WELL, WELL, WELL! Did I enjoy the weekend of football? Yes, yes I did.
January was set up as a month for us to catch up some of the lost ground in December and so far, it’s looking okay-ish. We picked up 3 points during a Super Sunday weekend when we weren’t part of the Super.
That meant major teams would drop points. Chelsea didn’t, nor did Spurs… but the major half surprise was that City were destroyed by Everton away from home. Then in the game TV have been trying to build as the UKs biggest derby delivered despite it not being so, delivered us as a draw.
So what did we learn? Well, to me it looked pretty clear that the two Manchester sides are going to struggle the most to make Top 4. The two teams that spent the most money this summer look inadequately equipped to break into the elite competition places. Manchester City looked disjointed, their squad somehow looks weak and their spirit isn’t quite there. Quite an achievement from Pep considering he dropped £160m last summer, quietly usurping United as the biggest spenders.
United look uninspired. Mourinho built a Ferrari and his driving it offroad, eating a cheeseburger from Wimpy, listening to One Direction’s first album . They’re not very good with the ball on the ground, they’re massively into the long ball and after Mourinho gave up on Carrick who was having a good game, they ceded to old instincts and suddenly that long ball to the big man was back into gear. Horrible to watch.
I know this sounds so Alan Shearer, but I can’t help but think all the hype around Paul Pogba isn’t helping his game. They’ve branded his haircut. They have a special TwitterEmoji, that by the way, is not cheap to buy. They flash his name around the billboards, in a move that ironically does more to highlight he’s playing than his game. Pogba plays like a man who thinks he needs to dab to be deemed talent. The stupid decisions, the shots from 35 yards, the Hollywood balls every 5minutes. He looks very unfocused in my opinion and I’m surprised pragmatist Jose Mourinho is tolerating the interference of the club here.
Liverpool looked smarter and Klopp certainly sounded pleased after the game when he said they held back from the high press to deal with a United who ‘play with the ball in the air 25% of the time.’ They defended reasonably well, Simon Mignolet looking kind of like a real keeper. I thought they were unlucky to concede from Lurker-in-Chief, Zlatan, quite late on. He’s proved me wrong big time this season, cap doffed, humble pie consumed or whatever… still wouldn’t have taken him at Arsenal. Giroud has been banging them in as our #2 and Sanchez is a GOD through the middle.
I think some of the press around Pep is a little laughable. Sure, I agree with you that he’s not impressed. He underestimated the league and he hasn’t sacrificed enough of his artistic tendencies to make an impact. He also bought badly. Anyone could have told him Bravo was a bad signing, he’s not made the most of John Stones (who I still think will come good) and Ilkay Gundogan is a super player but it was pretty clear he was a massive injury risk. His team is also very old considering how he wants to play. Kolarov 31, Yaya 33, Clichy 31, Sagna 33, Aguerro 29, Silva 31… no spring chickens.
… but let’s not lose our minds here. Speak to anyone who knows their sausages in the game and they’ll tell you he’s the king. I know English people in particular get hard at the prospect of some pony foreigner failing in A LEAGUE OF MEN FUCK OFF BACK TO PORTUGAL YOU SPANISH MUG. But let me tell you English fans, Claudio Ranieri bossed the f*ck out of our league last year with Leicester City. If the tinkerer, a man who had never won the league before that, can crack it… Pep might just do as well.
Still, what is exciting is there’s 6 contenders for the league this year. There are some of the best managers in the world battling it out, and we’re still in the mix. We’re still looking good for top 4 and we’re still in the Champions League, albeit for only a month or so. So we can’t complain, because we know the league is beyond us every year.
I thought this post from Rhys Jaggar on the thing we don’t want to talk about was interesting.
Spurs vs Arsenal debate:
Firstly, Spurs have almost as much bang for £110m as Arsenal get for £200m. You cannot argue otherwise: two seasons running the equal of Arsenal on half the wage bill.
Secondly have demonstrably mastered two playing formations, namely 4-2-3-1 and 3-4-3. BBC pundits said the Spurs 3-4-3 is better than Chelsea’s, who won 13 backto-back. Their manager is clearly tactically astute, flexible and a master of more than one formation. He is certainly the equal of Wenger and more on that score.
As for ‘wasting’ the Bale money, well, they made an accounting loss on the 7 replacements to be sure, but I wonder what accounting profit you would put on Alderweireld, Kane, Alli, Dier and Winks right now? I would put it north of £150m, so in the round they have grown their player asset base since 2013.
Would you say Arsenal have done the same? Bellerin certainly a huge accounting profit, Iwobi with potential to become that but not yet at peak valuation, Sanchez value increased, Ozil not sure (but probably declined much either), Koscielny probably a big paper profit but not for more than 18 months going forward.
As for the new WHL stadium, the big difference is revenues are now much higher relative to build cost. Top estimates suggest double cost of Emirates stadium, but revenues for clubs like Spurs could be 5-6 fold higher by 2020 compared to 2005. Their match day revenue will rise £60-70m like Arsenal’s did to cover half the mortgage, a £20-25m a year sponsorship deal could do the rest. All the TV money will go on wages, not the mortgage, I think……as will other commercials. Big discriminator will be whether Spurs see stadium as a 365 day a year asset, design it that way and bring in revenues as a result. Hiring wifi-enabled boxes by the hr, day, week etc to business can transform office space in Tottenham without other building occurring. Who knows their plans, but Arsenal saw theirs as a football stadium, not a piece of commercial real estate. Time will tell which approach makes best sense….
Let that sink in.
Petr Cech says if Arsenal continue to win, he thinks Mesut and Ozil might stay on and lead us into temptation…
“I think for us it is important to show them how much we need them in the team and to show them how much we want to win,” he told Standard Sport.
“Then obviously it will make their decision easier. If they see that we are competitive, everybody is ready to win things together and they know how important they are for our team, then this will make their decision easier.”
BETTER GET WINNING THEN PETEY!
Finally, the PR train is gathering steam and you have to imagine our vision for a Wengerless 2018 are dying faster than those little lizards born into a FUCKING SNAKE PIT on Planet Eart 2. Mustafi had this to say to Goal on why he joined Arsenal.
“Sometimes you don’t know how good a coach is if you’re not training him with day in, day out”
“Him being the boss of Arsenal was important in the fact that I knew he’s been here a long time and there’s a structure.”
“Playing for Valencia and Sampdoria every 12 months I had a new coach and that’s difficult because every time, new coach, different idea, different kind of football.”
I mean, more acceptable to me than Ozil. Valencia are a shit show and so are the Italians. But all these interviews are adding up to one thing…
Right, I’m thinking of maybe recording a podcast a little later today, based on your feedback.
If it’s good, you’ll have a little gift tomorrow.
HAVE A GOOD DAY x