off colour, where are we?). Flamini looks average because he is. The only bright spark was Chezzer, but then you remember his run out of the box where he missed the ball and you’re reminded he’s just as off key as the rest of them.

Matches like these are excusable when there’s an alternative. For me, these games happen too often. The same mistakes hashed out with different personnel. Never a new solution put forward. More injuries, more points lost at top teams, more tactical ineptness, more terrible substitutions and more players who look bright when they join fading into Arsenal malaise.

Arsenal aspire to be the best on the planet. They have that painted onto the walls around the stadium. They talk about it in AGMs. Ivan told me they want to be like Bayern. If Arsenal want to do that, Wenger isn’t the man. If he’s not the man to take us to those levels, then what are we waiting for? Why fear change?

Finally, because this question / criticism always comes post me writing something like this:

‘Who would you take as a manager? Didn’t y0u suggest Klopp?’

‘For many people, changing course is also a sign of weakness, tantamount to admitting that you don’t know what you’re doing. This strikes me as particularly bizarre – personally. I think the person who doesn’t change their mind is dangerous. Steve Jobs was known for changing his mind instantly in the light of new facts, and I don’t know anyone who thought he was weak’

That’s from Ed Catmull, one of the main men from Pixar. Point here is this, don’t let your argument for change be dictated  by how managers come into flavour and drop out. Let it be dictated by the facts. Wenger hasn’t been flavour of the month for 10 years. He’s outdated. He’s never going to innovate again. He didn’t make Barcelona’s final three shortlist in 2007 because he didn’t meet their criteria. He’s never going to dictate the direction of the modern game again. Those are the facts.

Someone else will though. Who is that person? I don’t know.  But when you have a job spec loaded with as many attributes as we do, you have the best chance of unearthing that person. Full stadium, London location, brand new training facilities, consistent cashflow that allows us to buy big, a low baseline of success along with a board that afford a lot of power. It’s the dream job.

Who could the new man be? Klopp is bombing big time right now, but he’s lost major players and the game has moved on a level, but he might get that spark back with new players. Simeone seems to be the man who has things right at the moment, but his success might be down to a fluke out with his batch of players. Tomas Tuchel was doing great things at Mainz but he might mess up his next role. There are no guarantees in what the next manager might do, but one thing is for sure, give me a new project, give me a new energy… give me something more inspiring than the constant vanilla rerun we suffer predictably every year.

‘Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.’

That’s all I want from my club…

488 Responses to “Arsenal have a self-interest approach to football”

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  1. kwik fit

    LOL TYAG 🙂

    That’s why he’s only back on Friday. He’s been busy doing his deliveries in the run up to Christmas.

  2. N5

    London, I worried that you might think that was at you. It was about that Napoli/Live’s by the River guy mate. And no I know you don’t want Klopp and I don’t hold that against you in the slightest, I never have. We both don’t want Wenger so thats the common ground we share.

    TYAG, I understand mate. I felt like that after Stoke and you can see by the traffic on here that a lot of people feel like that currently.

    The family are all well thanks mate. Annoying and cost a bundle, but well. How’s all your lot, have the little ones finally got over their illness?

  3. N5

    Lol Bermy, it’s so tyring though and I really don’t want too! I’d like to just discuss Arsenal too, but sometimes it gets to emotional thanks to Wenger and Co! 😡

  4. Evan

    “Residents in Meltham, West Yorkshire, must trek to Post Office almost a mile away as bullmastiff is still on the prowl” dog attack

    Vacancy for Meltham, Sanago would destroy this dog

    Disclaimer: I wish him no harm, loan move will do the kid well, It would be interesting to see if he can develop into a worldie Arsene believes…

  5. Thank you and goodnight

    @N5

    They’re getting their mate thanks. Baby boy ended up in Brighton children’s hospital in the high dependency unit again, for the same problem as last time but he’s home now. So fingers crossed we have a bug free xmas ,As the way things have been with hospitals and my kids lately I’ve heard a rumour that they’re renaming the hospital after us 😀

  6. Bamford10

    London

    Keyser will never accept the merit of any argument that criticizes how things have been done or are being done. Surely you’re aware of this by now.

    Despite the fact that it’s patently obvious that having better CDMs would improve the side, he’ll tell you why this isn’t the case — adjustment period — or that such signings weren’t possible.

    For Keyser, the existing state of things is always the best that could be had under the circumstances and anyone who suggests otherwise is dim, unrealistic or talking only out of frustration.

    The rest is the most convoluted apologetics the world has seen since the Jesuits’ defense of Catholic doctrine. It’s truly remarkable, though it’s also, as I’ve said before, a bit pathological.

    As for you, mate, the problem with your points, IMO, is that in some cases they’re simply wildly wrong and simplistic (eg, Walcott over Hazard) and they come along with silly, arrogant, childish claims about your superior insight into the game (eg, you’re like Dawkins) and mentions of how many women you’re seeing.

    Drop the absurd claims and the self-promotion and you’d be a likeable poster.

    I mean all of this in the spirit of the holiday and of peace on earth and on Le Grove, by the way, so please don’t take this as hostile criticism.

  7. N5

    TYAG, Sorry to hear that mate, he’s not had much luck in his little life has he. Fingers crossed he’s over the worst of it, if it isn’t going to keep coming back.

    Wenger aside, I’m sure you’ll have a better Christmas with the little ones home. Although I did get you an Arsene Wenger shirt and coat with zip. I hope you haven’t already got one. I’m sending Liam with it as we speak.

  8. Keyser

    Bankz – We finished 7 points from top last season with the squad we did have.

    UmbongoUmbongotheydrinkitintheCongo – What bits don’t you understand ?

    Leedsgunner – I could say Mourinho didn’t sell Matic, that Chelsea had Mikel, Essien, Remieres and Luis on their books alongside numerous others, but fuck it, Merry Christmas.

    Sylvie – Did/Do you have Umbongo in France ? They drink it in the Congo.

  9. Ankle-biter

    I mean all of this in the spirit of the holiday and of peace on earth and on Le Grove, by the way, so please don’t take this as hostile criticism.”

    What an absolute dipshit:smile:

    @N5
    I don’t know if it was Roman or not, but the manager then was AVB

  10. N5

    Lol TYAG, I got you the Arsene Nose vibrator, it fucks you better than the club ever can and it’s more expensive than any other vibrator in Europe.

  11. Keyser

    Lol in the Christmas Spirit, it’s cute to see London_gunner and Bamford13 helping each other out, a mental crutch of sorts.

    London_gunner – Mikel’s been at Chelsea since 2006, Matic was bought by Chelsea, sold by Chelsea as part of the Luis deal and then bought back by Chelsea because they wanted to sell Luis two years later.

    Bamford13 – Read the above, have you read it ? Taken it in ?

    Chelsea had Esssien, Remires and Mikel, they then thought that’s not enough lets bring in another utility defender while we’re at it we’ll sell Matic to.

    Can you honestly not see that if Chelsea who’ve spent shedloads, who have 26 players on loan, and are basically now employing a farm system across Europe, who have Youth Cup winning players who are lucky to make more than a handful of appearances before being sold or loaned out, are resorting to buying back players at a 1000% markup, that it might, just might be difficult to find what we need.

    Remember you complete and utter plum, that Chelsea are the team we compete against.

    Back to London_gunner – This year we’ve got Debuchy and Chambers, not to mention Bellerin coming through.

    Wilshere, Ox, Ramsey who will need game-time, Theo as a question mark, Ozil, Sanchez and Welbeck who need to be catered to.

    Podolski, Cazorla, Rosicky, Campbell, who either through age or lack of experience need to be monitored and used resourcefully, all you’re doing by adding more players is increasing at the very least any instability ?

    I thought we’d reached that point last night, you’d have to be incredibly dense not to see it, but I thought you’d understood that ?!

  12. Keyser

    http://www.theguardian.com/football/2014/dec/23/borussia-dortmund-jurgen-klopp-bundesliga

    Klopp’s main attempt to explain the riddle has focussed on the lack of a proper pre-season due to the World Cup and many injuries in the squad. Once the batteries were “full again” in the new year, he promised, “it will be much more difficult to beat us.” In other words, there’s nothing wrong with the footballing idea as such, only with its insufficient implementation.

    It’s a typical response from a dogmatic manager. Before the away game at Paderborn, he scalded a local reporter for suggesting that other teams might have “found out” his side and developed strategies for countering Borussia’s high-pressing style. “I’m not looking for a fight, so I will even answer the stupid questions,” he shot back acidly, before going on to claim that Dortmund’s plight was all down to their own failings. “If you say we’ve been ‘found out’, what does that say about the work of opposition coaches for the last few years?”, he added. “Were they unable to see what our game is?”

  13. Ankle-biter

    Zlatan Ibrahimovic is upset at losing out to tennis ace Bjorn Borg as Sweden’s top sports person of all time.Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter ranked the top 150 Swedes but placed Ibrahimovic behind the five-times Wimbledon winner.Congratulated by the paper, the PSG striker responded: “Thank you, but to finish second is like finishing last.”Asked for his top Swedes, he replied: “I would have been No 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5, with due respect to the others”

  14. Dissenter

    Zlatan is an egotistic idiot to even compare himself with the great Bjorn Borg. Bjorn Borg dominated tennis in a time when there were great players everywhere. He turned it to a boring dominance.

    What individual honors has Zlatan ever won?

  15. N5

    @Dissenter, I wouldn’t take it seriously. No person can have the big an ego and be serious can they?

    Although, he won 5 titles, in 5 countries in the time it took Arsenal to win the FA cup since our last FA cup.

  16. Keyser

    Dissenter – Don’t you at some point, being an Arsenal fan, think these pundits talk bollocks.

    Nevile (Gary) – Did the easy thing again and criticise the defence or Flamini in front.

    When you could see that Sanchez was shocking he misplaced almost every pass and barely registered a cross, when we, Arsenal. have our lowest possession total since the stats began, why wasn’t anyone questioning where our offensive game was.

  17. London gunner

    Bamford13

    Bamford13

    “As for you, mate, the problem with your points, IMO, is that in some cases they’re simply wildly wrong and simplistic (eg, Walcott over Hazard) and they come along with silly, arrogant, childish claims about your superior insight into the game (eg, you’re like Dawkins) and mentions of how many women you’re seeing.”

    Thing is I have an opinion and I am not afraid to express it. So you can call it wildly wrong all you like it doesn’t matter to me. I have said hazard puts in a wc like performance every 4th or 5th game. Which is true his still not consistent enough and goes missing in many many games through out a season. I don’t judge a player from there best performance but on their average or normal performance. If anything it’s a more mature and realistic way of viewing the game.

    As for my arrogance. I genuinely sincerely believe that at times I have superior insight in certain areas but not in general. over unorthodox matters because I’m perceiving things others aren’t and calling things before they happen which shows I’m predicting outcomes.. How would I predict outcomes that others have t without some form of superior or advanced knowledge. I am not claiming omniscience just that in soecialised topics I know more than the average fan. But is this unusual Nope BECAUSE WE ALL have areas where we have stronger more in depth knowledge than others.

    Karim and WE are the go to guys about French football.
    Romford pele knows a lot about European players in general
    Rhys is the go to guy on finance and anti theiry Henry theories
    Bamford for me your particular strong point is critiquing the manager and players. By and large correctly

    If you go back and read some of the shit I have had to deal with.
    For instance I was saying before Bayern won the treble Robben was wc literally a bucket load of posters told me his not his to limited and one footed. He went onto being the key reason Bayern won the treble had an insane wc and is currently top scorer in bundisliga. I told people at the time his one of worlds best players and guess what his now a very strong candidate to be the third ballon nominee after Ron and mess.

    So the example I have given above in hindsight but the majority of the grove were of the opinion Robben was not one of the worlds best players. I was the minority and guess what I was right.

    I mention women because I like talking about things I like doing. Others mention movies or computer games.

  18. London gunner

    “Klopp’s main attempt to explain the riddle has focussed on the lack of a proper pre-season due to the World Cup and many injuries in the squad. Once the batteries were “full again” in the new year, he promised, “it will be much more difficult to beat us.” In other words, there’s nothing wrong with the footballing idea as such, only with its insufficient implementation.”

    This isn’t to be inflammatory, but does this not sound like Wenger?
    His making the same excuses now.

  19. THE LEADER

    “Arsene Wenger admits Arsenal’s defence has no “leadership” – and players don’t talk to each other”

    It is not only the defence – but the whole team does not have a leader

    But that is Wenger – he has done that on purpose – he is a master Kant

    He has no leader on purpose because a real Leader would stand up to him – so keeps his position safe – how else can you explain so many players leaving – what they say is true – list everyone who has left. No one young has left because they are still on Wenger’s baby bottle. All players who are sure of themselves have left.

    Do you think Fab really wanted to come back to Arsenal. He seems pretty happy with a proper coach. We say the good left because they wanted to chase trophies. Yes. True. But they left because they also did not want to play the Wenger way – the dreaded U shape pass from side to side like crabs, no penetration, no tactical or strategic awareness, no substitutional awareness, naivety, soft centres, lack of willpower, cowardice and so on. Fantasy football can be played in many different ways. Not just crab, crab, crab. Yes unlocking a defence through an intricate exchange of moving triangles right throughout he middle is awesome ala Jack and Giroud last year but that happens every blue moon.

    Even Song is happy with Allardyce.

    Defence. Why have Bould. Do you think Bould questions Wenger?

    Wenger does not want a Leader. Oh sorry yes he does. The old Arteta who will be a yes man. What a stupid signing about 6 years too late.

    Wenger is the specialist in failure – and he knows how to do it. You have a leaderless team to control everyone.

    Do you think Viera or Adams or anyone like that would put up with Wenger’s coaching and managerial style over the last four of five years????

    Wenger does not want a leader!!!! He wants total control and he has even said it. I need control and I could not work in a club that did not give me freedom or dictated transfers to me. He has said it. He has also extorted the fans by saying “be careful what you wish for because if I go things will become worse.” Wenger is the leader. That is why the defence has no leadership. Bring on the French Revolution