You know when your partner has bought you tickets to the theatre or something like that, and they’re all excited about it, they’ve bought a new outfit, they’ve told all their work friends where they’re going… and you roll up to pick them up at 6pm, drunk, covered in kebab then you say something obnoxious about their outfit, try and calm the angst with ‘but it was just banter’…
‘You always have to ruin everything’, they say.
That’s Arsene Wenger in his UNREAL press conference before the game today.
After completely making a hash of #Summer2016, Wenger has come out on the offensive, he even made reference to one of my comments from yesterday.
Here are some of the choice quotes:
“We were the highest team in expected chances created. We were the highest team in quality of chances created in the final third.”
“Our finishing last year was of a worse quality than the year before and we had the same players. That means that it’s a bit cyclical.”
A bit cyclical? I mean, what the hell is that about? A bit cyclical? Like professional athletes go through seasonal changes, like in mother nature? I just can’t believe that the manager would make such a daft assessment. It shows that even though he’s trying to be a data master, he’s still all about the gut the feel.
Giroud, at 29, is going to come back on cycle… demonstrate more mobility, a calmer head in front of goal. Theo is somehow going to become the player we’d all hoped he would ten years. It’s almost not worth making comment on such a bizarre unprofessional parallel.
The same happens in the marketing game…
‘Consumers are averagely only watching 7 seconds of branded content’
‘What’s the solution?’
‘Get the brand logo in the first 3 seconds’
No one takes time out to ask why people who watch 3 hours of online content a day are switching out after 7 seconds, because the answer is hard.
‘Our content is shite’ does not go down well with people hiding from the truth. It’s the same with Arsene here. He says we created more than ever last season, we didn’t deliver and that’s not down to quality, it’s down to an intangible that is the cyclical nature of being rubbish.
Then there’s his customary comment, which comes in a cyclical wave…
“I think it’s linked with the fact that we had some players out for a long period last season and hopefully we will have everybody available for much longer this season.”
We had a pretty fine injury record last season. I mean, who were we missing? Danny Welbeck? He’s still gone. Giroud was there for a large chunk and still is. Sanchez was there for most of it. Who else am I missing? Santi Cazorla was a miss, but again, he’s getting on now, I’m seriously doubtful if we can count on a full season of fitness from him, nor can we count on him coming back the player he was. A bit of a nothing statement. Especially in light of having 3 players out long term and missing Jack Wilshere already. Also, players being out can be dealt with by having quality in reserve.
Then he dismisses vibrancy, an observation I made in yesterdays blog.
“Vibrancy doesn’t make you win games,”
“What makes you win game is the quality of the performance and the quality of your football. And you have to focus just on that.”
Now the manager is dismissing basic psychology? He is saying that the way players feel about the people they’re playing with doesn’t make you win games? Hmmm… I seriously beg to differ here. It’s not even really an argument. Freshness in the camp, buzz around new dynamics and a big bucket load of hope are SO important to a squad. I really can’t imagine many managers on the planet suggesting otherwise.
Then the big comment comes in… the, ‘who the fuck are you talking to?’
“That is very difficult in the modern game. There is always demand for new but new is just new.”
“What is new makes news. But apart from that it makes noise. But the noise is not necessarily always quality.”
“[United and City] signed a lot of players the year before as well… if you want to make everybody happy, then just buy 20 new players and everybody is full of hope until the first game starts and then we’re back to reality.”
The how dare you commentary.
Fans demand new because the game demands new.
Fans demand new because the old has consistently proven not to deliver quality.
The fans demand new because they have ambition.
All the best managers in the world deliver new. Tuchel in Dortmund bought 8 players, Juventus bought 6 or so players, United leveled our on 4 massive signings, Pep G is on 5 players and just sacked his number 1 keeper for Bravo of Barcelona, Klopp signed 5… the only manager who thinks new isn’t a good idea is the only manager you can pretty much guarantee won’t win the Champions League and the only manager who likely won’t get anywhere near the league.
Wenger’s philosophy of not addressing squad issues has delivered nothing of note, ever. His biggest successes have come off the back of buying in lots of names, bar 2004, but we had a world class squad that year.
Riling the fans again, because it’s his club. So depressing.
The failing @nytimes, which never spoke to me, keeps saying that I am saying to advisers that I will change. False, I am who I am-never said
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 14, 2016
Saw this tweet, at least Donald is open about not changing.
Anyway, onto the game today.
We know the drill. Klopp is going to send his pretty average players out to decimate us in the first 30minutes with some pretty hardcore pressing. They’ve added pace to their lineup, a full summer of fitness so harsh it’s already pinging hamstrings and he’ll have injected a bit of winnertivity.
There will be two pockets we have to ride, the first 30minutes, then they’ll tire, then 10minutes in the second half when they’ll have a 10minute burst we’ll have to deal with.
I’d imagine we’ll opt for a strong midfield. Coquelin and Xhaka makes sense. Give our shaky defence a bit of cover. In the hole we’ll stick the blonde lightning rod Aaron Ramsey. I’m not sure who I’m thinking out on the right, but it’ll likely be Theo there with Sanchez on the left… or maybe Sanchez in the middle with Iwobi on the left? I’ve really no clue there on account of Arsenal not having a fit proven centre forward.
But hey, fuck the fans for believing in vibrancy and new players.
Our defence is in a bit of a pickle as well. Do you subject your new signing Rob Holding to a Liverpool onslaught? Or do you stick Debuchy or Monreal into the middle to give a bit of an experienced hand to the often shaky Callum Chambers?
Who knows what the manager will be thinking today.
I’m not sure how this match is going to pan out. We’re really not in good shape with our backline, so it could go either way. I don’t think Liverpool are that good a side, but we know they’re capable of being giant killers based on some of their preseason antics.
5 points out of the opening 9 will be a success. Watford and Leicester both had average starts yesterday, so a win today could make for 9. Big, big game that will set the tone for the season and sadly, how we play out the rest of the window. If we win, Mustafi and done. If we lose, I’d suspect you’ll see some panic buys to bring in some vibrancy and counter the cyclical nature of average.
Looks like a good day in London, I hope everyone is having a good beer before the game, I’ll be watching from Manhattan jealous as you like about not being there with family and friends!
COME ON ARSENAL!