Guardiola’s men open the door to psychological demons

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I foolishly made an error in yesterday’s post because my eyes wanted me to believe an untruth. Namely, that Arsenal’s corp team had somehow mustered the 2nd richest shirt sponsorship deal in the world.

I. Was. Wrong.

Arsenal may have moved a shade ahead of Chelsea (3rd), who also boast £40m a year deal, but it won’t be by much. The only caveat I can see here is maybe the club insisted they wanted to have second sponsor, either on the training kit, or on the home kit. Like Everton have with Angry Birds.

Upon further investigation, the Evening Standard had this:

Arsenal’s agreement with Emirates means the airline will appear on both matchday and warm-up attire.

Arsenal will however be able to add a sleeve patch from next season, which were it to be on a par with fellow members of the Premier League’s ‘Big Six’ could net them between £5m and £8m.

Still, it’s not that bad, Barca’s Rakuten deal was £47m a year and they’re Barcelona (and I still don’t know what a Rakuten is), home of trophies and great players. Being in the top 5 in the world for shirt deals is still miraculous considering we’re serving up turd pies at the ground these days (even though the stadium naming rights appears to be part of the deal which is the little PR trick they have going on).

Most of what I pointed to in the surrounding article rings true, we get a good deal relative to the market because we have deep ties with the airline. The club is taking an additional £15m a year for the name of the stadium as well. The deal isn’t wet your pants in the boardroom great, but still, it’ll do.

In news related to kits, it has been revealed Arsenal will be wearing red shorts for the second time in 40 years when we play City in the League Cup final this Sunday. I mean, I like the colour combo, but really? Are players going to be identifying their peers on the pitch by glancing closely at their crotch area? Sounds stupid to me. We’ll have an away kit vibe about us and that is not pleasing. teased that AMN might be in the consideration set to play back up CDM at some point in the future. Here he is talking:

“Me and the coaches then had a few discussions where they believed that I had enough technique and some of my talents were wasted out wide when the game goes through the middle. They took a gamble with me by deciding to play me in midfield for a few games.

“It paid off, I had a few good games in there and they saw me start to grow physically. My footballing intelligence started to get better too and I sat down with Carl Laraman and Steve Gatting, and we made a plan on how I could develop as a central midfielder.

I’m not saying we need him there right now, but he has plenty of the attributes you need to make it in that position, and we’ve been crying out for his type of power for the last 2 season. He could be all the bits we loved in Coq, with all the bits we hated in Coq, reworked into good bits.

Gooooood writing.

Poor explanations aside, I think he’d be a smart move there at some point.

The most exciting piece of news to emanate from British soil yesterday was the City defeat to Wigan of all teams. Absolutely incredible that Pep managed to blow a pretty easy FA Cup final route by losing 1-0 away from home at a team 3rd placed in Football League 1.

Sure, the FA Cup isn’t a priority for Pep, but come on, no one with a squad that deep can pretend they didn’t care for the game, or that rotation lowered the chances. That’s an atrocious result. Not just that, a potentially damaging one. Fabian Delph took a red and misses the League Cup final, Sergio Aguero slapped a Wigan fan, which could also result in a suspension IF the FA moved like a proper organisation.

Not just that, there’s obviously the psychological burden of losing to a really shit team.

Say it quietly, but is Wenger going to do it again? He has a habit. The Houdini of the management world. There’s not a box of rubbish he cannot escape, deftly breaking free of the doubt chains before drowning in failure, rising to suck in a breath of fresh contract with which he swipes with a final majestic flick of a pen, to an audience of one (Stan).

Take a bow Wenger, the extension is yours (shudders).

Anyway, we can but dream.

Also, Matt and I are recording the podcast today.

Also, I’m just going to leave this right here. xx

192 Responses to “Guardiola’s men open the door to psychological demons”

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  1. NorthernGoon

    Barcelona bang average? Fucking hell compared to who exactly. The Barca team from guardiola’s time? The greatest club side ever? What a surprise the newer version isn’t as good as that. Shock.

    Typical modern fan. Detached from reality or any perspective.

    Aren’t you the guy that said Higuian was shite?

  2. Bamford10


    “The greatest club side ever?”

    First time we agree on something. Their 5-0 demolition of Real Madrid was probably the best performance I’ve ever seen by any team ever. Incredible. And not only in possession. Their pressing was so effective Madrid couldn’t even string three passes together — and this was an absolutely LOADED Real Madrid side.

  3. WengerEagle

    -Missed penalty at end of 2014/15 season that cost Napoli UCL football vs Lazio.
    -Missed huge opportunity in World Cup Final 2014.
    -Missed sitter vs Chile in Copa America Final 2015.
    -Oh look, another missed sitter vs Chile, this time Copa America 2016.
    -Bottles penalty in 2016 CA Final Penalty Shoot-out vs Chile.
    -Bottles penalty to put Juventus 3-1 up in tie vs Spuds to essentially ice the win, blazes it wildy against bar.

    Just some instances when Higuain shrank.

  4. Bamford10


    Unfortunately, you continue to misrepresent certain arguments that are often made or have often been made on Le Grove.

    Take, for example, your mischaracterization of the “top four” argument. No one here — certainly, no intelligent person here — ever claimed that there was no value whatsoever in finishing top four. Such a claim would be absurd given that qualifying for the CL (i) earns you a pretty sum of money and (ii) it is difficult to lure top players to your club if you’re not competing in the CL.

    The argument that was actually made here and elsewhere was that (i) finishing top four is not the same as winning a trophy and (ii) finishing top four is not enough for a club of Arsenal’s resources and stature, i.e., Arsenal should also be competing for titles.

    That’s a different argument. But rather than deal with that argument, you’ve invented a distorted straw-man argument which is much easier to dismiss.

    As for the “money” argument, no one here has ever argued that “money doesn’t matter”. Such a claim would be even more absurd than the claim above, that finishing top four means nothing whatsoever.

    Money obviously matters. No reasonable person would contest this. What has been argued here — correctly — is that while Arsenal may not have the resources of a City or a United, we still have the resources to compete with these clubs and to contend for titles from time to time. This is true, and this is a perfectly reasonable position.

    Do you reject this view? Are you of the opinion that Arsenal can NEVER compete for a title as long as they do not have equal the money a City or United do? If so, not only is your view incorrect, it’s defeatist and sad — and frankly, a little pathetic.

  5. Bamford10


    ‘I wonder how many times you said that Arsenal were an elite team after finishing in the top four.’

    Well, that depends a little on what you mean by “elite”. Certainly you can’t be considered an elite European team if you’re not competing in the CL. So finishing top four is more or less a precondition for being regarded as “elite”.

    As for whether I thought of us as “elite” when we were finishing top four, the answer is yes and no. On one hand, we were clearly top 8 or top 16 in Europe — and in that sense, “elite”. On the other hand, with the exception of 2010-11, there was always an obvious gulf in class between us and the top four or five teams in Europe — and thus in that sense, we always fell a little short of “elite”.

    But as I said, this depends a little on how you define “elite”.

  6. Bamford10


    Now you’re just being silly. There’s a monetary value, there’s a value in terms of attracting top players, and there’s a value to the brand, which affects commercial deals.

  7. Redtruth

    “Now you’re just being silly. There’s a monetary value, there’s a value in terms of attracting top players, and there’s a value to the brand, which affects commercial deals.”

    Have these values improved Arsenal as a team…No…so i ask again, what football value is there in Arsenal finishing in the top 4.

  8. Akilan

    Even a fit & firing Ramsey surely adds something to Barcelona? If you’re gonna pay 40m for a midfielder, would you even consider paulinho as an option? Shows how the mighty have fallen.
    There are a lot of teams that can go toe to toe with this barca midfield, if not altogether dominate them. When Messi’s eventual decline starts, I can see barca going through a period of catch-up to other teams in Europe. They may win another CL or 2 but it will be workman like not because they were the class of the top CL teams.

  9. Champagne Charlie


    My original comment is how I see things, you’re belittling talent that would assert itself elsewhere merely because they’re also rans for one of the best sides in the planet. Turan, Vidal et al are all good players that would get more shine elsewhere.

    Beyond that though, you’re overlooking the fundamental element with Barcelona that frankly no other team comes near. That’s their way.

    Bayern, Juve, Real, and any other elite side are that way through top recruitment or leagues functioning to harvest talent fir a dominant club (hey Bayern). So while each of their respective benches have ‘names’ on them, Barcelona’s is always stocked with La Masia products that rarely put a foot wrong in their system. Or lesser names that function in their system the same way others wouldn’t etc. All in all you’re massively underselling these players imo, and worrying too much about the name and other jazz of others. Something a lot of fans do with arsenal frankly, when it’s players for purpose we need over any flashy in vogue bollocks.

  10. WengerEagle


    Disagree, Turan was a very good player for Atleti but he’s clearly not as good as he had been hyped, he had his chances at Barcelona and he never asserted himself at the club, not even for a mini-spell. He’s not ancient, no reason why he should end up back in Turkey at 31 years old if he still has a lot to offer a top team.

    Vidal is shite, not sure how you can argue otherwise if you’ve been watching him for Barcelona, their own fans cannot stand him. Alcacer is another player that would do ok for a mid-table club, probably a 10-15 league goal a season CF which isn’t bad but for a £30 million signing you’d want a lot more than that.

    My point was that Barcelona have recruited poorly this last few years, something which is hard to argue when you consider that most of their signings are warming the bench/reserves rather than adding substance to the first team compared to the other elite European clubs, I’m not saying that they would be rubbish at other clubs, but what good is that to Barcelona exactly?

    Re your next point, I’m sorry but that’s bollocks. I don’t care about sexy names, look at the excellent job that Kimpembe is doing for PSG or Nacho for Real Madrid, none of these players that I am talking about are adding any significant value to the Barcelona first team which is stacked full of top players but goes thin once you delve beyond the first 11-13 players (now that they have added Coutinho and Dembele).

    Who are these top academy prospects that you are referring to? Sergi Roberto is 26 and Busquets, Messi and Iniesta are part of the furniture. Deulofeu wasn’t at the required level so they loaned him out to Watford and Denis Suarez has been a disappointment.

    If it weren’t for Lionel Messi’s superhuman efforts, this would be an average Barcelona side. It’s extremely functional and you have lots of very good players but him and Suarez are the only real consistent matchwinners and the latter needs that spark provided for him whereas Messi is good enough to create openings for himself.

    This is pre-Coutinho just as a foreword, fully expect him to add a great deal to the side once he’s integrated. Dembele too. (Argument was directed at what we witnessed tonight and watching Barcelona for much of the first half of the season).

  11. WengerEagle

    Just to be clear, I mean average for a Barcelona side which is comparing it to the incredible standards that they have set for themselves over the last decade plus, obviously they would still be the 2nd/3rd strongest team in the league even without Messi.

  12. mysticleaves


    The core of the barcelona side are too good so any back up player will find it hard to add anything to barca.

    The only disappointment in that list is Andre Gomes because he was bought to eventually take over from Iniesta. was he any good for barca, he would have reduced the amount of game time Iniesta receives now from last season or so.

    That does not mean Andre will not go to another team and absolutely beast it.

    Arda Turn, any time he played, he was very good. Understood the barca game and always gave them something too. I wonder what you expected from him. To bench Messi or Iniesta? He was clearly not their level.

    Lucas digne was a back up buy, alcacer was a no hoper. What do you want to add to a team that has/had MSN?

    As for Paulinho, he has been nothing but awesome since he went to barca. He has proved many people wrong and going by your comments about him, you are a part of that list.l

  13. mysticleaves

    Re higuain, I wonder how shit you consider Robben especially and Ballack so missing crucial penalties that ensures they finished second for a while. Higuain is class. If you don’t rate him, Its a hate agenda

  14. Emiratesstroller


    A top 4 position in EPL would be an expectation based on Arsenal’s current financial situation.

    Realistically we are not close to that position as a result of our defensive frailties in away matches.

    Arsenal have not been since 2004-5 a team competing for Title Honours primarily because we have not been able to compete financially with the likes of
    both Manchester clubs and Chelsea.

    However, what makes our current situation even worse following emergence of Liverpool and Spurs two teams who do not compete financially with us is
    the “stale” management and coaching at club plus brittleness of our defence.

  15. mysticleaves

    “Arsenal have not been since 2004-5 a team competing for Title Honours primarily because we have not been able to compete financially with the likes of
    both Manchester clubs and Chelsea.”

    False, it’s a part of the reason we couldn’t compete but not the primary one. Wenger was more primary to us not competing than money

  16. Emiratesstroller

    mystic leaves

    Sorry but we had very little spending power in the period that we were developing Highbury and that also coincided with the recession post 2008.

    However, Wenger is certainly a key factor in our decline over last 5-6 years.

    Arsenal have confirmed since 2013 that they were able once again capable of
    competing in transfer market, but our dithering and poor acquisitions and
    game play is down to Wenger since then.

  17. Pierre

    Regarding aguero’s escape from punishment for striking a fan I have to say I am amazed at the decision.

    Aguero’s actions could have easily have escalated into a mass brawl if he hadn’t been held back by Wigan and city players.

    Imagine the scenario if he hadn’t been held back…
    1)Aguero chases and then grabs the fan and maybe attempts to hurt him as Aguero had definitely lost control of himself.

    2)the fans friends or other fans on the pitch witness him being attacked by Aguero and decide to get involved.

    3)other city players then get involved and before you know it within about ten seconds you would have a mass brawl.

    Luckily for Aguero he was held back, if not then there would have been a major incident.

    I will repeat from yesterday that a large part of Aguero’s reaction was due to the frustration of city losing, he is a bad loser. If city had won and a Wigan fan had confronted him then Aguero’s reaction would have been completely different.

    The FA have now set a precedent by letting off Aguero… Basically they are saying it’s OK for a player to strike a fan and then continue to try and attack the fan who at that time was backing away from Aguero.

  18. mysticleaves

    I know about players being role models and beacon of humility cos they are in the spotlight and all, fans should also be treated the same way. Aside Aguero being a player, he is also a man and has certain principles and boundaries. The actions are what we saw but it was alleged the fan said horrible things and then spat at him.

    If anybody were in Aguero’s shoes (they were losing also so emotions were negative), they would have done same. I certainly would have. F*ck role model sh*t. My son would give me a great hug and kiss of he learns I beat up a moron that insulted him or his mother, for example.

  19. Bamford10


    The reason we haven’t contended in a decade is Wenger, not money. We’ve had and spent plenty of money. Had that money been spent more intelligently, and had we a better manager, we would’ve contended for a title (and probably won one) at least once. I am surprised you are making such an obviously bogus (and AKB-ish) argument.

  20. mysticleaves

    Sorry but we had very little spending power in the period that we were developing Highbury and that also coincided with the recession post 2008.

    Emirates, You are actually right. I just feel we could have managed the team better from 2011 down. and the management would have taken care of Wenger long before now

  21. Pierre

    Your missing the point

    There would have been a mass brawl and possibly fans or players hurt if Aguero had not been held back.

    You are a much braver, stronger and more intelligent person to restrain yourself in those situations than to act like a thug and take the law into your own hands.

  22. gonsterous

    I would much rather the fan was banned from games for life than Aguero was suspended.

    I thought fans get banned if they enter the field ??

  23. Pierre

    “I would much rather the fan was banned from games for life than Aguero was suspended.”

    The fan should be banned for life and aguero given a ban or suspended ban to act as a deterrent to any other player who thinks they can go chasing after a fan because they said” horrible things “…. The spitting, if it actually happened (debatable), is not nice.
    Did not Cantona get a 9 month ban for attacking a fan because he was saying” horrible things”

  24. Pierre

    You’re a teacher correct

    If a pupil comes up to you and confronts you, do you strike out at him and then chase him round the school…

    If you did, would you still be teaching now.

  25. Pierre

    Of course you wouldn’t because you have to apply self control as Aguero should have done…. He’s a lucky boy if he gets away with it

  26. Bamford10

    Fantastic goal from Willian. Great player. Why Conte hasn’t started him many times this year is beyond me. Great player.