Saturday, 29 September 2012

A Kick Up The Arse

Just a few post match thoughts but well, I have to say I’m more than a little miffed. I was fairly confident that we were going to win today. But then I thought that we’d start with Giroud who was filled with confidence after a good performance mid-week and Mert would slot back in at center back alongside the Verminator. Keep things going in the league and then use rotation for Champions League midweek. Yes it’s easy in hindsight to say this is what was needed, but em….. that’s what I felt was needed to win today. Go direct against a Chelsea back four who don’t particularly like it and against a Chelsea midfield who, besides Mikel, don’t defend too deep. We have a midfield who like to pick up on loose balls and a direct system today would have suited us more. While I really hate losing to ‘them’ I don’t think today will do us any harm. It allows questions to be asked – why did we not want it as much as Chelsea? If we have any leaders in the team and we do – then questions need to be asked of the Ox and Ramsey who both became a little too sloppy in the second half. Experienced heads need to be able to say the right things after a game like that to wake the younger heads up. It’s good to have a performance like this early on so that the players can have their little arguments and alert each other to the fact that unless everyone is giving 100% in every game – that you won’t beat teams like Chelsea. I’m sure Wenger and Bould will be happy to point this out to them too. Yes defeat against ‘them’ leaves a crusty, sour taste in the mouth, but those defeats are the ones that should hurt more and give the team more fire in the belly.

On a positive side – like last week we created enough chances to win the game. Don’t forget that this is still a team in the making. We’ve seen that when they click, they’re fecking impressive. When they all work 100% for each other, they’re very organised and dam difficult to beat. It’s days like today that the Vermaelen’s, the Arteta’s, the Poldi’s, the Mert’s – the real leaders of the squad – today is the day that they help focus the younger members to the required work ethic: 100% hard work. It’s easy to do against the Southampton’s and the Coventry’s when you’re a few goals up and you have a tired opposition. It’s another matter when you’ve a team of winners in the opposite eleven. The Ox and Gibbs will learn from days like today.

I’m hopeful that today was nothing more than a slight blip. One that the team will bounce back from starting on Wednesday against Olympiakos.

Come on you Gunners!

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Transfer of Belief

I am normally one of the most upbeat, optimistic Arsenal fans around but my observance of the tale of ‘Two Merseyside’s, Two Years’ has changed that a little. This (my) blog post was helped along by this fantastic read and I’ll add my own little thoughts on the matter here.

Last transfer window, I was one of the fans who G4L described as “putting it down to one of those things”. My reasons were twofold: Firstly, I honestly believe Wenger thought he could persuade Nasri to stay and even possibly Cesc. He couldn’t. That both sagas went on so long, forced the trolley dash through the aisles of the market. Some buys were fantastic, some cuddly, some really great, others….. well. You can’t say anything as no chance was given due to their perceived lack of quality. So while it was frantic, I thought the players bought were good. I compared Arsenal to Liverpool last season. People said that Liverpool went about their business swiftly, professionally and they were using the ‘moneyball’ factor – buy good young talent who will hold their market value. Except Henderson, Downing, Carroll, Adam were all crap. As you can now see with Brendan Rogers actively getting rid of them. Liverpool vastly overpaid for every single bit of mediocrity in their boots.

This summer however, like so many Arsenal bloggers I read, I thought things were going to be different. I had resigned myself to Van Persie leaving a long time ago. The way he announced his decision has long been discussed so no need to detail what a horrible way to do it, but by that stage we had Giroud and Podolski in the bag. When we got Cazorla, Sahin was literally 5 minutes from signing too! I mean he was at the training ground in his full kit! There to sign on the dotted lines! He was just waiting to find a pen! There’s never one around when you need one. SOMEONE FIND HIM A PEN……

he’s what now? That’s not him?


Who is this guy?

And he ended up at Liverpool.

Across the trash scattered field that is Liverpool, Everton have done what I always argued Arsenal tried to do. Yes we have to sell players, but the money would be mostly reinvested in the team. For those are the words we always hear the people ITK speaking. But this year, Everton sold Rodwell for £12 million and all that money has been reinvested in the team. One player sold, four or five brought in. Wenger made a comment earlier in August that Podolski and Giroud were bought in the knowledge that Van Persie may leave. This isn’t good enough anymore. Why was Wenger never afraid to spend the money on players at Highbury where we were in debt and the stadium couldn’t pay for the success we tasted. That was where players were sold and the money was reinvested in the team. Take the Nicholas Anelka fee: a training ground was built for example. Our money now sits in the bank. I think our transfer philosophy is easier to debate when a Liverpool comes along and spends a ridiculous amount of money on crap. But when Everton come along and show you just how well money can be reinvested to make the squad stronger, it hurts. Don’t get me wrong – I feel we have a very strong first 11 and our defense thus far has been vastly improved due to (the probably/possible) influence of Mr. Bould. But our squad is thin in quality. And that is why I for the first time in a long time, see the glass as half empty, rather than full of mystical cloudy liquid. I want Arsenal to win the league more than anything. I believe it can be done. I look at France and Montpellier; Germany and Dortmund. Smaller teams punching massively above their weight and winning. Winning against the budgets of PSG and Bayern Munich.
But we need a squad. Not just a first 11. If we keep doing what we seemingly do, then the only thing that will change with this fantastic image is the face of the exasperated manager and the name. Oh and follow this hilarious man

On a slight side note, I rarely concur with Tim Payton on twitter (he’s a little bit too pessimistic for me – no offence meant if he should read this!) but the few times (for me) he raises a valid point, it strikes home:

Why aren't we using our money better? If we’re sitting on vast reserves of cash and seemingly don’t want to spend it on transfers – why can’t we make tickets cheaper for fans? In these times of financial squeeze for the ordinary fan, why not use the cash reserves to take even 10% off the cost of tickets? Just a thought. That's all for now!