Happy Tuesday PARTY PEOPLE.
What have we lined up for you today?
Rumours flying around the web that fans are going to cheer and clap on 12 minutes to signal their unhappiness at 12 years without a trophy.
Hmmm… reckon we should stick to banners.
Lots of upset and angst in the Arsenal ether at the moment. Another season of promise, down the toilet… with no excuses to cuddle up to.
This is it. This is 12 years of failure. This was, one of many seasons now, where we’re out the back-end of a stadium move. This was supposed to be when it all came good.
But, you know, the truth was always there, hiding in plain sight. Wenger’s failing over the past 12 years haven’t been down to money, they’ve been down to a particular management style decaying with time.
So many people thought the lack of cash was the issue… and look, partly, it was. However, it wasn’t the biggest problem.
Wenger struggled to push through into the modern era. He ignored his horrendous failings in the fitness department for so long. Part of this was down to squad management and sizing, part of this was failing to adopt technologies that could help him understand breakdown before it occurred. In fairness, the club has got notably better at managing the fitness of players… what it hasn’t got to grips with is signing players that are robust… sorry, it hasn’t got to grips with shifting on players that aren’t robust.
Our manager also struggled with tactical flexibility. When he was king, he had a defence that managed itself, blended with flair that was so damn good no one could compete.
Wenger didn’t adapt his approach to account for players that couldn’t play that way. We let our defence decline, we didn’t build a winning system of play that could compete with the bully boys of the league… and we were constantly turned over by our lack of interest in analysis up until last year.
We also started to fall away in the scouting department. In the mid-2000s, one of the biggest shifts in mindset for Wenger was moving away from power and pace, adopting a Barcelona light version of a squad. We signed players that weren’t up to the rigours of the league. We’ve done a better job signing power and pace over the last few years, but we’re still not quite there.
This season felt like it could have been the one. Wenger accidentally discovered what happened when you played someone disciplined in midfield, we had creativity, we saw what pace could do in our line up… then the summer came and all we signed was a keeper.
All the money in the world, and the best we could do was sign a keeper?
Kind of said that the years feigning financial constraints (the last few years) might have been self-imposed…
Anyway, when you don’t add to a squad that finished third the year before, you kind of know what might happen.
The crazy thing was we nearly competed… all our elite rivals fell away… but we couldn’t capitalise. Leicester City and Spurs raced for the title instead.
… and that was the moment, when you saw a club doesn’t need to be Manchester City to compete. It just needs to be smart with money and even smarter with the set up.
The game has moved on rapidly. More money, better tech and smarter approaches dropping in from other sports. Those who were relevant 5 years ago are struggling to adapt. Managers coming through are chained to progress and are getting smarter and smarter about how they go about it. So our next manager doesn’t necessarily have to be one who has a Champions League medal, because we’re watching those guys die out at a rapid pace.
5 years ago, LVG was a top manager. Now he’s a dinosaur. 2 years ago, Jose Mourinho was king, then he was found out in brutal fashion. It’s getting more competitive and it’s only going to get more so. We need someone who is tuned into the new rules of the game. Someone who can progress the club on the pitch and behind the scenes. Who knows who that manager is, but there are plenty of exciting choices about.
… and I think that’s an important thing amongst fans. We’re getting so bored of the stasis, we’d literally take anyone who could offer up a fresh vision and a new direction for the club. People were harping on about me praising Brendan Rodgers a few seasons back, and look, think what you like about him, he had a pretty average Liverpool team playing some of the most exciting football the league has seen and he pushed Liverpool closer than Arsene has in 12 years.
He started to perform poorly, he was rightly chopped… now they’ve brought in a powerhouse of a manager who will have a go at making things right again. Which group of supporters are more excited right now, Arsenal fans who are sitting in 3rd, or Liverpool fans who are sitting in 9th?
Why is that? Because they have an exciting future. It’s not guaranteed they’ll win. But at least the club are having a go and stopping the rot.
… and that’s it for me. Everyone else is trying new things, and we’re just flogging the same old tired horse, with the same damn flog that’s been inept for 12 years.
Anyway, rant over, have a good day!