Some rightful critique of yesterday’s post came in, mainly centred around me using Pochettino and Ranieri as standout managers this season, then saying they’ll get killed next year because of all the additional competitions.
Thought > Wenger is average across all competitors. So maybe we should keep him?
Ok, fair critique. There are a few points that I failed to pull out yesterday.
1. Wenger has had the financial advantage for pretty much twenty odd years. Even when we had little money for transfers, we still rocked a top four Champions League wage bill. We’ve had 20 years of a mega advantage, so we’ve always had a squad capable of working 4 competitions… and yet, we’ve never won a CL and we haven’t won the league in 12 years.
> The pretenders, Spurs and Leicester, have combined wage bills that are less than Arsenal, United, Chelsea and City alone. Think about that (thanks @timpayton).
2. The challenge for Spurs and Leicester this summer is taking their 11 man starting teams, and making Champions League squads. The managers have to identify names and make those players gel… the corporate team have to assess how risky it is for them to go big. Because the chances are, they won’t make the CL the season after. Then they’re left with expensive players on expensive contracts.
Arsenal don’t have quite the same issue. We’re a big club, with big commercial deals to fall back on. Losing out on CL for a season doesn’t really kill us in the same way it would Spurs (who are now building a stadium) and Leicester (who are fucking tiny).
3. Wenger has superior financial might. He has a superior name personally. He works at a superior club with a superior reputation. He has Champions League salaries he can pay. He has £100m in the bank to spend on players. He has a better squad of players.
Yet still, we couldn’t craft a run in the Champions League. We went out of the FA Cup quarter finals, we went out of the Capital One Cup to Sheffield Wednesday in the 5th round. We didn’t make the qquarter-finalsof the Champions League for the sixth year running. We lost the league to a team who nearly got relegated last season.
Wenger had every possible advantage this season, including ‘stability’, yet he fucked it.
So sure, it’s going to be hard for the pretenders next season, but not because the managers are sub par, but because CL is such a hard competition to establish yourself in.
* And yes, I know Wenger established us in the competition, and I’m grateful. But come on, we need to go beyond simply existing after so long.
ONTO LAST NIGHT
What a superb game of football that was. Bayern Munich raced out of the blocks having 17 shots on goal in the first half alone. At this level, the difference between winning and losing is so damn fine. People point to Pep being a failure, but jeez, how can you call him that after a game like that? Muller missing a penalty in the first half, a world-class striker who has a World Cup under his belt, is such a rarity. Then Griezmann, running that counter attack so close it was hard to call.
Simeone knows his shit though. Watching Atletico play is almost theraputic. The discipline is so strong. Everyone know their role. Everyone fights like their lives are on the line. It’s Mourinho football, but with far more about it. It’s exciting.
Personally, I still think Pep leaves Bayern the greatest coach on the planet. I thought Marcotti’s comments on him were spot on.
As far as I’m concerned — and, more importantly, as far as many in the Bayern hierarchy have told me — Guardiola has already succeeded. He introduced concepts and an evolution that has simply made his players and the club better. And that’s a manager’s first job.
When Bayern were on their way out, right up until — who else? — Thomas Muller’s dramatic stoppage-time equalizer, some people took glee at making sweeping pronouncements: Guardiola bottled it, he’s a fraud. He can no longer do it in big games. Tiki-taka is dead.
(The idiocy of that previous statement leaves you lost for words; thinking you can sum up the current Bayern team in eight letters and thinking what you see is what Guardiola’s Barca played in 2008.)
But how about looking at it a different way? How about noticing that, late in the game, Guardiola got Bayern to played differently, with crosses and directness and an aerial assault that was entirely distinct from what they’d done earlier? How about noting that such a shift actually requires a fair dose of humility?
That segment comes from this article pitting Allegri against the Spaniard. Shows how far off the pace Wenger is when you read such things. Pep came in, brought new ideas and made the club more appealing and made the players much better. That’s what we need. Fresh ideas. PLEASE.
Finally, a bit of good news. Like any true dictator seeking a 6th term in charge, the strong rumours are that Wenger is going to offer out sweets in his next budget. By sweets, I mean he’s going to go hard for big names this summer. Big names that’ll get you excited.
It’s great news if he delivers, because it’s Wenger next season whether we like it or not. It doesn’t take much to please our docile fanbase, the thing is, there’s a nasty surprise waiting in the wings…it’s a three-year deal. Wenger is teasing you so he can stay in this job forever.
I was reading tweets from Rapha Honigstein earlier saying that Heycknes was moved on because he retired… and he was also struggling with health issues. One can’t help but be concerned we’re going to offer our manager a new deal, taking him into his seventies. I’ve nothing against older folk, but seriously man, a Premier League manager in his seventies sounds like a recipe for something horrendous. How far do we take this? Will he ever give up power?
Anyway, I’m pleased we’re getting players in, but read that article from earlier… new players aren’t a match for world-class managers who have all the bits Wenger has no interest in learning about. They’ll just be exciting pieces of paper, used to cover the ever-growing cracks at Arsenal.
Anyway, that’s me done. HAVE A GREAT DAY.