#MindTheGap hopes and memes coming true?

by & filed under News Review.

‘In TWO games they could close the gap to ONE point’

I could only catch the game intermittently because apparently, even in foreign countries, the coverage is f*cking pony.

But… what a bloody evening people!

Mind. The. Gap

The dream is starting to come alive for Unai Emery. He won’t win the league, but a sure-fire win in the eyes of all Arsenal fans would be if he could topple Spurs and land 3rd place. 

Spanking Bournemouth 5-1 sure was a good way to get the ball rolling on that agenda.

There were many things to smile about, first and foremost for me, an ACTUAL performance. I thought the most likely output of our third quick start in a row would be an exercise in energy conservation. If there was any critique of the Southampton game, it was that we didn’t try and attack our goal difference.

Emery didn’t make that mistake last night. Mesut Ozil opened the evening with one of his famous shots that he stubs into the ground, assisted by Kola.

Our second involved Mesut again. Mikhi picked up a shocking pass from Adam Smith, he found Ozil’s run into the box, the German returned his pass unselfishly and the Armenian showed no mercy with his volleyed strike.

We took a moment to look silly, Guendouzi losing the ball twice, the second when he was on the edge of the box, he was brutally mugged and Mousset finished off a squared pass into an empty net.

Laurent K finished a Mikhi cross for the third of the night. A great move started from a freekick. The Armenian popped up with his second assist of the night after intercepting a pass on the edge of our box, powering forward with a run and finding Auba in a footrace that he easily won, rounding the keeper, passing into an empty net.

The final goal of the night was a well-worked freekick. Arsenal players splitting the wall in a pre-planned set-piece, allowing Lacazette the clip freekick through the gap. Keeper should have done better, but the craftiness was truly appreciated.

A great night and absolutely perfect preparation for a massive game at the weekend.

Chelsea easily beat a depressed Spurs, all the more impressive considering the drama they’d been dealing with over the Kepa incident, plus the draining impact of a 120minute cup final that ended in defeat. Don’t write Sarri off quite yet.

Also worth remembering Arsenal are quite often the exact team you want to play when you’re on a bad run, this weekend is the perfect chance to change that perception.

The season is on a knife edge.

Beat Spurs and United in succession and 3rd could very well be ours. Lose our next two games and top 4 starts to look a little tougher.

Still, the overarching point here is we’re now heading into March and the squad everyone said couldn’t compete for top 4 is sitting in the top 4. We are more than capable of winning at the weekend and we should certainly give United a run for their money the week after as long as we learn the lessons from last time. Namely, don’t play to their strengths.

… and to my point at the top of the post. Last night was a proper performance. That wasn’t us stumbling over the line. That was our senior players who are paid a shit-ton of money stepping up and showing their value. Mesut Ozil landed 1 assist and one goal and created 4 chances. He kept the ball moving in the final third, making the most passes there. He also made the second most ball recoveries, two behind MGs 8. Mikhi, a very capable talent has 6 goals and 4 assists in 17 starts in the EPL. He has been great since coming back and was decisive with two assists and a goal.

Here’s the other point… 3 of our best players should be Ramsey, Mikhi and Ozil. If they are coming into form, remember that they are 3 of the freshest players at the club. They’ve played 51 90 minutes between them (17 games each)! They really could be our secret weapon as we tackle Europe and #Top3.

Who knows who will start at the weekend, but it’s clear Emery’s olive branches are being taken and we’re seeing the results on the pitch.

Right, have a good day and let’s hear you in the comments! x

322 Responses to “#MindTheGap hopes and memes coming true?”

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  1. China1

    Qna yeah it’s all a big joke

    I assume loans are a wage loophole because we probably treated the cost as a one time payment to Barcelona to pay his wages rather than us adding his wages directly to our own books. That’s just my guess

    But the situation is this – we were not allowed to spend money despite having plenty in the bank on buying new players because of our wages situation. But we were allowed to sign a player on loan (presumably avoiding calculating his cost as part of our wages).

    This is the dumbest situation ever and I’m still yet to hear of any other club getting strangled this way

    The irony that we could pay 2m for suarez’s loan cost and that’s ok, but we couldn’t buy a 1m player on low wages amounting to the same cost.

    It’s all one big dumb clusterfuck that only arsenal appear to take seriously

  2. qna

    Un. That’s true. I’m just asking whether it was correct that some rules didn’t allow us to sign a permanent player, or if it was just a decision we made not to spend.

    China. That would be the only explanation that makes sense. Otherwise we simply decided there was nobody available that we wanted to sign permanently. I’m fine with this too. Would be nice to know which.

  3. Bamford10

    Arsenal Truth explained the wages issue some time ago and we discussed it here some time ago. See below.
    __

    “Why Kroenke CANNOT invest big money”
    Tuesday, January 1, 2019

    It’s an age-old debate we’ve heard ever since Stan Kroenke joined Arsenal as owner. Why doesn’t he put his hand in his pocket and invest? This is usually accompanied by complaints that the wrong owner was brought into the club, and that Alisha Usmanov would have spent Arsenal back to competitiveness.

    Although history has proved time and time again that spending money alone is not the route to competitiveness – Man Utd and Leicester being two sides of the counter coin, the plain fact is that ever since the Premier League’s Short Term Cost Controls (STCC) were enforced in 2013, Stan Kroenke would not have been able to invest super large sums of money in players even if he’d wanted to.

    Why? Because Arsenal’s wage bill has been spiralling out of control for years due to Wenger/Gazidis’ horrendous mismanagement, and no matter how much is/was available to spend on players, there has been no margin to substantially increase salaries through player acquisitions without breaking STCC rules.

    As explained, STCC (aka Financial Fair Play) was set up by the Premier League in 2013. It was implemented to prevent clubs spending the huge influx of TV money on player wages, thus increasing disparity throughout the Premier League. It also enabled clubs the opportunity to cap spending in a way that was fair and equitable across the board.

    Note that STCC rules only apply to clubs with a wage bill above £67m. Using their previous year’s wage bill as a baseline, those clubs are prohibited from raising wages by more than £7m per annum. However, there is one caveat. The rules are directly related to broadcasting revenue. Therefore, if a club can prove the wage increase is financed by its own revenues by way of increased commercial income and match day income, they can supplement the £7m limit.

    For clubs whose commercial revenues are experiencing substantial growth year-on-year, this will not make a huge difference. However, Arsenal trail miles behind their competitors. In 2016/17, for example, commercial profits only increased by £10.7m. Add that to Arsenal’s £7m limit and wages could only increase the following season by £17m per annum – less than Mesut Ozil’s annual salary.

    So what’s the solution to the restrictions that STCC gives a club like Arsenal? The solution is to either drastically cut the wage bill and/or massively increase commercial revenues and match day income. However, commercial revenues have ridden alongside Wenger’s decade-long underperformance and have therefore been poor under Gazidis’ stewardship and, obviously, there’s not much room to increase match day income substantially unless supporters want to pay astronomically higher prices.

    To make things worse, Arsenal’s cash flow has been hit now that the club no longer participates in the Champions League. Indeed, operating profits have tumbled 60% as a result of Arsenal’s failure to qualify for the competition, so not only is there less room to raise wages via commercial and match day income, but there’s less cash available to buy players.

    The logical and only step, therefore, is to reduce the wage bill. With a much reduced wage bill, Arsenal would have the manoeuvrability to spend surplus cash balances on new players without exceeding STCC rules. Unfortunately, however, this is not what the club has been doing in recent years. In fact, despite ever-decreasing returns on the pitch, Arsenal’s wage bill has only been rising.

    Take last season for example. You would think the club would have made huge ground in reducing the wage bill by releasing a number of high earners. We saw the departures of Walcott, Sanchez, Debuchy, Giroud, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Szczesny, Gabriel, Coquelin and Gibbs. Combined, this would have reduced the wage bill by around £655k p/wk.

    However, Arsenal signed Aubameyang, Lacazette and Kolasinac, and panicked when signing Mkhitaryan and increasing Ozil’s wage packet from £140k to £350k p/wk. Fag packet calculations demonstrate that Arsenal’s wage bill increased by approximately £100k p/wk or £5m per annum. While these figures are not exact, it’s obvious that for as long as the wage bill keeps rising, there is virtually no wage room for the club to substantially increase spending on players.

    It was the same story this summer. Perez, Akpom, Mertesacker, Cazorla and Wilshere departed, but this was offset by the signings of Sokratis, Torreira, Leno, Guendouzi and Lichtsteiner – so no substantial wage savings there, if any. That means Arsenal had no room to buy big name players with a big wage packet to match.

    STCC clearly illustrates how Kroenke is handcuffed. Not that he would invest in Arsenal out of his own pocket, but even if he wanted to, Arsenal simply cannot spend their way back to competitiveness.

    The club is where it is due to the unrelenting underperformance by the previous manager and CEO. Both on the pitch and off it, their decision-making has been disastrous. Wages have increased massively coinciding with ever-reducing returns both financially and on the field of play.

    This is what the new board and Emery have inherited and it will take a long time to rectify. They pretty much have to start from scratch and don’t have a lot to work with – little wonder Gazidis didn’t fancy hanging round to clear up his own incompetent mess.

    The starting point will be to drastically reduce Arsenal’s wage bill. The board and manager will also have to come up with creative solutions in terms of signing players. This has begun with the acquisition of Torreira, Guendouzi and Leno – not big signings, but players for the future with a normalised wage packet and resale value.

    Lichtsteiner and Sokratis were inexpensive short-term stop gaps designed to shore up the defence, and Arsenal will probably need more of that going forward to help get back on track. Armed with this information, it’s now a little more understandable why reports are surfacing that any January deals will be focused around cheap older players or loan deals.

    On the plus side, next summer, the new shirt sponsorship and kit deal cycle begins, alongside a separate sleeve sponsor, which alone is expected to bring in £20m. Adidas have replaced Puma as kit manufacturer, which will bring in another £20m pa. Arsenal will also have room to offload some more high earners to bring the wage bill down – notably Ramsey and contract expirees Welbeck, Cech, Monreal, Ospina and Jenkinson.

    Player sales, particularly Ozil, will make a big difference towards getting Arsenal back on the straight and narrow, not only bringing in cash but further room to increase wage bill expenditure. However, make no mistake STCC reduces Kroenke’s options to seriously reinvest in Arsenal. The rules have changed the investment landscape for wealthy clubs, and if you examine the activity of all of the big PL clubs in recent years, you can clearly see how STCC has affected their player recruitment policies.

    The clamour for Kroenke to reach deep into his pocket has to stop. It won’t happen and, more importantly, can’t happen. Liverpool and Spurs had to do it the hard way, and so will Arsenal. At least they provide grounds for optimism that competitiveness is within Arsenal’s reach with astute player purchases and good management. It also clearly demonstrates why Emery, or any manager, needs substantial time to get Arsenal back to where it needs to be. Anyone who believes there is a quick fix is either living in dreamland or denial.

    -Arsenal Truth

    http://arsenaltruth.squarespace.com/arsenal-truth/2019/1/1/why-kroenke-cannot-invest-big-money.html

  4. Bamford10

    Midwest

    It wasn’t a great point, but I think the person who brought up Robert Kraft was suggesting that his recent, much-publicized misstep is evidence that one need not have an owner who makes wise decisions to be a successful organization. The Patriots are the Patriots, goes this argument, yet look at this clown.

  5. Valentin

    @Midwest, Bamford,

    Calm down both of you.
    I was not trying to make a point, It was just a joke about the fact that he got arrested for soliciting a hand job.

  6. Pierre

    And the know nothing’s said Ozil was finished.

    All Emery has to do was to play him instead of playing silly games with him in the hope that he would walk out of the club and now Ozil is making Emery look like a mug.

    Emery started messing Ozil about after his superb performance v Leicester where he put on a virtuoso performance.
    Emery then decided to sub him off in the next game v palace when we were 2-1 up (finished 2-2) , Ozil played very well in the 1-1 home draw with Liverpool and in the next game subbed him off in the 1-1 draw v wolves .
    Emery then cited “tactical reasons” for leaving him out and since early November Ozil has only started 5 games ( winning 4 drawing one) and during this period Arsenal have been knocked out of 2 cup competitions and had a total of 7 defeats in 2 months without Ozil , including an embarrassing defeat to Bate.

    Let’s be honest here, Ozil would not have started another game under Emery if the team had continued to enjoy their fine early season form ( with Ozil in the team) .

    The defeat to Bate gave him no choice , he had to play Ozil otherwise he was out of a job if we had lost .

    Emery deserves no credit at all for Ozil coming back into the side and turning the teams fortune around , the team were going nowhere .
    We were creating nothing , the football was dull and insipid and the fans were restless .

    So yes, all Emery has to do was play him and we would see if he was finished . Ozil is now fit as he has had a run of games and you can see the difference in his play .
    Anyone who knows anything about football would know if a top player only plays one game a month or thereabouts , then they will never play to their full potential.

    I have no doubt that Emery wanted Ozil to fail as he could then have said ” I told you so” but instead Ozil has made Emery look like a mug the way Ozil has made many of the know nothing’s on Le Grove look mugs .

    All he had to do was play him , as I said all along.

  7. Bamford10

    Pierre

    Complete nonsense. Yes, Ozil played well, but that was a depleted Bournemouth, not top opposition. Let’s see Ozil contribute in big game against top competition; then you can crow.

    Because I’m giving this guy at Arsenal Truth a read this morning, I’ll add what he said about Ozil in his Bournemouth write-up:

    “Next up Spurs. Emery’s substitutions were revealing. Leaving Ozil on for the full 90 implies he won’t start the North London derby, and neither should he despite being Arsenal’s best player last night.”

    “Player Rating: Ozil – 7/10 – Played well but had it easy. These aren’t the games he should be judged.”

  8. Dark Hei

    Bamford10

    Thanks for the post.

    Arsenal Truth explained STCC clearly.

    I wonder what will happen to Arsenal Truth 10 years down the road.

    I think 80% of the content will still somehow have something to do with Wenger.

  9. Freddie Ljungberg

    Hold your horses Pierre, this is not the first time Ozil has performed at home against weak opposition and no one questions his ability to do so when he feels like it.

    Is that worth 350k a week though when that money could be spent much much better and get a couple of players in that will perform in big games home and away as well, or even in any games away?

  10. DaniAltos

    I can understand wanting the ones on this list. What I can’t understand is why Emery’s name shouldn’t be among them.You say young and hungry, all are about the same age (minus Carlo and including Emery). So what’s your metric for rating manager hunger?

    You people never learn do you?You are dealing with someone who wanted arteta from the onset,therefore he doesn’t like Emery …I can even assure that if Emery were to win a treble,he would still criticize him.Stop wasting your time

  11. Bob N16

    Pierre,

    I love watching Ozil play when he’s at his best. His touch and vision is world class. I have been an advocate of playing him in an attacking midfield position, to bring cohesion to our attack and provide our top strikers opportunities.

    This being said, there is an understandable question mark over Ozil. The list of games against better opposition where it appears that he’s not ‘up for it’ is long. With his ability, he should be the man who makes the difference in games when we really need his talent.

    I have a certain admiration for your support of Ozil and I accept on Legrove you may feel the balance of comments has been unfair but by acknowledging his deficiencies your argument might be more compelling, as opposed to simply being his number one fan!

  12. Valentin

    Let’s Play devil’s advocate and defend Emery.
    If like Ornstein is suggested that Özil exile was management decision and that Emery was just following instruction, I think that the defeat to BATE shook them up.
    I think that they suddenly realised that elimination by a ridiculous poor team would be the end of them. Changed their tune on Özil and Hey presto he is back in the team.
    I still think that Emery was only too happy to make their bidding as it is not only a style of player but also a personality conflict.

    The good news is that management has woken up.

  13. Pierre

    Bob
    I am well aware of his deficiencies, I know he is crap defensively, I know he won’t challenge for a ball in the air and I know he can struggle in certain high tempo games ( as many players do) but his form this season has been good. Early season he had scored 4 goals in 4 starts up until the Leicester game then Emery decided to mess him about .

    Bamford
    My points are correct .

    Ozil had been marginalised
    He would not have played another game under Emery if the team had played decent without him.
    Emery’s job was on the line after the defeat to Bate.

    If Ozil had played in the “big”cup games v Tottenham and United I have no doubt the team would have performed, no doubt whatsoever.

    We have not lost since August with Ozil starting ….that says it all really .

  14. Pierre

    Bamford quoting ” Arsenal truth”

    ““Player Rating: Ozil – 7/10 – Played well but had it easy. These aren’t the games he should be judged.”

    If anyone believes that Ozil’s performance only merited a 7/10 then they are either clueless or have an agenda against our most talented player ( probably both) .

    96.9% pass completion rate is an astonishing figure for a player so high up the pitch .
    It is no surprise that our defence is looking less under pressure if Ozil is taking care of the ball so well…let’s hope the younger players ( Guendouzi,Torreira and iwobi) will learn from him.

  15. Pierre

    Fire
    Mhkitaryan is vital to Ozil playing well as he is an intelligent footballer.

    I have said previously how the return of Mhkitaryan is benefiting the team . Should be a starter every week for me.

  16. Bob N16

    Pierre,
    How would you set up tomorrow? I might be wrong but I suspect Emery will have a defensive set up to start, bringing on Ozil in second half reverting to a back 4.

  17. HighburyLegend

    Joke friday : “Manchester United risk losing David de Gea unless they make him the club’s highest-paid player alongside Alexis Sanchez”

    LOLZ

  18. HighburyLegend

    “Let’s Play devil’s advocate and defend Emery.”

    Let’s play the f*cking hypocrite!! lol

  19. Valentin

    @Highbury,

    Make your point instead of insulting people.
    Unless you don’t have a valid argument, you are just one of those people who like to shout and abuse people who dare disagree with them.