Thursday 30 July 2009

Poker face?

It never ceases to amaze me just how much criticism Arsene gets at times, imagine if he had actually had a really bad season, by that I mean a Tottenham style season, he would then deserve some stick, but just remember what he's done with limited resources and how the club has been transformed in recent years. So many clubs have spent so much more money on players and achieved so much less than us, this should always be remembered.

Anyways moving on, it appears that Arsene is keeping his eye on the market and there are a few 'possibilities' out there, so any doom mongers who have given up all hope of any more signings will probably have been heartened by this news and Arsene's cheeky little smile at the end of this interview. Our squad is actually pretty large, we can play two very decent sides and still have good internationals left over. I do agree that we do lack a balance in out midfield, Song is the only player there who can really get stuck in and defend, we need more balance to the squad in this regard I feel.

I am completely with Arsene on this one, in that I do not want to see us go out and pay stupid 'Man City' style money on players who are no better than we already have at the club. Some of us have pointed out how we would probably be very excited if we had just signed a young talented Brazilian central midfielder for 25 million, we would do well to remember that we already have a lot of talent at the club. Money does not a player make, one great recent example of this was the ratty one Mr David Bentley.

I particularly enjoyed reading what Walter Smith had to say about Arsene, it made very pleasant reading indeed and it comes from a highly respected and experienced manager:

"Arsene isn't somebody who came in and discarded everyone right away but still did very well. That's good management and I think you can look at him as one of the best we've had in Britain over the last 25 years or so."


K man said...

Wenger is a legend. What he has done at Arsenal is incredible. His problem is that the success he has brought has led to much higher expectations. I still remember the midfield of Selley, Hillier, Morrow and times have changed. Diaby and Denilson are world beaters in comparison.

We don't need many signings, they don't even need to be expensive. A couple of experienced players with a bit of fight would do us nicely. We have bags of flair and pace - we just need a bit of grit.

Obsinho said...

I feel the need to defend myself slightly. Very slightly, as I think my concerns are shared with most other people on this blog. I'll start by laying a few ground rules;

- I rate denilson
- I rate song very highly
- Adebayor & kolo being sold was good business and good football.
- wenger knows football, and implicitly arsenal, better than me and anyone else.

Ok then. Our squad is not good enough to win the champs league. Nor the premier league. The differentials of what make up that gap may be small, but I am not paid a lot of money to identify and resolve them.

I want Arsenal to win things, not make money. I think Wenger does too. To do that we need to sign players who are better than our opponents and who improve what we have. This is particulalry true in central midfield.

I do not think we should sack wenger, and I do not think we need to raise funds with a rights issue to piss money up the wall for the sake of it. I accept that other clubs are not spending money, and realise that Arsenal are neither unique in this respect nor worse off.

BUT if we want to compete come August then we need to show ambition and not complacency. We have fallen short in recent years, so the status quo is not the solution. The club has placed faith in it's current squad - fine. If, and I am not saying when, that faith is not repaid then I would like to see ambition shown a d positive action taken.

What form that action takes is not my call (other blogs can play fantasy football till the cows come home) but a change would be needed. That can be in policy in the transfer Market, manager, board or anything.

We may be fine. I'm happy to cash another cheque for Le Boss and the Board. But if again we are not ok, then we need to evolve. What use being the last self-funded team in the top 10 of the Prem?

Ok then.

Ted said...

Good comments Obs. Why don't you think we will be at least competitive to win anything?

ManUre will be weaker than last year, the Scousers will be weaker when Alonso goes, Chelsea will be about the same. I don't see why we cannot roll with those teams.

I also disagree that its all about winning things. Its nice to win things and thats what you should aim for, but its not the be all and end all.

I got frustrated last year with Wenger's approach to the Chelsea and ManUre semi-finals. The absence of Arshavin was massive in those games. Unless Cesc has a massive turn-around our success next season will depend on Arshavin.

If Arshavin can take us to the next level and join the ranks of Henry, Bergkamp, Pires etc. then next season will result in a trophy. Easy.

It might seem simplistic, but ManUre were largely about Ronaldo for the last 3 years. When he delivered, ManUre won. Same goes for Drogba at Chelsea or Gerrard at Liverpool.

Squad depth is important, but successful teams are usually the ones that can put out their best players the most often.

Ted said...

Apologies for the double post, but I have just read Arry Rednapp spouting on about how spurs could do with 5 strikers next year. Thats total bollocks.

Whatever formation we play next year, we will use 6 players in midfield and attack. Of those positions, RVP, Cesc and Asrshavin probably go down on the team sheet as dead certainties.

That leaves three spaces to fill from Rosicky, Song, Denilson, Bendnter, Eduardo, Theo, Nasri, who I would say all deserve to be first team regulars. But 4 of them will not start the game.

We should also to forget the fringe players of Diaby, Vela and Ramsey. Thats now 10 players to fill 3 spaces - we should have a strong bench.

I tend to agree with the view that it would give us a better blend if one more of that 10 players was like Song, but those sorts of players are like gold dust. Denilson is Song's understudy, and he will have his critics, but so what?

Obsinho said...

It's not ALL about winning things, but it is about giving the impression that the club will do all it can to win things, rather than do all it can to make money.

At the moment I don't think the club manage their PR well enough, to make sure the impressions they want to give are communicated. If we are a business then PR is crucial to the brand, and in football ambition sells a lot of newspapers and merchandise.

Ted said...

So yesterday it was wenger has signed is own P45, and today the club's PR is mis-managed. Trying to control the gutter press is impossible. i fucking detest the clubs that splash £18m on a cunt like bentley and then say "wow, look at our ambition".

trying to win the PR war is a mugs game. i am extremely pleased that the senior pros like gallas, cesc, rvp etc have kept their silence at the moment.

the only PR we need to do is play good football in august. the papers and twat fans who want to see "ambitious signings" can fuck themselves.

Anonymous said...

I think you are a little harsh on Obsinho. It isn't merely ambitious signings but signings that we feel were needed after last season. There is a difference.

Lets not forget how frustrating we were to watch,often due to a leaky defence. Fine: Arsene says Kolo isn't good enough-in Arsene we trust and Kolo really didn't look great-but aren't we horribly short of legitimate right backs in our squad? Shouldn't something be spent in firming up realistic replacements? Champions league semis and the best on our bench is Bendtner and Eboue; ManU have Giggs, Berbatov, Scholes and Tevez-far superior in experience and possibly some skill.

Good PR comes from happy fans in football-there are a lot of disgruntled arsenal fans who are realitvely intelligent, not just the sorts who want to sign eto'o, de rossi, huntelaar etc etc. As K man says we have high expectations and rightly so-we are just crying out for the grit to be our backbone. Strong backbones come from a good squad all fighting to be picked.

We are all itching to be optimistic about the fact that ManU haven't really replaced Tevez and Ronaldo; that the Scousers won't replace Alonso. But somehow, I just don't feel that we will necessarily make the most of this with our current squad.

Obsinho said...

Anon has fleshed out the bones of my argument well. I feel you may be trying to polarise the views slightly here, Ted. It is not a choice between spending Citeh money on shit, or nurturing kids and selling your experienced pros.

There is a balance to draw, and that is very much Arsenal's policy and one I fully support. The trouble is, whether we can be flexible enough in how we follow our policy to ensure it works to our benefit, and does not become a millstone around the neck.

Although I would clearly love to win the title, in foresight it seems sad to think we have q chance because our opponents are worse NOT because we have improved. Because we haven't, and that is what ambition is.

I'll say it again, but ambition is not just about spending stupid money but spending wisely. Sagna, Eduaardo and Arsh are all examples of this that show this. And probably Vermaelen too. But at the moment we all know we are short on quality and numbers in the middle of the park, and would like to see it addressed. Song and denilson cannot carry us for a season, but I would happily see either start in any one game.

Ted said...

thanks for the comments. you won't be surprised that I don't agree.

i have already explained above how we have a strong squad. we are not short of quality or numbers in midfield - see above. This is especially the case if we play 4-3-3, which i think we might.

what people complain about is that we have no bulldozer understufy for song. well beggars can't be choosers. plus wenger is not going to buy bulldozers for the midfield because he does not believe in that way of playing. wenger likes denilson - deal with it people.

i mentioned that we might, MIGHT, need a right back but thats it. There is no way that we are "horribly short" of right backs. yes it looks bad if sagna gets injured. but gallas or djourou could easily play there and i refuse to get morbidly depressed because we do not have a good understudy right back. I mean - come on!!

We also did not lose the manure semis because of a weak bench. there are a whole bunch of reasons, but fundamentally it was because our top players either didn't play (arshavin) or didn't turn up (adebayor and cesc). The players that killed the tie were Ronaldo and Rooney, their top guns - not scholes or giggs.

the only player i am sorry to go is toure. he has been my favourite for several years, but everyone has already said that he is no longer at his best. however, losing adebayor and eboue means that there is now room in the team for players who do care, who will turn up and give some blood, sweat and tears. That must make us stronger next year.

anyway, who cares whether we get better or manure get worse. i thought it was about being competitive?

this debate about ambition is bullshit. giving a young player like gibbs a chance last seaon was a massive call by wenger and has reaped the rewards. why is that not ambitious? its fucking easy and stupid to spend £15m on wes brown. its fucking hard to bring someone new through.

we could easily have gone and bought an understudy for clichy last summer because we looked light in that area. plenty of people said we needed to at the time. they were wrong.

gibbs is now one of the genuine young english talents in the premiership. that shows ambition in my book.

giving good players the chance is all the ambition you ever need to show. man city buy a team - the fans will hate the players soon enough, the team will fail, but in august the papers love the "ambition". what bollocks.

we have to get a grip. to start the wenger p45 issue now, or question the management of the club at this stage, yet again, is simply ridiculous.

so we draw the first game of the season? or lose it? then what?

the debate must be polarised because if the doomsters are all just sharpening their knives already, then we are in for one clusterfuck of a season.

Anonymous said...

I think there is a good balance between spending money and nurturing kids.

AW signed Arshavin (27 or 28 years, and obviously, amazing.)

AW signed Vermallean. (not too old, but not a youngster either)

I think he will make another singing or two. He just doesn't want to state it publicly and raise the price.

everyone knows Aresenal have some money to blow. its not a car that he is buying where there are a lot of buyers in the market, so if babbles about it and rolls into town to make a signing the price will be too high and it will be counterproductive. arsenal will be priced out.

so he will sign at the right price now OR he will wait until the transfer window is about to close and make the signings then because there is a greater equilibirium in buying power at that point (i.e., if the other team doesn't sell their player, they aren't going to make any money)

I do think think Arsenal are good enough to win it all this year. As is. Their chief impidement last year, in my books, was psychological rather than physical. It is a big impidement, don't get me wrong, but are they capable of it? sure. they had a nice 21 game unbeaten streak in the Prem, made it to the last 4 in the champions league.

of course, thats not good enough anymore, as K man said, sucess breeds higher expectations.

Liverpool won't win shit because Rafa is an idiot. the Keane thing, his constant buying, selling, resting people for the wrong games, rotation, all of that proves it. he's not an idiot, but he's not smart enough to win.

Man U will be there in the end. But, pscyhologically, the rest of the league and them too, are wondering how they are going to score goals...and which midfield would you rather have. sure they kicked our butts in the CL, but I would take Arshavin(nasri)-Cesc-(song/denilson)-(walcott/rosicky any day over Fletcher, Carrick, Anderson, old man Giggs, and whoever else is rolling over there.

Chelsea is a bunch of 32 year old has beens. Not a bad idea to have a couple, but the team is made up of them. they will start of strong and fade.

Man City may actually put up a nice fight if Hughes can manage the egos.


Ted said...

well said rahul.

Anonymous said...

Okay then, short at right back rather than horribly short. i think we are sharper when there is more competition such as left back position where Gibbs is breathing down Clichy's neck and both have to be top of their game to get a look in. I want to see us top of our game-we did play some good football last season but as rahul says, we were left a bit short in our minds. Competition could give us the edge and provide opportunities for the players with blood, sweat and tears to emerge next season. Whether these players will be signings or from current squad doesn't matter-AW will find the balance no doubt.

marcus said...

I agree very much with Obsinho. Also, I don't think it's good PR to come out with the same exact comments AW made made last summer about not needing to strengthen, we're good enuf, if we need to buy we'll buy yadayadayada. It just infuriates supporters and gives more material to the media who insist we're in decline. When he made those comments last season the result was he didn't strengthen. And AW went into his worst season at Arsenal.

And I'm sorry, I don't believe the team as it is now can make a serious challenge for trophies, certainly not win one. I also think people are really underestimating Chelsea. We still haven't been able to beat those "overage has beens" when they have an in-form Drogba and Essien on the pitch, yet they keep beating us. (Please don't cite our win at the Bridge last season-Drogba and Essien were not playing and Felipao was still their manager). They've been excellent in pre-season, beating both Milan teams very easily and all their other opponents. Yes I know pre-season doesn't always tell you very much but the point is that, unlike Man Utd, Liverpool and Arsenal, Chelsea have played top level opponents in pre-season and beaten them all. I don't for one moment believe the team we have now can beat the Chelsea I saw win against Mourinho's Inter last week (I live in NYC).

1979gooner said...

Good banter one and all.

As you all know I just think we need a bit more physical power/defensive strength/grinding workrate in the midfield.

We have too many attacking players relative to the grinders.

There are too many small players who have no physical presence.

This makes it very hard for our defence as they are not shielded sufficiently.

Think back the the great sides under Wenger,

we always had more balance,

we had the likes of Vieira, Edu, Petit, Parlour, Gilberto who could all mix it up and defence.

Now we only have one player who can really get stuck in.

Vermaelen will hopefully improve our back four but this is not enough.

Goals will not be the problem in my opinion.

The problem last season was a very leaky defence, we conceded so many cheap goals to hopeful long balls when there was little threat.

I like Denilson but am not convinced that he can defend, he gets beaten very easily one on one and is slow to recover when beaten for pace.

Ramsey looks like he may be pretty solid all round, he will get stronger as he develops physically but he doesn't look quite ready yet.

It's hard to bring this argument down to one thing, but the balance is simply not there in our squad.

To sort of quote Teds, I think it will be hard to win the league with a midfield of mighty ball playing midgets.

Obsinho said...

Great banter one and all. And good to see that my opinions are clearly better than yours.

The key word is balance when trying to identify where we are lacking. The squad needs a slight tweak, a bit of time, and some proper support. I'm all for signing Matuidi and AN Other centre back (Wheater is my choice for today) to offer more competition and depth in 2 key positions. Should cost less than £20m and if we stick a Big Phil in the deal a lot less.

Either way, redknapps a cock, Bentley is a rat faced donkey raper, Terry's mother is a thief and it's the weekend. Yippe-kay-yay.

Uncle Mike said...

I agree with Ted, especially about Gibbs. After his goof, he could have curled up and surrendered. Instead, he came out the next game as if it was just another loss and opportunity was there again, which it was. If Adebayor had done that, he'd still be a Gunner.

I agree with Rahul, except, for the moment, for the Chelsea part. They were probably the best team in England all season long, and for the moment they have Arsenal's number. But I would loove it if the suddenly got old, loove it. Other than that, he nailed each argument.

And I agree with Obsinho, on the indvidual players, anyway. He makes some excellent points here. But I think he's underestimating the team as a whole. I really do think that a healthy Arsenal team can win whatever they enter.

On to the Emirates Cup, and let's beat Atletico and those Sad Blueshirt Bastards.

Obsinho said...

Well adjudicated Uncle Mike - but you agreed with me most I know.

Don't worry about ed's temper, he always gets like this when his AIDS is playing up.

Obsinho said...

Well adjudicated Uncle Mike - but you agreed with me most I know.

Don't worry about ed's temper, he always gets like this when his AIDS is playing up.

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