The management perve fest went into overdrive last night. Just so much exciting shiz going on all around Europe with some really good teams. Is it me, or is the Europa League more exciting than the Champions League?
Spursday night football is pretty fun these days!
Two of Europe’s most exciting managers met up last night, Jurgen Klopp, poster child for many Arsenal fans, took on young upstart Tomas Tuchel. The Dortmund manager, for me, is the most Arsene like manager in Europe at the moment… I mean, like, Arsene in his prime days. Smart, calm, anti-establishment and innovative. The two teams battled it out in a classic, the German’s racing to a lead… then capitulating late on.
I mean, nothing says Tuchel is perfect for Arsenal quite like throwing away a two goal lead because you can’t stop bombing forward. Really love his attitude.
‘Ultimately we were hit by a late sucker punch from the opposition. S*** happens,’ Dortmund’s head coach said.
‘There was no individual part of the puzzle that did not fit. Actually a lot worked very well today.
‘After falling behind early Liverpool had to take a lot of risks. We were on the verge of taking a three-goal lead on several occasions.
‘It’s the small details that count, the cross-field passes, the passes into the gaps.
‘If we had made it 3-0 then it would have probably been all over, but as it was Liverpool were always in it.
So Wenger, right? Bar the swearing, which I childishly enjoy.
I also watched the Sevilla / Bilbao game. Another two coaches who are fascinating to watch. I had the pleasure of visiting Bilbao at their noisy house in August with Alex. They went out on penalties in a fun game. Two technical sides slogging it out with style and panache.
Sevilla, are pushing for their third Europa Final. Quite amazing really!
A great night of football. I think king of the managers amongst Arsenal fans is still Diego Simeone. Bar him being an incredible manager, tactician and man motivator, I feel the Arsneal fan mood is a bit like it is on the American political scene, we’ve had a visionary Democrat in for, what, like, 4 terms and now we’re hungry for something a bit progressive Republican.
Simeone is all about the defence. He’s all about organisation. He’s all about making Arsenal great again (So sorry to steal from Trump / Reagan).
He’s very much an anti-Wenger replacement.
I’d be game for it. I could fall in love with pragmatism. I could stomach a functioning team that worked hard. I could handle a bit of winnertivity.
Simeone also rocks a suit really well… and damn, that hair is slick.
Don’t get me wrong, I still very much love Klopp and Tuchel. The jury is still out for me on whether Klopp can turn around Liverpool. The one thing you have to say is he’s working wonders, at times, with a very average Liverpool squad. He’s getting the most out of players, he has them playing his system and he has excitement back in the stadium up there.
I’d kill for a bit of that.
I think most of the fanbase would. It’s not just that Wenger isn’t winning things, it’s that things are stale. I mean, even if we’d won the league this year, it’d be in a pretty grim fashion. The ship feels very much rudderless at the moment. Fergie would change that up by bringing in fresh thinking with a new assistant… I’m not sure Wenger even listens to Steve Bould, so not sure that’d work. That’s the trouble. If you don’t listen to the heads around you, it’s hard to assess what you’re doing.
> I’m not saying Steve Bould should go. Just saying it’s hard to see how fresh thinking gets into the setup if you manager doesn’t listen?
Talking of exPros, I ranted off on Twitter yesterday about Martin Keown saying that Wenger should leave when he decides to. I find this sort of view abhorrent and transparently sycophantic. When exPros say things that don’t make sense, there’s usually an ulterior motive. A lot of people critiqued me for that, because clearly, Wenger is still a trailblazing genius in their eyes… my argument there is that anyone who understands the game will know that his reputation died with leather boots.
Weeeeeeeeell, to cut a long story short, it only took a day to see what ol’ Martin was getting at… this is what he had to say in his Daily Mail article today.
‘I’m a big believer in ex-players becoming more involved in football and not just as managers or coaches. There is a real resistance in the game to employing former pros at board level or in more administrative roles but Dennis sums up perfectly why it can work.’
You don’t say Martin! There you have it. I mean, it was pretty clear he was angling the day before. Even clearer when you know he took his UEFA badges at Arsenal… then didn’t get a job in the game.
… and look, I think it’d be a great idea to have great players back at the club. Arsenal are full of them. I think it’s almost a bit weird how many explayer we have back at the club or just simply using the gym. David Seaman, Freddie Ljungberg, Jens Lehmann, Thierry Henry, Ryan Garry, Bobby Pires… the list is goes on.
They want to be part of the club, which is great. So just take the comments of support of a failing manager with a pinch of ‘what’s in it for me’…
Good news though, is Ozil and Alexis want to stay onboard past this summer. I just hope Wenger has a plan to get the most out of them. It’s not really acceptable that the best number 10 in the world is feeding our strike force. It’s also not right that Sanchez is playing for himself. If we’re to win anything, Wenger has to work out a way of getting the most out of both of them next year.
The more I think about this summer, the more I think it’s going to have to be a big one.
Players that you could see moving on, or being relegated to smaller roles at the club:
- Ospina (should probably go)
- Arteta (Free)
- Rosicky (Free)
- Flamini (Free)
- Chambo (Jonathan Wilson says he’s off)
- Gibbs (Jonathan Wilson says he’s off)
- Mertesacker (Getting on)
- Santi Cazorla (Getting on now)
- Ramsey (where does he fit in?)
- Theo (kind of not cutting it)
- Wilshere (will he ever be fit?)
That’s quite a crock of players who you might need to replace. It certainly can’t be a summer of ‘one maybe two quality players’… but, it could be a summer where Wenger shoots to the kids to make breakthroughs. Gnabry is still at the club, Chris Willock is doing good things, Chuba didn’t really smash it at Hull but he has potential, Iwobi is here to stay, Jeff is about… Bielek / Crowley.
Look, all I’m saying, is do not doubt Wenger’s world-class ability to change course from ‘I NEED ALL THE PLAYERS’ to… ‘gee whizz Gerry Payton, I think we have internal solutions.’
Have a terrific day. It’s been a fun week of blogging!
P.S. I’m going to do a daily podcast next week. A round-up of the day in a minute. See how that floats your multi-format boat.
P.P.S One of my best pals beat breast cancer. Here’s her take on how you can help those close to you if they’re suffering. Funny, sad, helpful. READ HERE. #fuckcancer