Monday 2 March 2009

The luck of the draw(s)...

Its a bit difficult at the moment for us Gooners. Why has it all gone wrong and how does it become better?

Arsene Wenger has never done that which the tabloid press would like him to do. He has always defied convention and expectation. That is what has made him the most successful manager in modern football, based on the trophies won against money spent. Any idiot pub "know-it-all" can be given £400m and should be able to buy a team that will win the league. Jose Mourinho is dangerously close to being no more than that.

But what makes Wenger so incredible, and at the same time so incredibly frustrating, is that he is determined to show the world that he can win major trophies without significant use of the chequebook. Its an ability that I truly admire in Wenger, but we are now at a low point and are questioning ourselves and whether this is the right way to do things.

By all means say you disagree. But I would never, ever, want Arsenal to become one of the chequebook democracies that litter the premierleague, where as soon as results turn bad, the manager is sacked and another £50m is pumped in on new players. Spurs, Chelsea and Newcastle are perhaps the worst culprits over the last ten years, but Leeds, Liverpool, Portsmouth, Man City, Sunderland and West Ham (to name but a few) are all guilty as well.

Frankly speaking, if we have to finish 5th this year and get this out of our system, then so be it. There is a hell of a lot of bad blood around at the moment. Perhaps we do actually need to hit rock bottom before people will start remembering why they like watching football again?

But lets hope for a better future. The position where we find ourselves on 2 March 2009 in the league table is hard to take. But a win tomorrow against West Brom and things will look a bit better.

I am also sick and tired of people saying that this is a new problem for us. That these are unacceptable lows that should mean heads roll. That Wenger has lost it and doesn't know what he is doing. So its time for yet another trip down memory lane.

On 1 March 2006, Arsenal had just lost ( YES LOST) four games out the last 6, had drawn one and won one. Thats 4 points from 6 games and we were, I think, about 6th in the table. We were also out of the FA Cup (having lost to Bolton), but were still in the Champions League.

That dire situation had arisen after the Invincibles and trounced everyone the year before. And Arsenal fans accros the globe hailed Wenger as the all conquering and faultless messiah.

Now, we all know that the 2005/06 season worked out ok in the end, but only just. We had injury problems (Cole, Campbell, Ljungberg, Pires) we had stroppy foreigner problems (Reyes), and no-one could forgive Wenger for selling Vieira and playing a youngster Fabregas instead. It all sounds a bit familiar. Also, at that time, the consensus on Flamini was that he was not good enough, whereas Senderos / Toure were the new Adams / Keown. Shows what fans know.

From the last 11 league games in 2005/06, Arsenal won 8, drew 2 and lost 1. I don't think we will need 26 points from our last 11 games this time around, as I very generously said on Satyrday that 25 should do it - a total points tally of 70. That said, with Liverpool and Aston Villa dropping points again over the weekend, it may well be that 70 points will get you 2nd or 3rd place.

The recovery starts against West Brom tomorrow. Forget systems, forget players, forget Eboue, forget Adebayor. The biggest missing pieces of our jigsaw at the moment are motivation, confidence, self-belief and a bit of luck. Those are four sides of the same square.

We will beat West Brom. We will beat West Brom. We will beat West Brom...


Obsinho said...

Fair enough really.

We don't want to be like the rest, but we crave the success. But only Utd have really had the success and that is from spending £50m net a year minimum on keeping the squad full of quality. Can we do that? No.

So we have the team we have, and a lot of them are actually very good.

And none of them are as big a rat-faced c*nt as David Bentley. That made my year.

Anonymous said...

Great article. Really. Nailed it.
thanks for sharing the 2006 stats too.

Anonymous said...

Good points Ted. I agree there is still a chance that we will finish fourth.

Unfortunately, based on our form throughout this season, it does not look hopeful. And I think that is why many supporters (I can only speak for myself) are feeling pessimistic.

Ted said...

thanks rahul. very kind.

rhino - i completely agree that people are pessimistic, and that the pessimism is based on a solid basis of fact (such as our league form).

But a winning mentality comes from unshakable belief. As soon as we allow pessimism to become the dominant thought, we have already lost the game.

By all means fear failure, but we must always believe we will succeed.

Wenger has always been quite good at this Tiger Woods/Nike/be a winner bullshit. And that is why we will finish 4th.

GlancingHeader said...

This is probably the most optimistic piece one can find currently. I happen to share your view, that we will finish in the top 4 regardless of which other team would falter. What happened in 2006 is a painful memory and we are not nearly at that level. Thanks for your post.

Anonymous said...

@ ted , great views...very positive attitude !!

thanks for makin us HOPE for the best ! After reading your article based on previous stats..i actually believe that we wll come in top 4 .