Sifting through the dark noise

by & filed under News Review.

I went to TJ Maxx yesterday, to shop for a fancy dress outfit. My word, one of the worst experiences of my life. Stacks and stacks of clothes pilled up on racks that go on forever like some sort of nightmare… then, out of the blue, I accidentally found something I liked at a very good price. Now, I am a TJ Maxx shopper and I have to live with that shame.

Reading around some of the news outlets, you’d think Arsenal were raiding the rails at TK Maxx. No rhyme or reason to what they’ll pick off the shelf, as long as it’s warm and has a loose connection to the Premier League.

(more…)


Arsenal could make horror decision + Summer of unrest ahead

by & filed under News Review.

Arsenal vs Bayern

Well good morning my darlings, huge thanks to Mike for his list of potential Arsenal managers yesterday, some interesting insights there. Furious his number 1 did not align with mine, but rest assured, we’ll be talking about his dissent at a later date.

I thought the sexiest name on his list that I haven’t really paid attention to was Marcelo Gallardo. The Argentine has won it all with River Plate, he’s now their most successful manager of all time at the ripe old age of 43 years old. He’s interesting because his first gig was with Nacional. He retired from playing, took over the controls, won a league title in Uraguay at the first attempt.

What a boss.

‘But shouldn’t he have gone to Stoke first’

No. If you have it, you have it. Simple as that.

(more…)


Managerial options from around the globe

by & filed under News Review.

Take a read of Mike’s latest guest post, he covers managerial options from around the world. Enjoy, and give him a follow.

How are Arsenal making you feel right now?

I’m cautiously very excited.
I’m relieved that Emery’s gone even though it was at least a month too late.
I’m very excited to see what Freddie can do.
Excited but cautious as my trust in Raul and co has waned somewhat.
I’ve compiled a list of the many possibilities. Once you start digging there are many.
Some better and more realistic than others, but the list is intentionally long as Arsenal surprised us last time so its hard to know and certainly not obvious.

Below is a list of candidates, but first let’s look at the need….

What do Arsenal need?

You often learn what you want by seeing what you don’t want.

  • We need a fluent English speaking clear communicator.
  • We need someone who can balance our style with the need to deny the opponents, not one or the other, as we had with Wenger and Emery.
  • Arsenal fans want attacking football but are ok with a more pragmatic approach against better opposition.
  • We need a coach who can instill belief in the players to rejuvenate their away form.
  • We need someone that agrees with the coaching set up and won’t complain when those above him do their job (sign players) and it doesn’t completely jive with their best thought.
  • We want a coach who, after 17 years of being defensively leaky, will promote the need for a dominant DM and back four as a priority.
  • A coach who believes in our current set of youngsters.
  • A coach that can keep and attract players.
  • A coach who can progress the club into the CL, competing for the PL and eventually give us a chance to win one or both.

What’s the attraction of Arsenal?

I’ve said for years that Arsenal is a very attractive job. You could go down in history as the first coach to bring us back to PL glory AND in time, win the CL.*

*We are a mile away right now but with a little time and significantly better coaching it’s not beyond a club of our size.

Lesser clubs have achieved this goal. That’s how I would pitch it.

Arsenal are one of the biggest clubs in the world to have never won it.

They could also live in London, have a top salary, a good team with a few holes in the squad that needs balancing and become a hero for returning Arsenal to glory and a legend for doing what nobody has ever done.

Here we go…

Most likely

Mikel Arteta

Club: City assistant coach

Preferred formation: Unknown

Style: He wrote a piece for the .com whilst still at AFC and he stated that if he became a coach he would want a) full commitment b) attacking style c) expressive and entertaining d) not based on the opposition.

Sounds like everything we wished Emery was!

Pep has given Arteta credit for the improvement in Rodri, Mahrez and Sterling in particular.

Thoughts: Much like Freddie, he is an unknown quantity as a head coach but he has had one HUGE advantage…. he has worked with one of the best coaches of all time for 3 years and apparently had a big impact himself.

Carlo Ancelotti

Club: Napoli

Preferred formation: varied but mostly used 4-3-3
Style: A fantastic man manager beloved by former players. Won many titles, knows the PL and London so no need to adapt.

Thoughts: Napoli are currently imploding thanks to their goofy owner and his bizarre ideas. If Ancelotti gets fed up I could actually see him taking the AFC job.

I have one huge concern though….

When he was at Bayern, Rafael Honigstein, one of the most reliable journalists in Europe, wrote an article about how the Munich players ridiculed his ‘basic training sessions.’
A warm up followed by 11 vs 11 almost every day. Sounds like every young kids dream!

Sounds too much like Wenger to me and our players desperately need coaching.

Freddie Ljungberg

Club: Arsenal Interim

Preferred formation: somewhat unknown as he has been under direction from 1st team.

Style: high energy, attacking coach who believes in a balance between structure and offensive freedom.

Thoughts: Hard to find anything negative written about him as a coach. Players seem to love him, fans already do. Was part of Jonker’s relegation with Wolfsburg but never been the man in charge. Big difference.

Got a feeling that he could be far better than many belief.

Mauricio Pochettino 

Club: Available

Preferred formation: 4-2-3-1
Style: Organized, aggressive and powerful
Thoughts: Only way I see this is if he’s bitter. Will be offered far more prestigious jobs with far less hassle involved. I think he’s waiting on Tuchel or Solskjaer’s job.
Strong candidates

Max Allegri…

Turned Milan around then turned Juve into a dominant machine. Little concerned at his pragmatic approach rubbing fans the wrong way but clearly significantly better than Unai Emery was. Those that are adamant that Allegri is wrong for Arsenal are forgetting where we are currently and who he is and what he’s achieved.

Erik Ten Haag…

Assisted Pep at Munich and has done a fabulous job at Ajax, returning them to the top table in Europe. Will be snapped up by a bigger club or national team soon, possibly back to Munich.

Julian Nagelsmann …..

Not so young in coaching circles anymore but still only 32!!

Innovative coach who took somewhat of a sideways step in going to Leipzig when Real Madrid were interested. Hipsters choice but also a very smart choice, I believe.

Luis Enrique

A Sanhelli favourite who has just gone back to his National team job. As we all know, many coaches lose their jobs after major tournaments so I think if we choose to wait then Enrique may come back into the mix.

Created a high pressing, energetic team at Barca. Love the hunger he instills but concerned about his stubbornness and short term thinking which were two factors that saw the Roma and Barca fans turn on him.

An improvement on Emery but his lack of tolerance for the media, his imperfect English and lack of warmth with his squads are three factors that will hinder him.

The last two may be a bad memory for the players, one that they don’t wish to revisit.

Not sure how his daughters tragic death will have impacted him to be fair, as it will have had a profound effect, I’m sure.

Thomas Tuchel…
An antagonist but a highly talented coach.
Speaks fluent English and fluent football too! PSG are likely to move him on if they don’t get closer to winning the CL.
Possibly the perfect fit but like many on this list, we’d need Freddie to do well and carry us to the summer.
Some new and talented names

Jesse Marsch…

Firstly, if you like a motivator, watch the video.

The Red Bull Salzburg coach whose reputation is growing as he gives Liverpool and Napoli fits. Will Stan and Josh be interested in an American? An American who is one of the most impressive and well rounded coaches in Europe. A motivator, a tactical innovator and a great communicator. One to look out for.

Marcelo Gallardo…

The best unknown coach in the world.

The guy who Messi voted in his Top 3 as World Coach of the Year.

River Plate’s highly-rated coach has won everything and is considered the ‘new Pep.’

So much so that the rumor is that he is off to Barcelona.

Everything is there apart from (I believe) being an English speaker.

Marco Rose…

In some ways he could be perfect. The current Bundesliga leader has been credited with having success in every area that Emery is failing at, particularly his ability to be tactically flexible whilst establishing a base style. Just doubtful that Moenchengladbach would let him leave after less than a year or that he would do that to them.

Diego Simeone.... I think if AM sack him he will go to Italy. Would certainly improve Arsenal defensively but much like Allegri, I’m not sure how the fans would go for his style.

Pep Guardiola …. ‘What’s he thinking?’ I hear you say!

Why would one of the two world’s best coaches come to Arsenal?

He thought about it before he went to Munich until Wenger put a stop to it.

I don’t see a guy who looks totally happy at City. I think he may look for another challenge if he feels let down by his City team on or off the field.

I’m sure he’d have bigger clubs interested but I wonder if he would want a different challenge?

I am concerned that his irritation at the British press for being embarrassingly limited in their understanding of the tactical side of the game, will see him leave and not come back though.

THE DECISION

Unless the coach I want is available today, I’d happily keep Freddie Ljungberg in charge. I’d love to think that he could revitalize us and keep the job.

As we’ve seen with many former legends with little experience, the shiny factor can wear off but it could stick too.

This would give Arsenal time to breathe. I’d be actively looking for a permanent coach yet fully committed to Freddie if it works out.

I also think that we could get two ‘bounces.’ One from Freddie and the second from the new appointment, if he’s put in place this season.

I’d approach Pep Guadiola first. Why not? I wouldn’t expect him to say yes but I’d live in regret if I didn’t try, as I’ve got a sneaky feeling he’d be interested. Fully understand that this would mean keeping on Freddie until June.

If Pep wouldn’t take it I’d offer it to Arteta.

I’m not in the camp of being overly concerned about his lack of experience.

For as much as that is a true concern, so is the fact that many of the others are too worn, not as motivated, tactically stubborn, haven’t worked in England and haven’t had the experience of working with Pep like he has.

You’ve got to put it all on the scales and weigh it all up, not simply dismiss him because he’s new.

I’m also not afraid of getting it wrong. If it doesn’t work you move on. Be brave.

I’m also concerned that he may go elsewhere and we’d regret not taking the chance.

My third choice would be Tuchel. Ticks every box apart from PL experience.

If Gallardo can speak significantly better English than Emery, he’d be my fourth choice. If he can’t, I’d approach Jesse Marsch.

There are at least another 10 on this list that I’d be thrilled with so if you get anything from this article, don’t be part of the ‘but who is out there’ crew

Who do I think Arsenal will choose?

Luis Enrique or Thomas Tuchel.

I think Freddie will do well and that Raul will pick one of these two after both are fired in the summer.

Who would you choose and who do you think we will choose?

@mike_mmcdonald