What can Arsenal learn from the Red Sox?

by & filed under News Review.

Enjoy the monthly column from Jonathan. Make sure to follow him @jblauphoto 

It’s Monday, January 28th, (as I write this,) and Arsenal are the 6th best football club in England.

(I don’t want to hear that we’re still ahead of United on goal different. Shut your mouth.)

It’s a cold, sunny Monday here in the Rocky Mountains, and I’m trying to synopsize the last month for you, since I wrote my “what the fuck is Emery thinking?” column at the end of the year.

At this point, 8 months into his reign, I’d say that the jury is still out on Unai Emery, but doubts are beginning to creep into the global fan base.

(Will he ever stick with one line-up? Or formation? Does he have a grand plan?)

Personally, I was pretty surprised he didn’t run out the same lineup for the United FA Cup match that crushed Chelsea earlier in the week.

Surely, outside of changing the goal-keeper, I thought he would have to play the same team, given how well they handled Chelsea.

Three DM’s supporting 2 (finally) capable CBs, with Ramsey feeding Lacazette and Aubameyang.

I was sure he’d go back to the well.

But, of course, I was wrong.

You can understand why he put Iwobi into the team ahead of Guendouzi, and it’s not like it was a crazy idea. It’s just that almost anyone else would have said, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

But not Unai Emery, who seemingly loves to chop and change more than my 6 year old daughter playing with her squishies and Shopkins. (Don’t ask.)

Lots of media coverage has focused on Emery the tactical coach, or lately, Emery the failed motivator. On and on, we focus on his rebuild or his vision.

But during the last month, lots of ink was also spilled about the departure of Sven Mislintat, and the nasty power struggle that ended with his shanking out back behind the basketball court.

Surely, to the outside observer, it looks like Arsenal are in turmoil, as there is no firm system in place to replace the “Arsene decides” battle plan that was wheat-pasted up in the board room for the last 22 years.

The truth of the matter is, if you want to understand where we stand in the Premier League right now, you have to look to the Boston Red Sox.

Really, the Red Sox have all the answers.

I’ve noticed lately that Pete has begun to make comparisons to the American sports leagues, but normally he’s cutting and pasting from other articles.

I can tell you right off the top of my head what you need to know.

For a hundred years, the Red Sox were laughing stocks. They were a joke, as they suffered under the curse of Babe Ruth. Having sold the famed ballplayer to the Yankees, their rival, they watched the Yanks win all sorts of things, while their trophy cabinet collected dust like my daughter collects little plastic toys. (She’s got enough to choke a blue whale.)

Always, the Sox were chokers.

They couldn’t win.

But then, a hedge-fund type with partners rolling in Cosby-show-money bought the team, and they became very early adopters of the now-ubiquitous use of analytics.

Yes, that’s right.


Around the time Billy Beane was getting famous for Moneyball, the Sox ownership group, (Henry, Werner et al) went out and hired the man who invented the field, Bill James.

Apparently, he was the numbers geek of all geeks, as he sent out his own photocopied zine that made waves around the sports industry, back in the day.

They hired Bill James, and all of a sudden, began coveting players who drew walks, and got on base a lot. They went after fat guys, (like Kevin Youkilis,) and at first, there was little competition for the players they wanted.

And unlike the Oakland A’s, whose penny-pinching drove them to look for undervalued assets, the Red Sox were a big market team in a sports-crazed city, and they matched their numbers-crunching with some serious investments.

You might not have heard of Big Papi, or Jonny Damon, but the Red Sox players of the early century became Boston legends when they came from 3-0 down in the American League Championship, against the dreaded Yankees, and beat them, going on to win their first World Series in nearly a century.

But that wasn’t the end.

Continuing to invest and innovate, and leaning on their back-room nerds, the Red Sox have now won 3 more World Series.

(Making 4 championships this century for a club that went forever without winning.)

Even better, another of their hero-number-crunchers, Theo Epstein, went to the Chicago Cubs, an equally big loser, and after installing the same operating system, he won a World Series there as well.

So that’s 5 Championships for the analytics team put together by the (gulp) Liverpool owners.

It’s been enough years that I don’t remember when I saw it, but at some point after they bought Liverpool, I read an article about how the owners were investing in football analytics, and expected to be ahead of the curve, as the “right” numbers were not completely understood at the management level across global football.

So here we are, in 2019, and it’s all worked out for them.

Klopp is great, don’t get me wrong, but really, their success has come from finding the right players, mostly for affordable prices, and then making good decisions.

Yes, Van Dijk and Alison were super-expensive, but only because Liverpool got to the point where they were minting enough high-level assets to afford them.

Just think: Mané, Salah, Firmino, Coutinho, Winjaldum… Arsenal could have bought any of them.

(Mané was playing in the Premier League, for heaven’s sake, and had already roasted Arsenal at Southampton.)

But Arsenal, perhaps using the wrong type of analytic analysis, bought Xhaka, Mustafi, and some old guys.

And here we are, in 2019, with a team in need of a massive defensive rebuild, and seemingly requiring player sales of improved assets of fuel the new purchases.

Because unlike the Liverpool ownership group, Stan Kroenke is famous for not wanting to put one of his own dollars into running the club.

So where does that leave us?

Most of you guys probably read this blog each day, and know that Pete has taken on this subject rather often, whether we’ll be a development/analytics club going forward, or a “let me pull out my Rolodex” kind of club, with Raul running the show.

At this point, unlike the last few years, the Kroenkes are finally experiencing genuine success in LA and Denver. (The Washington Post even did a cover story on Stan’s big stadium play in Inglewood.)

The mustache-dude is not averse to spending money in all cases, apparently. And now, he’s getting some serious visuals on how brand-building and winning turn into hard currency.

So that’s where we are now.

I’m hoping that Arsenal will see the writing on the wall, invest in scouting and asset building, and buckle down to work our way back up into the Top 4, and then hopefully into genuine contention by the time Klopp and Pep leave in 2-4 seasons.

There is a blue print out there for us, if we follow it.

Unfortunately, given the resurgence of Man U, and the unlimited funds available at City, plus Abramovich’s addiction to winning, the future does not look rosy.

Not yet.

Not now, at the end of January, 2019.

But, as usual, we’ll know more in May.

Remember, follow him @jblauphoto 

528 Responses to “What can Arsenal learn from the Red Sox?”

Jump to comment form ↓

  1. Receding Hairline

    Rumours that Suarez has failed his medical. The article has been taken off the website.

    Where did u hear that?? Barca said they posted they posted the news due to a technical glitch, it wasn’t meant to go live now

  2. salpardisenyc

    Im sure dudes at Arsenal wanted to release it and asked for them to pull until those super camp welcome pics are released

  3. Freddie Ljungberg


    I would take that as well to be honest. Rabiot would suit both clubs though.

    Feel PSG is the only top club in europe that would take him on his wages so I hope there’s something in this, he would be an idiot to refuse.

  4. Guns of SF


    lots of drama in the last few mins.
    Fuck Ozil- that is a dream move for him. Paris !

    Now Suarez failed a medical?

    WTF is going on

  5. Marko

    he would be an idiot to refuse.

    That or a mercenary who’s really not that concerned with playing football. Took him until 30 before he gave up. And it’s not because of injuries or nothing. Just pathetic stuff really

  6. Cesc Appeal

    The real dick kick is that the £17 Million we waste yearly on that pussy is the same amount we have to pay Wenger and his cronies just for sacking them.

    If there is an offer from PSG then Sanllehi or someone needs to make it very clear to Ozil that he will not be played, he will train and play with the U23s and he is not wanted.

    The problem though is he’s such a pussy I don’t know he’d see that as a threat or a welcome fortune.

  7. Guns of SF

    Ozil has a great life. He makes $$ and only plays weak teams in home games only
    His dream gets better and better

    Even playing with the best in the world isnt up to his sweet deal.

    might as well call him King Ozil

  8. Guns of SF

    His agent did that with Ozil being fine with that.
    with Alexis gone, it was $$$ for Ozil and his agent knew it. He held our club by the balls and got his payday.

    Now, if he played like the money he makes, would be another situation. He has declined even more

    Got to fatt for his own good

  9. Freddie Ljungberg

    Emile Smith-Rowe going to RB Leipzig on loan for the rest of the season, good for him, get some needed experience and then get back and replace one of the older overpaid players in the summer.

  10. Cesc Appeal

    Nketiah and Smith Rowe going out on loan.

    Great work from the club. They need to grow up, they need minutes, they need responsibility.

  11. Guns of SF

    why does Ozil want to stay when he gets his fat check, and a chance to play top level, CL, with better players in a shit league and bring his GF to Paris?


  12. Marko

    I saw that 17 million to get rid of Wenger and his staff. He was on 10 million a season are we to assume that all those shit coaches were on 7 million? My god that seems a lot for a rubbish coach

  13. Un na naai

    An evening with TONY ADAMS tomorrow night at the Clapham grand if anyone is interested. It’s for a charity and a sick girl who’s the daughter of a very good friend of mine
    You get to meet Tony Adams. Get autographs and photos. Ask him questions. I’ll be there if anyone fancies meeting the real Un Na Na and punching me? Haha.

  14. bennydevito

    Un na naaiJanuary 30, 2019    17:40:48


    Shut your pie hole ya little anus licker


    🤣🤣🤣 Pie hole – lol! “You gonna shoot me, ranger rick?”

    Good one! Still, takes one to know one and would explain why you talk so much shit.

  15. Pierre

    Apparently ,as the know nothing’s on here say, Arsenal offered Ozil 350 grand a week despite the fact that no other club wanted to buy him .

    If ,and it’s a bit if , what the know nothing’s say is true , then that is the most stupid piece of business any football club has made in history.

    Let’s look at the scenario ….We have all the top dogs at Arsenal sitting in the boardroom at the Emirates and the question of Ozil’s new contract comes up .

    Kronke asks ivan or raul, which clubs are in for Ozil …they reply no one ,we have had no interest in him whatsoever .

    Kronke says that’s no problem we will make him one of the highest paid players in world football …his contract may cripple us for future transactions and he will probably accept about 150 grand a week but no , fuck it , we will cripple the club even though there isn’t a club in the world that is after his services.

    The other scenario is , there are 3 or 4 clubs showing an interest in Ozil and Arsenal are desperate for him to stay so they offer him a contract he can’t refuse.

    Which scenario is the more plausible…….let me think!

  16. bennydevito

    Un nai,

    Shame you didn’t mention that earlier, I would have made efforts to come over from Bristol.

    Great worthy event, fair play, good on Mr Arsenal for making himself available and I hope it’s well attended.

  17. salpardisenyc


    I don’t buy that club culpable regarding Ozil.

    They had a choice but lacked a plan, same w Sanchez and Ramsay. In the end all shambolic deals in terms of clubs best interests. Now were sniffing for loans in January.

    Don’t tell me Sogut’s fine agenting put Raul and Gaz in tight place, they bottled it without doing due diligence on player and offered the unthinkable contract and now have to find a way out.

    No graceful exit unless Ozil starts balling.

  18. Un na naai


    I didn’t know until this morning. He’s doing another with Ian Wright soon though so I’ll keep you posted
    Did the Paul Merson one last year. Good laugh it was. I got pissed and was hanging off him telling him how much I loved him when I was a kid. Haha. Don’t remember much about it but judging by his face from the photos he looked like he wanted me anywhere but near him

  19. azed

    “I’ll be there if anyone fancies meeting the real Un Na Na and punching me”

    I’d split the cost of the ticket with anyone who wants to go and punch Un in the face.

    Would make a lot of groovers happy.

    What ya say Marko?

  20. Guns of SF

    Ozil will never start balling. His best days are gone.
    Its a decline from here on

    Ozil to PSG- what a lifeline for him and us!

    this is just fucking irritating

  21. Un na naai


    Yes alright then. Free punches all round. As long as I get to respond with a kick in the nuts.
    In all seriousness though if anyone wants to set Tony and ask him a question then please attend as the proceeds help towards a sick child’s treatment.

  22. karim

    We finally got Suarez !
    Liverpool fans must be dying with laughter… Think I would …

    Nah that’s a good signing, hope the boy delivers and we’re getting him for good.
    Would love a couple of other deals, but I’m not dreaming, we are the famous Arsenal, after all.

    Hi gents !

  23. Charlie George

    “”Nketiah and Smith Rowe going out on loan.Great work from the club. They need to grow up, they need minutes, they need responsibility.:

    Is it really great work from the club??? to send our young prospects away?
    Are you thinking straight?

    Surely- sending them to a championship side – would be a better fit?
    A very risky strategy this- they might like there stay there?

    And they might want to stay there? Their talents might be appreciated more in the Bundesliga.

  24. DaleDaGooner

    No doubt the lack of officially announcing the Denis Suarez deal came from Arsenal…..same shit! Why do we enjoy delaying deals or the announcement???

  25. DaleDaGooner

    The Club is a joke! Barcelona announces the deal, but we aren’t….what are they waiting till 11.59pm tomorrow to announce it?

  26. salpardisenyc


    Waiting for the Arse PR camp photos to hit web.


    Ahoy mate, any of those Ozil to PSG rumors in France?

  27. DaleDaGooner

    sal….ah, didn’t think of the fancy photo shoot….he’s a loan player, no? oh well. I wonder who the second signing will be..Perisic, .Nkuku or Carrassco, not sure which one would excite more.

  28. karim

    Hey Sal !

    Same rumours here, I’m afraid. Looks like he really refused it, unreal stuff.
    An Ozil / Rabiot swap deal for instance would have had people dancing naked all around the Emirates !

  29. Charlie George

    “CG, Are you for real or just trolling?”
    100% real

    its a stupendously risky policy for GOOD young players to go to clubs who have the potential to sign them.
    eg leipzig.

    send them to championship sides,-they do not have the wherewithal to sign them.

    What happens for instance now with Reiss Nelson?
    He might ask for a transfer -now that he has sampled first team football?

    note:look at the number of young players man city are losing?

  30. Charlie George


    surely if anyone can be accused of enthocentric behaviour it is Unai Emery?

    (Spanish coaches, now Spanish players.)

    He clearly does not want British players at Arsenal. His mind is made up!

  31. MGooner

    Our defence is in a mess and we do nothing to address it…

    In a rebuilding phase like this, we should be investing properly.

  32. G8

    CG, look what happened to all our youth prospects we loaned to championship clubs all those years? Where are they now hey?
    Plus, if a player decided not to come back to the arsenal then good riddance..sell to the highest bidder..
    Your way of thinking is strange and OTT !

  33. Leftsidesanch

    Arsenal’s attempts to sign Ivan Perisic from Inter Milan or fellow-winger Yannick Carrasco of Dalian Yifang look to be over but they are still working on Paris-St German midfielder Christopher Nkunku after sealing Denis Suarez deal. – Ornstein

  34. MGooner

    @ CG

    I see no harm in you speaking your mind.

    It is not a sin to want British players to play for your club, it is in fact natural. Most people in most countries are nationalists now, it should not be a taboo.

  35. Un na naai


    Too right it shouldn’t. The rabid conformists thought they’d assumed control. Can’t tolerate anyone who doesn’t conform to their indoctrinated ideologies.
    I pity them. They don’t know any better.

  36. Charlie George


    Don’ t be surprised if Rowe Smith does well- we don’t ever see him in a red and white shirt again!

    If he is good enough to play for Leipzig in the competitive Bundesliga – surely he can play in the Europa League and some prem games? After all he has scored and played well already in this tournament….

    i find – it totally baffling – we are buying 2 La Liga cast offs (Suarez/Carasco) and adding to our Spanish contingent and at the same time our best British young prospects are being eased out of the door….

    I believe Arsenal should have a 6/5 or 5/6 ratio of Brits in the team,
    Hardly OTT,,,,,?

  37. G8

    CG views are not about British players vs foreign ones, otherwise he wouldn’t be praising the great Klopp and uncle Mugabe..
    he just doesn’t like them Spanish amigos..i bet he is cancelling his Majorca summer holidays in protest.
    Alanbastard mp was funny though

  38. Charlie George

    M gooner

    “”It is not a sin to want British players to play for your club,””

    It sure is not- that aside- I honestly feel it increases your chances of being consistently successful

    eg Liverpool/leeds/forest/Arsenal /chelsea teams have proved over the years.

  39. Chris


    fake Charlie George

    There is nothing OTT about having 5/6 British or even London lads in the team. Nobody is going to battle you on that one. Nor should they, if those players are of the requisite standard needed for Arsenal to realise their aims. That is, unfortunately, likely to prove difficult.

    What is OTT is your hysterical ramblings and thinly veiled and snide comments about other nationalities. You can refer to Emery/Raul etc as incompetent, or whatever you may think of them, but you incessantly do this with digs at their culture or even with reference to their nationality, where there is no need whatsoever. You can say somebody isn’t up to it without constantly saying where they are from.

    You’re now worried we will never see Smith-Rowe in England again when there is absolutely no basis for this concern. Most sensible people see this as an excellent opportunity for him to further develop and be ready to be part of the first team next season. Just like Suarez, it’s a loan deal only.

    Are you sure you don’t work for the Daily Mail?

  40. Marc

    It’s difficult to argue with Charlie George about the quality of English players after all just look at the list of World Cup and Euro wins they’ve achieved.

  41. bennydevito


    Seriously give it a rest ffs! We’re not BUYING anyone we’re LOANING.

    Our youngsters aren’t quite ready yet and they’re not being eased out – they’re being sent away to a more technical league to gain better experience and to get physically aclimatised. If they prove a success then we get them back and save a fortune in the transfer market and I’d imagine we won’t be signing Suarez permanently either considering he’s just extended his contract, unless of course he has a great second half season with us then we might sign him.

    It’s win win all round as far as I’m concerned.

  42. Marc


    Don’t be stupid we should send Smith Rowe to the Championship where he can have the ever loving shit kicked out of him on a weekly basis. If we were really lucky he’d get a career ending leg break that’ll prove he was never man enough for us in the first place.

  43. G8

    CG, Sure most gooners wanted zaha and Maguire..except your so called quality wenger..you should ask him why arsene why you bought mustafi and xhaka instead?

  44. Chris


    I’m pretty sure we agreed not to bite anymore regarding fake Charlie George.

    We are weak! Must be that millennial sickness eh

  45. Marc


    Depends on the cost of the show pony to the donkey. Zaha would cost a silly amount and you could get twice the player for less overseas.

  46. bennydevito

    Un na naaiJanuary 30, 2019    19:07:39


    I didn’t know until this morning. He’s doing another with Ian Wright soon though so I’ll keep you posted
    Did the Paul Merson one last year. Good laugh it was. I got pissed and was hanging off him telling him how much I loved him when I was a kid. Haha. Don’t remember much about it but judging by his face from the photos he looked like he wanted me anywhere but near him


    Fucking lol!! 🤣🤣🤣🤣

    But yes, let me know about the Wrighty gig; I will move heaven and earth to attend that for sure.

  47. Samesong

    Here’s my troll for today, Pierre going to go crazy Ozil has 501 created chances in the Premier league an all time record.

  48. bennydevito

    We should put in a £40m bid for Maguire in the summer and test Newcastle with A £20m bid for Lascelles especially if they go down.

    Coady and Neves of Wolves too.

    Leeds right winger.

  49. Un na naai


    Why because he believes in his fellow countrymen?
    Because he doesn’t march for Syrians?
    Because he would prefer a few Englishmen at his English club?

    Makes perfect sense to me

  50. bennydevito


    Yes, watched him against Utd and he is a brute! Beasted Pogba and Lukaku and was equally impressive against City. Deceptively quick, reads the play, great tackling and interception play and is a serious brick shit house. Exactly what we need at the back imo and him and Maguire could be our centre back pairing for a decade, our next Adams and Bould, Campbell and Keown.

    Would love to sign those two.

  51. Un na naai


    I’ll post the dates in advance for the wright thing. Lovely hotel nearby too. If you’re staying in London the night.

  52. azed


    I believe Leicester turned down a 65M bid for Maguire this past summer. To sign him, we would have to spend 2/3 of our summer budget on him which isn’t feasible.

  53. Thomas

    bunga partyJanuary 30, 2019 20:51:39
    Leicester may lose today, but can’t believe they can play toe-to-toe with pool, but Arsenal……


    Because of a shocking manager.

  54. Kiril Hristov

    So now by your logic is Emery a better coach than Sarri and Pochetino? Both clubs are losing(chelsea even harder) to not a top 6 clubs??

  55. Leedsgunner

    I hope this Suarez character is worth all the effort that it took to get him. Basically took the entire window to get the deal done. I read on the BBC that we have an option to buy if we want… I hope that is at a mutually agreed price and not one dictated by Barca. I’m not fussed really. Sounds like a squad player to me, and we have plenty of those.

    What we needed were young proven defenders.

    Plus why are we sending ESR and Nketiah out on loan? Aren’t we going to need them for the Euroipa League?

  56. Receding Hairline

    Yep its all over at Bournemouth…a trashing really

    Milan shipped off the fat boy for a striker who scored two lovely goals last night against Napoli

    They have a kid Bayern want for 35m but he can’t get into the matchday squad

  57. Kiril Hristov

    Pep lost a match poch is losing, sarri losing hard and chelski are playing the most boring football i have ever seen and that is with players like Hazard, Willian, Higuan the glorious coaches….

  58. Receding Hairline

    No Leeds ..what their loan moves mean is we are taking the Europa league serious from now on and we are out of all the cups. Those two kids need to play, Arsenal fans need to stop panicking over nothing

  59. Batistuta

    Imagine thinking Higuain was going to be the answer to Chelsea’s goal scoring problems Pedro…. Really some of you all need to watch a bit more European footy…..Piatek already doing the business for Milan

  60. salpardisenyc

    We need Liverpool loosing, can’t have them in on title my ego cant take it.

    Imagine us finally doing City thus gifting Liverpool clear vision to title, i’ll dissolve into nothingness.

  61. Kiril Hristov

    Next time when Arsenal lose dont jump on Emery right away. Much better squads are losing too in this hard competition

  62. Batistuta

    Always the niggling feeling Sarri was over rated especially on here, there’s a reason even with Sarri ball he’s never won a trophy ever

  63. Charlie George

    All those foreign coaches , have never really comes to terms with our uniquely difficult league.

    (What a manger Eddie Howe is.)

  64. Kiril Hristov

    @batistuta .. yeap, they are playing the most boring football I have seen. But the fact that they are losing, can’t stop watching

  65. Marc

    “What a manger Eddie Howe is”

    Well he’ll probably be at the Spud’s next season so you can fuck off and support him and their English players.

  66. Batistuta


    A bit like Emery, he’s not got the players he needs for the kind of football he wants to play but even at that, he can barely win a trophy to save his life

  67. Receding Hairline

    Divan Zapata is having the season of his dreams.. Two more goals today against Juventus, by the way Juve have as much chance of winning the Champions league as we do if they keep playing like they have lately