SPURS GO BIG ON SHORT TERM, WILL IT WORK?

by .

I didn’t want to do it, but I am going to. Yep, I’m planting a flag on the whole Antonio Conte thing because I think it perfectly captures the difference between being strategic and reactionary when it comes to the beautiful game.

Daniel Levy has had an up and down career at Spurs. His peak was undoubtedly hiring Mauricio Pochettino. The guy had vision, he was charismatic, everyone loved him, and he delivered as much as one could without silverware.

That’s when things started going wrong. You can luck out in business, catch fire without really knowing why, and that seems to be what happened here. Just look at how many visionary business people that can never replicate their initial success. Steve Jobs did Apple, Pixar, and NeXT… Mark Zuckerburg made ranking babes a billion dollar venture and hasn’t had an innovation since.

Serial success comes from thinking strategically.

After making the Champions League final, Poch was very public about the dip that was coming, but Daniel Levy didn’t have the stomach to take the pain of the rebuilt. Ray Dalio, one of the greats of the hedge fund game, always says that people run from things that hurt in life which is why they fail to improve.

So where did Levy run? To the place of least pain, at least on paper. He looked at a Champions League finalist squad and instead of understanding why it made it that far, he assumed… incorrectly. His assumption was that Spursy in elite football was a thing and there was only one man that could fix it: Jose Mourinho. Why? Because he’s a ‘winner.’

That move made sense to the countless people that talk about ‘elite’ online without knowing what it means. It was clear that the squad he inherited was not going to react well to an old school dictator telling them they were soft boys. Poch was a modern leader, empathetic, understanding, and mentor like. Jose came in, did his usual wrecking ball job, and left a mess. The mess was so extreme, no manager in Europe wanted to touch it. One would assume that the money wasn’t there for the rebuild, Daniel Levy wanted to control things, and their new tech director isn’t that impressive.

They landed on Nuno. A second Mendes shill. What was the thinking there? Is he a master of coaching? No. Is he a visionary? No. Does he play the sort of football Spurs fans demand? No. He’s a coach that shills for super agents. That’s why the Valencia fans heckled him out despite him making top 4 for them. That mistake, which we all saw coming, cost them £10m.

So now they’re at attempt number 3 post-reboot and Daniel Levy has made the most unimaginative hire possible. He’s gone all-in on a ‘winner’ again. Can I knock the talent of Antonio Conte? Absolutely not. He’s a winner. He improves all types of players. He will 100% get an uptick in results because he’s ruthlessly organised.

But what is underpinning this decision?

What is the strategy? Because ‘winning’ isn’t a strategy I’m afraid.

Conte is a short term fix, but for me, he’s a very rich fix for a very different type of problem.

What are the ingredients for 2021 Antonio Conte to work.

He needs to work with good players.

When he rolled into Chelsea, the job he did wasn’t a miracle. He took over a squad that had won a title in 2015 and he made them purr that season. He did a fabulous job, but let’s be clear, Jose Mourinho did the hard work on that squad. They were winners. It was a more elite version of what Emery did for Arsenal over the first 21 games.

He moved to Inter Milan under the guidance of Beppe Morotta, arguably the best technical director on the planet. He was given money to spend, but he was controlled. He beat out a Juventus in decline after they moved on Allegri. A terrific job, but he had loads of resource and elite people surrounding him.

Modern Conte needs money. He needs good players. He needs to make an impact fast.

I’m not sure he has that at Spurs.

There’s a tremendous leadership job to be done as well.

Harry Kane doesn’t want to be there. I have extreme doubts Conte changes the equation for him because being an elite manager in the Premier League at the moment, in all reality, is hardly a game-changer. Being a ‘winner’ doesn’t mean anything in a league with Tuchel, Klopp, and Pep Guardiola. Spurs is a rebuild, Kane is 28 years old, he doesn’t want to be the old man crowning a 3 year journey with an FA Cup win.

Antonio Conte is on record saying that he’d rather kill a player than let him upset the camp. That’s his style. It’s brute force dictatorship. The Italian might have a different approach to Mourinho, but it lives in the same world. Do we think that sort of approach is going to map to the profile of the players? It didn’t under Jose or Nuno.

He also needs money and he will bang the door for it. When he was let loose at Chelsea, he made some pretty dire signings, then proceeded to crash the team the next season… throwing the players under the bus when he did it.

Then you wade into some of the murky details. Conte already said no in the summer. We know he’s on record saying Spurs is second rate. What changed?

Football knows Conte. His team were fast out the traps for the United role because that is the job for him. He’s built for that sort of expensive mess. In my view, if he’s taking Spurs it’s because United told him there wasn’t going to be a job for him, and more broadly, there wasn’t a better offer in Europe. No Barca, No Madrid, No Paris… so Spurs became the only option on the table.

I don’t know how many times I need to say this: There is nothing elite about being difficult to work with in 2021. You can’t be ‘too much of a winner’ and use that to write off bad behaviour. Someone was talking to me on Twitter yesterday, explaining Conte’s eliteness, and in the same breath admitting he crashed his second season at Chelsea because ‘he didn’t get the players he wanted.’ Can you imagine doing that in any other business? No. Because it’s embarrassing. Sulking because you want things your way is what children do.

But… he does win things.

He won the Premier League with record points.

He broke the Juventus stranglehold on Serie A.

He has an aura that follows him from club to club.

It’s a big signing for Spurs and it will feel very good for them right now.

I’m just not sure he’s the fit for where they need to go.

This is a desperate hire. £15m a year for a brand name that will bring a 20 person coaching staff is not how football works in 2021. I am going to be honest here, I’d have been more worried if they’d given Graham Potter or Ten Haag the keys to the castle for the next 5 years. They didn’t, you know why? Because it’s painful.

Arsenal went down a crappier version of this path with Unai Emery. We invested in ‘nearly’ players that looked good on paper but couldn’t deliver. Last summer, we did the same, it didn’t work.

So what are we doing this season? We’re taking the pain. We’ve alligned on a strategy that meets where we are as a club. We’re going to build back based on a Project Premium Youth model. It will be tough because getting back to the top is tough. But you know what? It’s sustainable. You know what is elite? Sustainable models in football.

RB Leipzig is a sustainable model of football. They grow coaches and players and have a standardised way of playing across 4 countries. They can still compete even when they lose Nagelsmann or Marco Rose. Why? Because the strategy is clear and it is ruthlessly adhered to.

Liverpool are peak sustainable. They have a clear approach to how they operate. They have a very specific style of football. They win trophies and maintain an incredible level of football. There’s no drama up there.

Manchester City is another side that does that same. They have a style that has been implemented up and down the club. They don’t fire their manager all the time. They are now developing elite young talent and compliment the side with big signings every year.

Teams that aren’t sustainable?

Manchester United. There’s a vision, but it’s not very good. They buy stars that don’t fit to any particular model. They chop and change their managers. They don’t really progress. It’s a mess because they live in a world of star fuckery. Jadon doesn’t get games, despite costing £70m. Ronaldo gets all the games, despite being 36. It’s about share price over there and selling shirts. They’d be more dangerous with an actual vision that was sustainable.

Spurs might make top 4 this season, but they are not working with a vision of 5 years in mind, because if they were, the chances are, they’d not have hired Conte.

So in short, there’s a lot of glitz, there’s a lot of ‘THIS IS HOW YOU DO IT’ from people that don’t know, and I suspect that all that glitters is not gold might be a truism here.

Well, I hope so. Let’s see what they have. Top 4 just got spicier.

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447 Responses to “SPURS GO BIG ON SHORT TERM, WILL IT WORK?”

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  1. Ernest Reed

    “When he rolled into Chelsea, the job he did wasn’t a miracle”

    No but he did perfect the three at the back defending instead of the typical four. Successful enough that even Wenger experimented with it and faired none badly for it. Conte will bring new life into an otherwise remarkably boring squad at Spurs. I still think he will implode as his personality will clash with the one you cant afford to clash with, Levy.

  2. Jamie

    If Spurs don’t make top 4, will Conte even want to stay beyond the summer without CL cash to spend?

    Feels like a place-holder for him until something juicier comes along.

    p.s. Pedro owes AFC an apology for penning a piece on Conte/Spurs and exhibiting the behaviour of a weird pant-shitting stalker.

  3. Paddy Gooner

    I really don’t know how it’s going to work out for Conte. Spurs should have sold Harry and used the money for a rebuild. The might sell him in January?

  4. Paddy Gooner

    Just wondering. Anyone have an opinion on the best defender ever to play in the Premier league? I was ‘told’ it was clearly VVD., but I can’t accept that.

  5. Ernest Reed

    “He has an aura that follows him from club to club.”

    Thats the smell of the glue holding down his toupee, Pedro. Its a hell of a coiff even if it used to belong to a badger before.

  6. Ernest Reed

    “agree I would be more unsettled by Potter going to spurs…maybe he’s holding out for city when pep moves on”

    And maybe Potter just isn’t in any of the conversations with the big clubs because maybe, maybe Brighton is at the level where he belongs at the moment?

  7. Ovia

    At this point, I think it’s clear all Dani Levi wants is a trophy. Antonio conte is the perfect fit for thant how is that not a plan.?
    I could easily say the Juventus success of the recent decade was Conte’s hard work, let’s not forget inter are still doing well without lukaku.
    Yes he’s a dictator, it’s either his way or the high way. Isn’t that the same with Arteta.? How many players have crossed Arteta and is still at arsenal.?

  8. AFC Forever

    Jamie/Tom

    “p.s. Pedro owes AFC an apology for penning a piece on Conte/Spurs and exhibiting the behaviour of a weird pant-shitting stalker.’

    Yep, it doesn’t go down well on here slagging of Spurs with you, does it.

  9. Tom

    Just read Conte’s statement in which he praised Tottenham’s stadium and training facilities but not a single mention of the players he’ll be working with.
    Maybe he’s planning on replacing all of them lol.

  10. NJ Gooner

    Pedro,

    I appreciate the sentiment but wonder if your business model of sustainability is that easily translated to a football team. Stakeholders may be willing to be patient if they see major profits on the horizon. Are football fans? I guess that Leipzig fans are pleased to be in Europe. But for how long? And will that model be tolerated by a team with top-4 aspirations in the medium term?

    You say that Liverpool is an example of a sustainable model, as is Cite. But both happen to have the two most charismatic leaders in the PL, in many ways the quintessential opposite of the sustainability model (Max Weber). What would happen if Klopp left Liverpool? Who would replace him with the same ethos and the same charisma? I would like to believe that you are right. But I fear that you are overstating the importance of the model in explaining either ‘Pool’s or Cite’s success. After all, if Guardiola would have left two years ago then Arteta would have been the no. 1 candidate to replace him before he came to Arsenal. I know you have faith in Arteta. But that much?

    You were right about Jose. Kudos. And I hope you are right about Conte. But Spurs have a decent squad that can compete, if not win. Momentum is everything, as you would clearly agree, and Conte may give them that.

    All that said, I never get it with the hype about Poch. he won his first trophy ever this year, the French League Cup. How can he get away with such a mediocre record with top clubs and be regarded as “elite”?

    I suspect that Conte, even as a wrecking ball, may do better than Poch and build momentum. I hope that I am wrong.

  11. azed

    “Antonio Conte is on record saying that he’d rather kill a player than let him upset the camp. ”

    Isn’t this the same with Arteta’s non negotiable?

  12. Max

    Good write up overall Pedro but kinda funny slagging off Zuckerberg like he is a busted flush…. hes 37 and CEO of one of the biggest companies on the planet!!!! At Zuckerbergs age Jobs had just been let back into the company he founded and was sacked from… Zuckerberg has plenty of time to innovate and build more…not that he has to prove anything. And I dont care for him either way but let’s get real here. You’re not a failure because you only manage to build one, currently trading Billion dollar company by age 37. Super Bizarre take

  13. Tom

    AFC , surely you must realize Jamie and Tom are two different posters by now.
    One forms his thoughts in a highly efficient, elegant manner…… while the other……

    I’m all for slagging Tottenham or Conte’s hair plugs/ wig or whatever, but I wouldn’t be confusing doing that with slagging Arsenal fans voicing pretty much reasonable opinions that Conte makes Tottenham a different proposition they were with Nuno.

  14. Dissenter

    Conte in 2014 when he was resigning from Juventus; ““You can’t go to a restaurant for 100 euros if you only have 10 euros in your pocket, can you?”, .. .. reference to the Turin Group’s savings budget

    He will find out that Mr Levi will give him 11 euros and a lots of coupons to go eat in that 100 euros/plate restaurant.

  15. Demetrios

    Pedro – I have the feeling you are trying to convince yourself as much as anything else with this post lol.

    He will get results, and he has only moved there because he would have received certain assurances around money to spend.

    Hate to say it, but this is a massive move by Sp@*rs that is going to work unfortunately

  16. Dissenter

    Demetrios
    the Conte appointment going to work, alright but by how much?

    Enough to win the league?…HELL NO
    Enough to make 4th place? … UNLIKELY because of the evolving competition outside of Spurs.
    West Ham aren’t going away, Arsenal will get stronger and Newcastle will start to flex muscles.
    There are too many world class managers and aspiring young managers in the league to blunt whatever advantage Conte will give Spurs.

  17. AFC Forever

    Pedro

    “That move (Mourinho) made sense to the countless people that talk about ‘elite’ online without knowing what it means.”

    This.

    It goes to the heart of everything. Some people have an obsession about big name managers. Mourinho was this serial winner who guarantees trophy’s – instead he rips clubs apart. Ancelotti was going to do such a great job at Everton that we should be worried but he couldn’t be asked to develop a team so he pissed off as soon as a better offer arrived. Now it’s Conte, who we should be scared of. Priceless.

    Put simply. Someone needs an education. It is a helluva lot easier winning trophies when you are able to spend big money or inherit top players. The hire and fire policy at Spuds is the classic delusion of people who don’t understand football like Levy. These big managers don’t have the ego or patience to develop players and unfortunately, amateur hour fantasists like Levy don’t get it. The 18 month contract suggests both parties are nervous.

    This is classic Spurs. 9 months ago they were going to win the Premier League when they beat City. 9 games later they’re sacking yet another manager. Now he’s going to win them trophies. Most deluded club and supporters in Europe.

  18. gnarleygeorge9

    Will it work? They don’t have much option. They’ve have to appoint someone, that is actually due to fail, otherwise their wretched fans will turn off, like viewers have of CNN 🙂

    Let’s be honest here, they had their 15 minutes of fame after ‘Week 3’.

  19. englandsbest

    Sustainability – or more accurately, self-financing – has always been a keystone for Arsenal, the foundation on which the Club has been built. Not for us the benevolent owner who trows money like confetti (Roman, the sheikh) or the skewed set up of a league (La Liga, SPL) that allows only one or two sides to dominate.

    How will we manage? More like Ajax than Bayern M (who are in a skewed league where only THEY dominate). A selling club – but one that sells its players when they are a mite past their best. By accumulating the world’s best youngster and by spending the time and energy to bring them through. By keeping wages to sensible affordable levels which can be done more easily with younger players..

  20. Ray+in+LA

    Ernest

    yes, maybe potter is currently at the level he belongs…I am curious to track him tho, I think he offers something interesting in addition to the regimentation

  21. Pedro

    Demetrios, maybe. Think it’ll be harder than you think. Force of personality won’t change the issues they have at the bowl. This is short term whatever happens.

  22. Pedro

    Max, Zuckerberg struck gold, he’s way out of his depth when it comes to anything new or innovative. Facebook crush or buy. They steal ideas. Haven’t had a good idea since buying Instagram. His meta idea is doomed to failure because others are already doing it better.

    He’s not exactly Jobs-ian

  23. zimmie2652

    Paddy,
    “Just wondering. Anyone have an opinion on the best defender ever to play in the Premier league? I was ‘told’ it was clearly VVD., but I can’t accept that.”

    In no particular order for me it’s a toss up between Sol, Vidic, Terry, Rio and Adams. They can all be chopped and placed interchangeably as my top 5.

  24. Words on a blog

    Spurs will improve, yes, but not enough.

    It’s too late for Conte to work his magic this season.

    And assuming Levy doesn’t renege on his “guarantees” and Conte gets the players he wants next season he will still have to compete with Liverpool, Man C and Chelsea: clubs with much more resources and equally if not more successful managers.

    And then he will be gone and Spurs will be faced with another expensive rebuild and rebrand.

    I definitely agree with Pedro’s view that Arsenal’s Elite Youth Plus model is the better strategy, even if I still have some residual doubts about Arteta.

    They will be a real pain though in terms of competing for Europa League places this season and Top 4 next season.

  25. Words on a blog

    The Elite Youth Plus is a better strategy because it isn’t so tied up with who the manager is.

    If Arteta falls short of getting into Europe this season, whether by getting it wrong tactically or otherwise, we can still retain the core of the squad and go again with a Potter or a Ten Haag.

  26. MidwestGun

    OGS all ready in trouble again.. United losing to Atalanta. Still early.

    Anyhow.. A lot of people riding Conte’s dick.. we will see.. I tend to think he will end up more like Mourinho at Tottenham , then with his stay at Chelski. Have an initial bounce with players wanting to impress.. But will struggle with implimenting formation change and expectations very quickly and we will see how much money he gets to get the players he wants. Anyhow I don’t mind more competition.. it just makes Arsenal better as they will have to stay sharp to keep up with the League.

  27. AFC Forever

    Paddy

    “Just wondering. Anyone have an opinion on the best defender ever to play in the Premier league? I was ‘told’ it was clearly VVD., but I can’t accept that.”

    Good question. Ashley Cole unfortunately must be up there.. Sol Campbell, Adams albeit smaller window, Rio Ferdinand & Vidic. Tough question.

  28. Dissenter

    There’s talk that Villa will sack Dean Smith if they lose at Southampton on Friday

    No one wants to be relegated from this league

  29. AJ

    Im sorry to be a party pooper. My club is on a 9 game unbeaten run, playing some good football, climbing the table and doing us proud. Yet, this blog and everyone is wanted to talk about the shithole down road. I wanna rwad about Arsenal on one one of my favourite Arsenal blogs. Thats it.

  30. Rich

    Conte has a good start:

    Everton (Away)
    Leeds (Home)
    Burnley (Away)
    Brentford (Home)
    Norwich (Home)
    Brighton (Away)

    Should be plenty of points there for whoever the Spurs manager is, they’re only 2 points off 5th, they should average north of 2 points a game over that sequence….

    So we’re going to have to put up with the media narrative of :

    “The Conte effect”
    “Spurs title contenders”
    “Spurs top 4 certs”….

    And likely a load of Arsenal fans knocking one out over the Spurs manager over the next 6 weeks, as a way to highlight how bad our manager is, particularly as we’ll enter a tough run of fixtures.,,.

    Fortunately they’ll play much tougher fixture sequences as the season progresses, and we’ll also have periods where we string 4-5 consecutive results together, and in the real world, things will likely balance themselves out

  31. GillespieRoadNoMore

    The vision thing, funny how most clubs are myopic. In a game of numerous variables and the visicitude of chance there are many routes to the summit, thankfully Spurs seem intent on repeatedly taking the wrong turn,

    I think it was Einstein who defined insanity as doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different result, it is going to be great seeing Levy prove that maxim true, again. They should have painted the exterior of the new WHL Stadium with red and white stripes, the circus is in town and the clowns are having a ball.

    Conte on an 18 month contract hardly points to strategic long term planning, I can’t see him being in the dugout for them at the start of next season. A squad that overachieved under the care and pampering of Poch are unlikely to rise to the challenge posed by tough love Conte, his statement today after his appointment was announced was priceless, he has changed his tune somewhat. I can imagine Mrs Merton asking “so Antonio what attracted you to the multi million pound manager role at WHL?

    As for Kane his market value must have tanked since the summer, I can’t see Pep coming back for him now, what chance he heads for Newcastle for one final payday?

  32. AFC Forever

    AJ

    Yes we’re on a great run. Look a proper team now with an identity. I saw rumours about Asensio no idea if they’re true or not,.

  33. MidwestGun

    AFC _
    Well for me..
    Best recent defender for me was Vincent Kompany. Best historical.. Sol Campbell.. or Tony Adams.

    Biggest Cunt defender John Terry.

    What was the question Again? oh VVD? Ummmmm top 5 I suppose.

    Ronaldo scored 1-1 now. He defintely shows up for CL matches thats for sure.

  34. Habesha Gooner

    Conte is a short term fix. He won’t last more than 2 seasons there I am sure. Levy is a dick that will piss off conte whatever happens. So it won’t last long.

    But what I am worried about is spurs becoming contenders for top 6. This season got harder for us because Spurs have him. It will be the same next season too. A 5 year plan is a good way to go to get longer term success. But that 5 year plan might also fail because things weren’t done the right way or maybe because it wasn’t good enough.

    Conte will make spurs competitive with in the next two years. That is why I am not happy. It is not because they will have a team the can continually succeed after him. It is because they will be in our way with in the next two seasons. And he is better than anyone they could have hired for them to be competitive.

    What you did yesterday or what you will do in the future isn’t currency in football. What you are doing now matters. So that is why I am not happy with it.

  35. salparadisenyc

    Conte on that kind of wage… desperate times – desperate measures. Levy rolling all the dice on this, can’t wait to see Conte take a better job once it presents itself this summer.

    Saucy goal from Bruno and CR7.

  36. AFC Forever

    Pedro

    I got into terrible trouble earlier for being unkind to Spuds & Conte. Not our fault they are the gift that never stops giving! 9 games ago some on here were claiming they could win the league. 9 games later they’ve sacked another manager. Now conte’s going to make top them top 4 and we should be scared. Truly unbelievable.

  37. Waylander

    Best defender along with the others mentioned Adams and Campbell, vidic, Jaap stam has to be up there as well although he was only in the prem for 3 or 4 years

  38. Kroenkephobe

    One thing I have enjoyed reading on here in the past 36 hours is the fine-detailed knowledge many posters possess about the cockerel jockeys. It’s oxymoronic for rivals to know so much about each others’ teams given the mutual antipathy but it also signifies how much we care about Arsenal that we’ve actually taken the time to understand our rivals.

    Their squad appears so weak at the moment and so apparently bereft of conte-type players that the auguries aren’t that positive. I expect a good few touchline tantrums in N17. Good too that their leadership team now contains a wig-wearer as egregious as Stan-K.

  39. MidwestGun

    Never heard of him, any good?
    _______
    haha Sal.. unfortunatley I have.. can you imagine Saka on one wing… Gnabry on the other..? . oh well..

    Spilt Milk as they say.

  40. Tom

    “There’s talk that Villa will sack Dean Smith if they lose at Southampton on Friday No one wants to be relegated from this league“

    Dissenter, they probably should’ve fired him last week after he said players win matches and not formations having been asked about his formation change.

    Giving Grealish the ball and watching him do his thing certainly solved a lot for Smith last season.

  41. Radio Raheem

    Zapata came with his cutlery tonight. The man has feasted on manure.

    That’s the guy I suggested we signed instead of extending Auba’s contract. All history now.

  42. Radio Raheem

    I’m curious to see how Emery does at Newcastle. Emery achieved the most he could with Villarreal last season. Newcastle, on the other, is somewhat of a mystery along with a few fistfuls of euros.

  43. WengerEagle

    I’m only messing tbh Radio, think you were actually right on your assessment of Ronaldo hindering the collective.

    Still, he has been very impressive in front of goal. We were both kind of right. 😁

  44. Radio Raheem

    Wenger eagle,

    Like I said he’d score loads but like has been said the team will play for Ronaldo not for ManU.

    This is Atalanta, I love them but they’re always up for some entertainment offensively and defensively.

  45. MidwestGun

    Ronaldo basically owns the CL. Thats why I said he would be worth the money… regardless of how bad they finish in the League. Still think OGS get sacked sooner then later.

  46. salparadisenyc

    “Ole masterminds another United result.
    The man is a legend.”

    Truly a man ahead of his time, Ole a modern enigma. Can see Dos Equis tapping him next.

  47. AFC Forever

    Ronaldo papering over the cracks. That is not a good team, the midfield is all over the place. They got lucky with a quality individual goal and did the same in the reverse fixture.

  48. MidwestGun

    Well the beauty of OGS’s genius is that only takes effect in injury time with arguably the greatest goal scorer ever.. other teams find it hard to see that coming at them. It’s like Ali’s Rope a Dope.

  49. WengerEagle

    Agreed, their CM is really poor and lacks any sort of baller/patroller. Crying out for a Scholes type player as Fernandes is not a midfielder, he is a forward.

    Pogba is too much of a maverick on only turns up when he feels like it. Rest of their midfield is poverty.

    And who cares how good defensively AWB is, modern full back needs to be a 2 way player and he is so bad offensively it is comical and massively inhibits them.

  50. AFC Forever

    Wenger Eagle

    That’s the point, you’re right he scores important goals. He has that ability not to freeze or snatch at chances. Single handedly keeping them in the Cl & OGS in a job. Really average team.

  51. Kroenkephobe

    To save Emery the bother of reverting to his dusty language text books, here’s a quisk handy phrase book to help him circumvent English and immediately immerse himself in the local patois.

    I’m gan yem – vuelvo a la casa

    Howay the lads – pongan huevos muchachos

    Hadaway and shite – que te vayas a la mierda

    Y’aaareeet – good ebening

    I bet Willock is in utter turmoil, poor lad.

  52. AFC Forever

    Wenger Eagle

    Yep agree. They can’t control midfield because they don’t have effective partnerships. Team is so unbalanced & with no identity.

    Your point about AWB I 100% agree with. He’s a good ball winner but not a great baller. They are so lucky.

  53. Words on a blog

    Sorry to drag it back to Spurs, but saw this and it made me chuckle:

    BREAKING: CONTE SACKED BY SPURS:

    “It has been almost 10 minutes since Antonio took over and regretfully results have not improved.

    We wish Antonio all the best.”

  54. WengerEagle

    AFC

    I have heard him being compared to Sagna as a RB which is insulting really. He makes prime Sagna look like Dani Alves on the ball.

    £50m for a RB that cannot provide any kind of outlet/offensive threat and £80m for a slow, thick and clumsy CB that cannot pass out from the back. Woodward should try standup.

  55. AFC Forever

    Compared to Sagna? Not having that. In the Modern game now, you have to be able to use the ball you can’t just be a defender. . He can’t do that

    The Atalanta goal shows their weakness as defenders and a team. Maguire and AWB are so far apart, schoolboy stuff. It makes me wonder what they do on the training field because that team looks like eleven blokes not a team, hoping for one of their superstars to bail them out. There’s no longevity in that!

  56. AFC Forever

    Sal

    “Incredible to me that Ole has frozen Van De Beek out with some of the mid field options he rocked.”

    I mentioned that the other day. There has to be something going on because he is a quality player and that’s a bang average midfield. They’re somehow getting away with it, probably because of Ronaldo. I feel for Atalanta.

  57. WengerEagle

    Imagine ZZ or Pep with Conte’s plugs. Haha.

    If he would have preserved his baldness you can’t help but feel that Conte would be a CL winner by now though, shiny head gets it done.

  58. WengerEagle

    Actually painful how good Gnabry has become. Arsene definitely long lost his eye for a young player by the time Gnabry was let slip through the net along with Bennacer and Donyell Malen in favour of shite like Sanogo, Joel Campbell and Iwobi.

    Have we ever let close to a player that good (Gnabry) leave without a proper crack of the whip?

  59. Leedsgunner

    Apparently Van de Beek is serious about defecting to Arsenal if Arteta comes knocking…

    Right age, opportunistic to be sure but worth it at the right price?! What do you think?

    I remember he was a brilliant player for Ajax.

  60. englandsbest

    The fascination is not Spurs – who gives a stuff about them – it is Conte, and why he signed, and why Levy hired him. It’s inexplicable. You couldn’t dream up a more unlikely pairing – a chairman who hates spending and a manager who has left two bigger Clubs because they wouldn’t spend.

    And why only 18 months cotract? Spurs problems need long-term solutions not quick fixes.

    A mystery that keeps mystifying. Better call Saul.

  61. UTarse

    I would take Van der beek in a heartbeat, Xhaka would fall further down the pecking order. Van is a far superior player.

  62. Tom

    Conte promised £280m to splurge on new players.
    AFC Forever must be rubbing his hands already……imagine what this will do to Tottenham’s debt and financial spread sheet.

  63. Tony

    https://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/news/tottenham-antonio-conte-appointment-fabregas-25362203

    Cesc’s thought’s on Conte taking over at Spuds.

    Looks like Sol is going to learn from Paddy at Palace after his Southend nightmare. Should make for an interesting reunion with Sol still looking to go back into management. Managerial experience gathering on Sol’s part after 2 failed attempts as manager. The first being the owner’s fault.

    Sol has battled depression as a player and his skin colour he feels has held him back from getting a serious managerial job, which should never have been a reason not to hire.

    Loved Sol as a player and am really behind him becoming a successful manager whether that is in lower divisions or abroad. As I’m still coping with depression I can understand something of how Sol felt and possibly still feels.

    Sol still has that ‘Invincible’ in him to keep pursuing his management dreams where I sincerely hope he gets the right chance to manage with a club troubled by their league footballing position and not non footballing reasons.

    Learning with Paddy will do Sol good.

    I’ve posted my thoughts on Conte at the Spuds yesterday, so only adding Cesc’s thoughts above that echo mine. We have one home win, so let’s see how Arteta does in the away trip. Arteta can only beat Spuds twice for his part. Arteta can’t be blamed for Spuds results after we’ve played them twice and any potential cup games.

    Have a good day Grovers.

  64. DivineSherlock

    I wont be bothered even if Spurs had Sir Alex Ferguson as the manager , they are spurs. Unlikely to win anything anytime soon. The worrying part was If he had gone to UTD , thanks Ronaldo for the assist there.

  65. China1

    Spurs are…spursy…

    It’s embarrassing how overrated they are every single year

    Even the supposedly great Poch never won shit with them at their best best period.

  66. Tom

    ‘Tom, does the £280m include the sale of Kane?‘

    Kane’s staying, but half of that €280m I’m hearing is in coupons and promo codes.

  67. China1

    Partey has not been on the losing side in a PL game since April

    He’s obviously far from the only deciding factor on whether or not we lose but this stat correlates very closely with what we see which is that he takes our midfield up a level. When lokonga settles and finds more consistency the team will improve further. Or if we go out and get a top class CM. But I don’t think the club will do that

  68. DivineSherlock

    China

    Partey has been our best midfielder , and the fact that Pedro is writing sermons on Xhaka is because Lokonga has done well . If an opportunity arrives , I’d prefer we sign somebody in CM there . Considering Xhaka’s spot will open next season.

  69. Tony

    The silver lining to Emery and Conte coming to the PL is that Arteta will be aware he’ll need to up his game further; nothing like having more competition to sharpen you up.

    Football certainly just got more interesting. Can’t wait for the Amazon docu. The filming, though far from finished, is already crammed full of content that’s an editor’s dream to sew together.

    I just got the Place docu of 5 episodes; I’ll make a start with my son today.

    Divine, I would imagine Conte’s directive will be 4th spot this season. Levy needs the CL money badly. Got a feeling the oddball CEO might meet his end this season if he doesn’t get CL money next season.

    Conte won’t mess about. He will get it his way that was laid out and agreed by all parties or he’ll say I’m off see you in court. He’s used to being in the ring with heavyweights, such as RA and is still here to tell the tale unscathed. I doubt Conte will manage a Russian team any time soon.

    We’re fortunate to get Conte half way through the TW (15 Jan), so we should be well oiled by then if Arteta keeps moving the needle.

    Said yesterday we all know that derby is a tribal cup final for both teams, so not easy to say we can be sure to get the result.

    The worry with Conte is his win% against other teams including the top 6.

    We have a young team who face many teething pitfalls than can convert into errors on the pitch. We also have experience in Partey, Auba and Laca that finally is creating a cohesion between experience and youth, as Manure’s kids with Cantana, Bruce and a few others used to dominate the PL for a decade.

    If you look at Fergie’s Brady Bunch to our accumulated youth: it’s only Schmeichel & Ronaldo who is better man for man if we look at the 2 sets of youth. The guy that just waxed lyrical about Ramsdale. I used Brady Bunch because the Nevilles were always bitching along with the winey Becks.

    By contrast ESR (Becks), Saka (Gigs), Tomi (Neville) Lakonga (Scoles potential) Tavares (Irwin potential) then there is Ronaldo a GOAT striker so job for Edu. Keane (Partey nearest we have) Maybe Ferdinand (Something for White to aspire to, but possible) Stam (Gabriel not far off now)

    Ok the game has also moved on to the 90s and early 00s, but I was just curious about the comparison. Absolutely no place for Xhaka to be a comparison at all.

    Obviously, the comparisons from our lads will be better after this and next season, but thereafter, with the right additions by whoever is the manager, we should be hitting the heights bordering on City and Pool elite and onwards.

    If we buy right in the Jan TW and add starters to our squad then we are in good shape bar injuries.

    Of course we could just as easily fall back into mediocrity if Arteta doesn’t handle the pressure, as well as bringing the regressive Xhaka back to direct play away from him unless the nearest opposition player is 20 yards plus away, then he wants the ball all the time.

    It’s Arteta’s to fuck up or land himself in Gooner glory, so we’ll see, but was fun looking through the comparisons, though.

  70. DivineSherlock

    Tony

    I am sure the directive is top 4 , they absolutely need it . Not sure whether a disinterested Kane , a woeful Delle Alli and inconsistent Moura and Bergwijn could deliver that . People talk about how they missed out on selling Kane but dont talk enough about Delle Alli as well , the man fell off a cliff (in terms of form) . They only have Son, who is truly world class , to bail them out. Even West Ham looks miles better than them right now. Conte isnt a miracle worker.

  71. Tony

    Devine
    I don’t disagree with what you’re saying and I’, very happy with Delli Ali’s current form, but I was just saying don’t discount the elite Conte. Certainly dispels that elite managers don’t go to shite clubs.

    Kane’s just a petulant kid trying to sulk his way out and Gangsta Dreds Delli will soon be sorted by Conte who’s got what Mour’s lost: respect.

    Conte’s a winner so will his players have to be. It’s that simple.

  72. TeeCee

    Not sure I agree with the overall message of the post. Football is short term. The reason not many ‘big’ clubs go down the route of hiring an unknown and giving him time is because mostly, it don’t work. You’re always chasing the leading pack. The object is to win trophies and make money, if a big name superstar manager comes in for Two years, wins a couple of trophies, blows up and leaves, what’s he done? Won silverware, increased the ‘fan base’ (gloryhunters), increased sponsorship, given the club a feel good factor and made them a better prospect for the next’ big’ manager.
    Arteta is chasing the pack, by the time we have a squad capable of actually challenging, the likelihood is that our best players will want to leave or will be cherry picked by the City’s and Madrid’s of the world.
    The Red Bull clubs are money making machines, superbly run, we all know the strategy they use but the only successful Red Bull club is Salzburg, in an Austrian league that’s probably at the English ‘League 1’ level bar a couple of teams.
    For me, Conte is a winner and I hate to say it but he’ll probably have Spurs in the top 4 next season if he’s given money to spend (can’t believe he took the job without a guarantee). Arteta will still be battling for 6th place which is his level (at best).

  73. The Bard

    You can already write the script at Spurs. Improvement in play, more wins. Conte demands more players Levy can’t/ won’t provide them because it costs too much money, Conte leaves in a huff.

  74. Tom

    “Tom, interesting you have taken offence to my very anti-Spurs comments but not surprising.. The fact you were promoting Dyche for Arsenal tells everyone what you aren’t“

    AFC , dude, are for real ?
    I didn’t take offence to your anti- Spurs comments, I was making fun of your lack of self awareness.

    ……promoting Dyche for the Arsenal job?
    Ha ha, must have me confused with CG there.

    Saying Dyche outperforms his circumstances isn’t equal to liking , or promoting him for anything.
    His look of a 70s porn flick star/director pretty much eliminates him from a top club job, ever.

  75. Emiratesstroller

    I watched yesterday the Man United v Atlanta game and to be frank I ask myself what exactly is their best starting eleven.

    They have accumulated a huge number of “expensively recruited” players. Yet I doubt anyone is clear what is their best team?

    Why for example did they recruit last summer at huge expense Sancho a left wing when they have playing in same position Rashford? The guy is getting hardly any game time.

    The previous summer Van der Beek was recruited to play in similar position to Pogba. Again
    he plays hardly any football for them. Pogba is winding down his career at Man Utd and will
    I am sure leave on a Bosman. He looks absolutely underwhelming in most games he plays.

    Everyone will of course blame the manager for the problems at the club. If he has a fault it is
    that he is a nice guy who lacks ruthlessness. He is saddled with too many players who all
    expect to play in team and there are simply not enough players in squad doing the graft.

    That is the difference between them and Liverpool where they know who plays regularly in
    their starting eleven.

  76. TeeCee

    I don’t get the hype around Pogba at all. I’ve seen him have a couple of great games and that’s it.
    You’re right about United though ES, their recruitment policy is just to buy good individuals, seemingly with little or no thought to what they will do with them.
    When I look at United, they need a top quality CB and midfield general.

  77. Habesha Gooner

    Emirates
    Ole is a huge part of the problem. The recruitment is also down to him. Wan bissaka is a poor mans Sagna who was recruited with ole’s instructions for 50 mil. Maguire is basically a 30 mil CB that was recruited for 80 mil. He also went for Van de beek and he still hasn’t had 10 starts in the league.

    It is not to say he didn’t get somethings right. Bruno Fernandez and Cavani are good signings. Sancho is a bit over priced but he is still a good player. Varane will come good because he is class.

    The problem is Ole just can’t put a decent side out to play. When you have Bruno, Pogba and Van de beek and you play Fred and Mctominay ahead of them then it is the managers fault. He is so risk averse.

    Their best lineup right now would be

    De Gea, Bissaka, Varane, Maguire, Shaw, Mctominay, Pogba, Bruno, Green wood, Rashford, Ronaldo.
    It should be a 433 instead of Bruno playing ahead of Pogba.

    I would keep that team consistently. If there are tweaks it should be Van de beek for one of Pogba or Bruno, Sancho for one of Rashford or Greenwood, Cavani for Ronaldo, Lindelof for Maguire.

    Seeing that lineup, you could tell Maguire, Bissaka and Mctominay aren’t good enough to start for a top team. They badly need a good holding midfielder and let their other attacking midfield players run riot. If they had Decĺan rice in midfield and ripped of this Mc- fred midfield they would be very dangerous.

    Ole can’t see that and that is why they are poor.

  78. Kroenkephobe

    His look of a 70s porn flick star/director pretty much eliminates him from a top club job, ever.

    Tom,
    Nice one. Dyche in a porno movie is a powerful and intoxicating image. The gingernating orgasm machine bringing relief to the laydeeez of East Lancashire. But you never know, Conte might give him the number of his syrup maker (toupee tailor?) which would help with his audition with Harvey Weinstein. I remember in the late wenger era, there was always a guy championing Dyche on ‘the Gooner’. Properly eccentric.

  79. Graham62

    Ronaldo just keeps bailing MU out of trouble. Take him out of the equation and United would probably not qualify for the knockout stages.
    I would play Cavani and him together far more often because Cavani is class. Greenwood and Rashford also need regular starts. It’s a bit of a conundrum for OGS.
    With the squad they have they should be doing far better but to blame OGS for all their mishaps is a bit unfair. Many of the players are just not performing.

    Now that Conte has gone to Spuds, who would they hire to run the ship?

  80. Emiratesstroller

    Habesha Gooner

    The real problem at Man Utd is their transfer policy. They want to be seen to buy headliners
    rather than recruit players that are needed.

    Buying £50-70 million players who are given virtually no game time is ridiculous.

    I doubt that Ole is the person who makes the transfer decisions. He is probably nodding them through.

  81. Habesha Gooner

    ES
    To be honest the only ones that didn’t make sense were Vande beek and Ronaldo. In vande beeks case you can even argue he was needed. They had no creative players besides pogba and Bruno. Mata is over the hill and hasn’t played for ages. Ole didn’t use Van de beek due to his preference to play Mc-fred midfield. Ronaldo is just a statement when they had enough strikers.

    Sancho was needed. They needed a right winger. Green wood is eventually going to move to CF role when Ronaldo and Cavani leave which is in a season or two. Bruno was bang on the money. It isn’t even debatable.

    Varane was also sensible because he is top class and they needed better than Lindelof. Dan James was a poor signing they made 15 mil profit on.

    The only ones that any manunited fan argues about is Bissaka and Maguire. And it is also due to their profile. Bissaka is a defensive full back with limited offensive ability. Maguire is poor for an 80 mil CB.

    They made big signings but it is not in positions they didn’t need. A CB and a RB was needed when they signed Bissaka and Maguire. The value for money is terrible.

    But Ole is also responsible. No one made him sign bissaka and Maguire. There were far better CBs and RBs around back then. Even if they aren’t great the players that he has enough to do damage. Their recruitment isn’t value for money but it isn’t terrible. Especially after Ole showed up there not before that. So I think the coach is the problem more than the recruitment or the players he has.

  82. Nelson

    I hope that Emery takes over Newcastle. EPL is getting really interesting this season. Conte may convince Kane that he can win something for them. The contract is for 18 months only. Both Levy and Conte don’t see this as a long term affair.

  83. Rich

    ES

    At the start of last season when Spurs hammered United 1-6 at Old Trafford, Neville + Evra we’re having a bedwetting competition at full time, blaming the result on the board for not signing Sancho for Ole at £110 million….

    Absolutely crazy, if Neville isn’t willing to call out his mate and be objective, then he should be taken off the United games

    Really looking forward to the Manchester derby on Sat afternoon, Solksjaer’s got the better of Pep in the head to head, and form goes out the window in these types of games

    United have the individual quality to cause anyone problems, they created plenty against Liverpool the other day until the sending off. but they’re all over the place defensively

    Hopefully Ole can hang in there, at least until we play them, we run the risk of playing both Newcastle + United in consecutive games, during a new manager bounce

  84. Emiratesstroller

    Habeesha Gooner

    Sancho is a left winger for both England and Man Utd.

    Ole may be consulted on transfers but I don’t think that he he is the leader when decisions are made.

    Nelson

    Emery is not going to Newcastle. He has apparently turned them down and is staying at
    Villereal.

    The new owners are struggling to make a suitable appointment.

  85. IAT-Robbie

    A brilliantly written article that helps illustrate the rabbit hole that some Gooners dig themselves into when trying to convince themselves of unfounded claims. Truly mind contortionist stuff!

    Will Spurs’ new short term strategy work with Conte you ask? I think there’s a good chance it will. I doubt silverware is as much a concern for Levy as Champions League money. If it were, Mourinho wouldn’t have been fired before a League Cup final to save money.

    Spuds have one of the largest principal debts in world football. They are in a similar position Arsenal were in after Ashburton Grove was built. They NEED Champions League football not only to keep in track with their original debt repayment plan… But also to negotiate better sponsorship, naming rights and broadcasting deals. Conte has one of the best track records at getting downtrodden clubs back into Champions League qualification. It’s a short term strategy because they are trying to get back to the Champions League as quickly as possible.

    That was probably the thinking behind Mourinho too. As much as Jose is a has-been. He’s a has-been that overtook Arteta in the table in his first season despite starting out in the bottom half. He also left Spurs above Arsenal in his second season. He may achieved one of his objectives of bringing silverware had Levy not been a cheapskate.

  86. IAT-Robbie

    It’s also interesting to see some of the more wild takes in the article. None of us were in the Inter boardroom but we’re so sure Conte is terrible to work with and he departed Inter over a temper tantrum. It definitely has nothing to do with the fact that Inter’s parent company, Suning Holdings had an $8 billion debt. They had to sell 20% of their assets and that trickled down to the football club. There’s a good chance, Conte terminating his contract early saved Inter a lot of money.

    Conte is “so hard” to work with because of his player demands yet the same isn’t said about Arteta. How many players has Mikel already fallen out with? How many times did Mikel make it clear he needed new player additions to the ones he already had? Chelsea’s former Technical Director, Emenalo, literally said Conte was great to work with but what does he know… You are the only ones who “know” football.

    All this is just reminiscent of when many in this fanbase kept trying to convince themselves Klopp and Tuchel would have been bad appointments. It just reeks of avoiding risk and not knowing when to cut one’s losses. Happens every time a managerial replacement is brought up within this fanbase. There’s always some kind of major personality flaw that these guys have. Yet it never seems to stop them from doing well .

    This writing style has shades of the recent Thierry Henry article – A well elaborated hit-piece that is purely emotionally driven and only based on wishful thinking.