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Decline is a long slow process, or a quick return to form
Interesting to see a non-Arsenal fans thoughts on whether we are still a big club or not and its hard to disagree with a lot of his points. I guess it depends hope you view a “big club”.
Is it in terms of the calibre of player you can bring in and attract? 9 months ago we signed a world class midfielder who nobody thought we could get, our world class striker, who consistently competed for the golden boot, signed a new contract with us effectively securing him until retirement. 3 months ago we secured the loan signing of one of the most talented young midfielders in Europe (I know its a loan but he still came here). Problem is, as our reputation falls, so do the young players who dream of wearing the Arsenal badge. For the last 15-20 years, young players talked to the press about dreaming of playing alongside Thierry Henry and Bergkamp, don’t think the same will be said of Xhaka and Giroud.
Do we have the financial clout to be a “big team”? This is especially hard to judge given the current global situation but we are probably still up there with the teams able to spend big money and pay big wages to players. This probably depends on continued European football but we could still outbid all but the top Premier League teams for players.
Do we currently have top players? Not really. Auba is but he is woefully out of form, Saka probably is just about a “star” player, Tierney and Partey just behind but I don’t think many people are out there buying Arsenal shirts these days for the player on the back. Problem is, we don’t play great football anymore that Arsenal are known for so there isnt the excitement you get from watching these players that you did during the Invincibles or even towards the end of the Wenger years so none of these players are elevated beyond their standing.
Are we as relevant as we used to be? No obviously not but neither were Liverpool in 2010-2013 (7th, 6th. 7th) or 2014-2016 (6th, 8th) who then went on to win the Premier League and Champions League. Major clubs can be cyclical just to the sheer draw and money they can generate. Well managed, they can come fighting back. Arsenal have been appallingly managed since Wenger left, dealing with bad owners, executives and more. Even the hiring of Arteta (who has until December for me to be able to prove hes got what it takes), all point towards general mismanagement and maybe even arrogance.
For many fans who only watch us in the big games i can see why its confusing that Arsenal fans have hope. But if you have watched every game, you can see genuine progress. Then next game its 2 steps back. We are so wildly inconsistent its difficult to make valuable insights into us and this is probably why the press aren’t pushing an agenda (also because as stated above we aren’t as relevant). How can you push an agenda on a team that doesn’t follow any logic or sense. When we commit to and play out from the back with ESR, Saka and Odegaard, we play nice progressive passing football. One cog falls, the system fails. This is why Klopp and Pep are elite managers and where Arteta is falling way short.
By the end of this season, Arsenal will have either Champions League through Europa win or nothing which is quite the difference. Either way we are likely to attempt to sell Willock (5), Nkteiah (10), Torreira (5), AMN (5), Guandouzi (10), Laca (20), Bellerin (20), Nelson (5) and Kolasinac (0). So that is 80m coming in but that leaves us with a first XI:
Chambers, Saliba, Gabriel, Tierney
Saka, ESR, Martinelli
Subs: Willian, El Neny, Mavropanos, Pepe, Mari, Cedric, Holding, Runnarson
That team doesn’t bounce back to Europa League, unless Saliba is the new Van Dijk. So Arteta needs Champions League football otherwise Arsenal will be sat at mid table for quite a while as we continue to pay huge wages on under performing 30+ players (Auba, Laca, Willian) whilst we wait for academy players to fill some gaps (Patino, Azeez, Flores, John-Jules).
Every match in the Europa league now defines the club for the next 5+ years, hopefully the players feel that way too.
Rob A (we have no left back cover for Tierney, how does this happen at a club like Arsenal) AFC
Shezad – managers who get long term deals get massive pay-offs when they get sacked. Having given them to Moyes and Mourinho, I’d suggest not giving Solksjaer a long term deal – why is that mad?
United don’t need to give him a massive deal. He’ll never get a better deal than United have already given him…
I don’t buy that rubbish about him needing a long-term deal to underline his authority either, as you acknowledge – they don’t make the managers safe from players downing tools, just rich if they lose the dressing room. I never said a rolling deal, I said one year, to be reviewed. What’s the big deal? But I’d be ok with two years, I guess… It’s what Chelsea did with Tuchel’s 18 month deal. To be clear, I’m not advocating for United to publicly announce that he’s an interim manager until someone better comes along, just to put him on a shorter term deal so he’s not expensive to get rid of…
I simply don’t think Solskjaer has earned a long term deal, but nor do I think there’s a candidate to replace him that justifies getting rid… they should continue to chip away at the issues with the squad and tread water until their “forever manager” is available.
Does anyone want to point Shehzad in the direction of Marcelo Bielsa, who seems to have done a pretty decent job at Leeds, with players all treating him with the upmost seriousness despite him being on a rolling contract all this time…
Also, Mediawatch – sorry, but you cannot say that Ole and Frank were the same scenarios!! All 3 may have been under qualified on the whole for the roles they got, all may have been fan favourites and ex-players at the club; but only 1 had literally no experience as a manager of a club!! Frank had his year at Derby, poor as that may have been; and Old had 6 yrs total at Molde and 1 at Cardiff.
Again, dispute whether the quality of that experience should be sufficient, but you can’t dismiss it and claim it is comparable to the 0 days experience as a manager that Arteta had prior to his appointment – that was indeed, unprecedented for a Top 6 club. Someone’s literal 1st job as manager is not that same as another’s 2nd or 4th!!!
Paul (Spurs), T.Wells
Man Utd spin in the media…
Has anyone noticed how much everybody in the media tip toes around criticising Man Utd players. Gary Neville will criticise the team as whole sometimes but would never single out any players and really call them out on their weaknesses. For instance, Gary recently put mason Greenwood in his England squad for the euros. No harm to mason who is a young lad learning his trade but he should be nowhere near the England senior squad. Gary calls him an elite finisher, less than a handful of goals in a team that sits 2nd in the league is less than prolific. So maybe if you look at the rest of his game, maybe he’s tormenting fullbacks, linking up well with his teammates or is a creative force? Nope nope and nope.
Can he go on to be all these things, absolutely. But now ? He has fundemental holes in his game, much like the guy on Utds other flank. Both selfish players who’s first thought when receiving the ball is to shift it and pull the trigger, both link up play a lot to be desired but they play for utd so if any journalist wants a banker click bait to a large amount of eyes they big these two players up. This is not a witch-hunt on Rashford or Greenwood but the media will not say boo about these players so I must. Recently the latest reason why Rashford dribbles the ball 9/10 and loses it is because he’s been injured the whole time apparently. Has he been injured his whole career? Because he looks the exact player I seen when he made his debut. No change.
Now mason Greenwood is struggling, after a breakout season, teams actually knew who he was and dealt with him quite easily to date as he doesn’t have Rashfords pace to go on a banter run. But yet you’ll never hear a bad word about him. Oh how Harvey Barnes, eze, etc would love to be at a media friendly club. Trent dropped is another media spin, the media act like trippier Kyle Walker and Reece James never make defensive mistakes and Trent is running around like an idiot. Far from the truth. The media went after Trent because the likes of Neville etc where trying to shoehorn another bang average utd player into the England squad in wan bassaka before realising the guys so bad even they can’t get him in the squad but teared down one of the best right backs in world football in the process. All ex United pundits. Then you just have to look at today’s headlines messi/lingard was one of them.
Jesse lingaard 28 years old, had one above average season for utd in his entire career then went off the boil again, shipped out to West Ham where he has strung together a handful of good games, straight back into the England squad at the expense of I’ve heard potentially Grealish? Grealish, a guy who could play in any team, a guy who didn’t take the easy way out as a kid, got relegated at a big club in villa, didn’t jump ship, stayed to captain/carry them back to the premier league and has continued to carry them to a respectable 9th in the table this season so far. That shows character, not even mentioning his ability. Lingard is a hell of an Instagramer though so walks straight back into the squad due to the eyes he brings. Again, hats off to Jesse, it’s good to see him enjoying his football again but England? Really? The Utd bias in today’s media is rife. It’s effects things a lot more than you think.
Oh nearly forgot about Maguire, this guy is the ultimate Teflon man, arrested in the summer, no bother we’ll spin that out. Plays pretty poorly all season to the point utd have to play counter attacking football to baby sit him. Also live, when watching, at the beginning of the season the media were shifting the blame to other utd players for his failings to the point there were some awkward pauses in commentary because heaven forbid you bash the England captain ( which is hilarious he’s captain). The media have been slightly more critical of late but purely because fans have been calling him out themselves, mainly the utd fans who’s hardcore don’t subscribe to the media agendas and just want to see their team get better. Ole talking about attacking football in press conferences then everyone turns to stone when you watch a utd game. I could go on and on.
So in conclusion, media you keep taking crap about utds players and I’ll keep trashing as a result until they prove/earn otherwise and hopefully 365 gives me the platform to do so.
England and Sterling
Calvino’s defence of Sterling is comparing apples to oranges. Ronaldo vs Sterling? hilarious
But the main crux of the argument is that he has the best stats and there hasn’t been a better English winger for 15 years.
Considering England have been shite for the last umpteen years, that’s not a high accolade. Considering he’s played in a Premier league team that gives more chances to him than any other team in England, it is also not a high accolade. Sterling is just another player in the long line of “English and overrated”. He’s not better than Grealish, he’s not better than Rashford, and those are the 2 people who are threatening his position in the team. He only succeeds against defenders who haven’t worked him out eg Poland.
He’s an average player who is just very quick and strong. Token English player if you will whereas Grealish and Rashford have the extra guile and end product. Remember Fat Frank and his deflected goals? He didn’t ever really produce for England did he? I wonder why that is……
It’s almost as if a place in the England team is guaranteed by image rights contracts, but that’s a question for another day (if ever F365 decide to open the lid on that one)
Fat Man (Trent clearly needs a new PR team to get back in the England squad)
Hello. Hi. I wrote a mail earlier where I claimed that Arteta has a good thing going with the media, and after seeing Mediawatch I’ve decided to Mediawatch Mediwatch. While I like you guys and don’t like tabloids, it feels justified. First point:
“‘The appointment of the Spaniard, 37, with no previous managerial experience, represents a shot in the dark almost unprecedented at a major English club,’ was a particularly interesting line as Arteta’s appointment came after those of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Frank Lampard. It might have been a gamble but it was entirely precedented.”
Here at Mediawatch 2.0, we feel it’s entirely relevant to point out that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Frank Lampard did have managerial experience before being hired. It wasn’t top-level, nor overly successful, but it did exist. Arteta truly didn’t have any managerial experience before being hired.
‘But saying they ‘aren’t even a good mid-table team’ is just plain ridiculous when this is an Arsenal side that has beaten Manchester United, Chelsea, Leicester and Tottenham this season.’ Well, 16th place Brighton have beaten Liverpool and Spurs this season and 18th place Fulham have beaten Liverpool, Everton and Leicester, so it does help to bear in mind that who you beat doesn’t matter in terms of the actual league table. The league table is non-judgemental, and that’s why we love it.
Admittedly, Palace wasn’t a good choice by David Kidd for a mid-table team, and while ‘only four teams have conceded more goals than Palace’s 48, while Arsenal have conceded just 35’ is true, 11 teams have also scored more than Arsenal’s 40. This despite a starting front three on Saturday bought for a combined €196.75 million. This is a front three that managed one shot between them – not just one on target, one shot. For good measure, it’s also worth noting the €50 million newly signed midfielder, along with the €26 million signed centre-back. They also have the fourth most expensively assembled squad in the division. Which seems relevant to expecting a higher tune than tenth.
Elsewhere, Mediawatch 1.0 tells us ‘They have literally lost two of their last seven Premier League games – to the Premier League champions and the Premier League champions-elect.’ This is all true, but also a narrative twist, because you could also say that they’ve literally lost four of their last nine Premier League games, but to do so you’d have to include losses to 9th place Aston Villa and to 14th place Wolves; which would make Arsenal and their manager look slightly less just the victims of the footballing giants that are Liverpool and Manchester City. Or, alternatively, you could use the league table for the season as a whole and see that Arsenal have lost 12 games out of 30. As many as they won. More than one in three. Feels relevant.
James, (this was more work than I thought, kudos for the effort it takes), Galway