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Age shall not weary them

In a frustrating season the all too familiar complaints about the perceived failure of Wenger`s youth policy have once more come to the fore. The paradox though is that the famed youth policy, at least in regard to transfers, was brief and actually ended three years back. Its impact though was protracted. The delicate task of timing the departure of expensive experienced players with the development of precocious talent with more value in their legs has disappointed in trophies and perplexed those who didn`t foresee the financial need for such a strategy.

Since 2005/2006, prior to the opening of the Emirates stadium when, in the space of 6 months between July and January, Wenger bought a collection of teenagers in Walcott, Bendtner, Mannone, Traore and Diaby, then added Song and Denilson in August, he has only bought one other teenager, Aaron Ramsey, as a first team squad member. All of his first team signings since then have been more developed players with Nasri at 21 the youngest. Five signings in the last 3 years have been 24 or older, Rosicky, Eduardo, Sagna, Silvestre and Arshavin with the average age of the 10 transfers in that period 23.6 years.

The current first team squad is made up of 29 players, a reasonable size for the PL, though this includes Senderos and Traore, both currently out on loan. The average age of the squad at the beginning of the season was a touch over 22. It will end this season over 23 with the help of the comparatively ancient Arshavin. If the squad remains unchanged then that will, naturally enough, climb to around 24+ by the end of next season which is pretty well an average age for a PL team. Much the same as the `71 double winning side with youngsters George and Kennedy balancing more mature players like McLintock.

That picture would only change if older players were to leave. While van Persie has yet to sign an extension to his contract, and there might be some questions about Gallas, plus the ability of Rosicky to continue playing, space in the first team squad is likely to be made by the removal of those like Senderos, Traore and possibly Bischoff. Given Arsene`s recent statement that "...if we buy, it certainly won't be players who lack experience. We have enough of those." the expectation is that the average age might take a modest upward turn this summer.

Looking at the average age of the current first team squad, while still a young side, much of that imbalance of youth and experience is in one area - midfield. The average age of our attack is nudging 24 with the older Eduardo, van Persie and Adebayor balancing Bendtner and Vela. Our defence is a relatively ancient 25 with only Gibbs and Traore true youngsters. If this squad remains together then our attack by the end of next season will be looking towards the 25 mark and defence 26. But our current midfield would barely average 23 even by the end of next season. Take Rosicky and Arshavin out and we are looking at still only 22 by then. Even with Rosicky included we kicked off this season with a midfield squad still shy of 21 as an average age. It`s seems clear where experience is needed which would mean players like Ramsey and Wilshere could find their progress hindered by an endeavour to redress that imbalance with Bischoff perhaps having to look elsewhere.

As a club we will and should always look to recruit and develop exciting youngsters but they are unlikely, other than in Carling Cup competitions, to be afforded quite the same degree of focus that they have had over the last 3 or 4 years.

As the team continues to mature, particularly next season, the door to the first team squad won`t open quite as widely for the youngsters in the future as it has done. Unless that is, our experienced players show the same frustrating tendency for protracted injuries as they have done this season.



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The Journalist

Writer: Amos Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday May 11 2009

Time: 12:58PM

Your Comments

I wanted to write something worthwhile, yet disappointment by Sundays game in not winning made it hard. People all over are running us down, and where I expect shelter even our own fans are running us down. There opinions are worthwhile but one minute we are wonderful and everyone loves the Gunners yet two games minus almost the back line and we are rubbish. So I thought I might just pass on the following facts for the die hards who wear rose coloured glasses like me. 1999-2000 final points 73 2000-2001 final points 70 2001-2002 final points 87 2002-2003 final points 78 2003-2004 final points 90 2004-2005 final points 83 2005-2006 final points 67 2006-2007 final points 68 2007-2008 final points 83 2008-2009 at this time 68 (possible 74) Considering we have had to manage without many of the team for large parts of this season, is someone telling me the Boss has done a bad job? We have the best football ground (IMO) in England, are financially secure and the best young talent in Europe. The boss for the past six games has had two English born players in the side;(one a full International and the other who will soon be (IMO). Yes agree we need a GK and central defender and a bit of beef up front although young Nick will as I have been harping one will fill that place. Sorry but I do see silver ware on the horizon and I do believe in the boss and this team to produce the goods. I so hope we stuff the pipe up Evra backside and show Manure we are a side to be reckon with. Go the Team i love the Gunners.
alwaysgunner
Should be their sorry
alwaysgunner
Always, while it is often beneficial to point out stats from years gone by is it not the duty of the club to match the standards being set around them by other clubs who currently lead the way otherwise we could find ourselevs slipping further behind. The premier league is tougher now than in many previous seasons where our current points total would see us not far off challenging for the title. The rest of the league has adapted and moved with the times, so must we mate.
LondonGooner
LG I just wonder when the pigeon comes home to roost; (I well remember Leeds when they were kings of Div one) re the amounts other teams have spent, because it will sunshine, it will.
alwaysgunner
I think the dissapointment is the manner we have lost it all in a few short weeks. A bitterly poor effort against Chelsea to get knocked out of the Semis, Outplayed but lucky to get a draw aginst Liverpool, a battering at Old Trafford but got away with it, Out of the Home tie within 10 minutes, Revenge gone sour with a humbling 4-1 scoreline to our chav neighbours. 5 games no wins & 4 losses against our closest rivals when it really mattered. Leaving that a side we were out of the league title in november having lost 5 games in 14, Squandered a 2 goal advantage against the enemy in the dying moments, Gallas stripped of the captaincy in the manner he was, 2 Goal advantage against Villa surrendered, Adebayors fall in to lazy mediocrity and all round tw**ness, 4 consecutive 0-0 home draws to teams we should be beating, lack of transfers last summer exposing weaknesses we all could see, Battle of the boardrooms with a disgusting fat troll ex kgb war criminal as a major shareholder. All the above with the highest priced season tickets in the league make for a difficult season the most gunners fans.
paul_ownz
On a more positive note & for next year we have signed Arshavin, the emergence of Gibbs, Song, Denilson & Bendtner, European football next season(if we win qualifying game), Squad being a year older, Van Persie staying relativly injury free, Eduardos return and we are still better than Spurs.
paul_ownz
The league has improved but the top 4 have improved at a steeper curve than the rest, we have players capable of beating the rest of the league, but above us - we need some serious luck to beat those teams. Also, 'The wonder of you'... eurgh.
shewore
The points needed to win the title hasn't really changed that much since the PL was formed - ManU needed 92 points back in 93/94. I think the overall quality of all teams has improved but that's likely to mean fewer points takes the title not more. We weren't good enough this season but we aren't that far away either. The club is getting stronger which means the team will too.
Amos.
Due to the CL the top 4 have had more money than the rest. There isn't a great secret in this. ManU have generated about £500m more revenue than we have over the last 10 years Chelsea have had slightly more pumped in in half the time. The most successful business wins the trophies more often than the others.
Amos.
"Also, 'The wonder of you'... eurgh." shewore - Oh please someone shoot me when they start playing that poxy tune before games.... What a way to build atmosphere...it makes me want to chew through my own veins!
LondonGooner
"ManU needed 92 points back in 93/94" They played 42 games that season, the 1999/2000 season is a better example. Manu accumilated 91 points that season, in 38 games.
JohnDoe
Amos the point u make about it requiring fewer points may be valid on paper, but not accurate as the top 4 have improved immeasurably more than the rest of the league - the gap in pts between 4th/5th backs this up, and as JohnDoe says - more games were played then.
shewore
Yeah agree LG - what on earth sort of connection has Arsenal Football Club got with Elvis ffs? He's only ever set foot on British soil about once didn't he?!
shewore
"we are still better than Spurs" -- well, that's not too difficult. We've always been better than spurs so that's no marker of our quality. For me the primary issues are not player quality, the need to sell or buy, our financial limits, how difficult the league has become, etc. For me the primary issues are TRAINING, ATTITUDE, LEADERSHIP, CHARACTER, TACTICS, TEAM SELECTION/FORMATION. Gallas gave us organization and defensive discipline. He gets injured and it all goes to pieces. Why? Arshavin comes in and embarrasses our players with the quality of his decision-making, intelligence and leadership. Zero improvement in set pieces, crossing. A refusal to FIGHT for the ball and hold possession, to collectively and consistently close down opponents. Laziness. A manager who continually insists on playing players in unfamiliar positions in important games, and inexcusably late substitutions. The real issues go much deeper than which players are coming thru, which should go and stay, etc. We need a serious shake-up in the coaching staff, AW needs a real asst. not a yes man. And all this coddling and massaging of our players' egos needs to stop.
jaelle
AC Milan is too old ... Arsenal's too young. Swap players! lol.
k_chelski
Eduardo has been your biggest miss - the kid has talent!
merlin
Nice analysis but you are assuming that Cesc and others stick around. We need the right balance between youth and experience. What good does it to Gibbs to lose 7 goals in 5 days? Or Cesc to see that at 21 he needs to act as the old head instead of focusing on his game. wHere is he going to get support from when he's expected to carry the club? Cesc's season has not been great. This policy is a thin one as it is relying on players loyalty.
Gael-Force
"This policy is a thin one as it is relying on players loyalty." -- exactly. And how many times do these players need to be humiliated on a global stage before they say "Enough! I won't win anything with this team." Humiliation after humiliation, season after season -- with another one probably coming up this weekend.
jaelle
When is player loyalty never a consideration? How loyal has Ronaldo been despite major trophy wins at ManU? Or Gabriel Heinze? Players are usually loyal as long as they are under contract. In that regard every teams policy is a thin one. For us, or any other team, recruiting other players is often dependant on them being disloyal to their existing teams.
Amos.
I always thought the average age debate was exaggerated (Arsenal fans are also to blame for this). Last season, we had a good balance of ages, esp in mid field (Hleb & Rosicky) and defence (Toure & Gallas). I dont mean to knock the article Amos, but this is just my opinion. Wenger often said age doesnt matter, its the quality, and I bought into that theory. If a 22 year old can show me the talent and mental toughness, then great. But the players (even the experienced ones) do not show that willingness to fight when the odds are stacked against the team and I'm curious to know how that problem can be addressed without large scale player movement, i.e. a squad restructuring.
prits
Got to get rid of the cancer players, Bendtner & Eboue, sooner rather than later!
Orange Quadrant
I am not entirely sure what you mean about the average age debate being exaggerated? The reality is that we have been over reliant on integrating younger players early in recent seasons. Even Cesc is an example of that. It was necessary, unavoidable even, maybe for the long term essential, but also came at a cost. I really don't buy this argument about a lack of willingness to fight or attitude, mental strength or whatever label is attached when results don't go our way. The players want to compete and want to win I am sure of that. That we haven't won often enough to get beyond semi- finals or finish higher than 4th is about more fundamental issues of strength, balance and experience rather than attitudes.
Amos.
jaelle " Humiliation after humiliation, season after season" What team are you following. How can you come to that conclusion? They've been knocked out of the CL; knocked out of the FA (both in the semi's) likewise how many players from their defense were missing? Give it a rest mate, we would love to win each and every cup but its just not possible at the moment. I admit we were not the best of the four teams remaining in the CL, but one of the better teams in the FA. If you find that to be humiliating then your definition is far different than mine. At the beginning of the season and up till November clowns were saying we wouldn't finish 10 in the EPL. We missed out on winning the EPL) . Last season by we lost the EPL title by four bloody points and considering the injuries, whats the point, run around like a chook with his head off. Check our positions since 1998 and you will see apart from a three year period of 4th and one third which as stated we were just four points of winning the EPL we have dropped back a bit and only a bit. We've a bloody new stadium and great manager and a team that will win silverware. Just for information in 1998 Leeds were runners up, financial ruin what and wait, the tally man will be on the doorsteps of some of those glorious teams in front of us.
alwaysgunner
watch and wait sorry
alwaysgunner
"Got to get rid of the cancer players, Bendtner & Eboue, sooner rather than later!" Orange Quadrant - Yeah great idea Orange, get rid of one of the b est young strikers in the world who at the age of 21 has scored 16 goals in his first full season and been the only striker we have who runs his arse off from the moment he crosses yet you fail to mention players like Adebayor of have royally shafted the club on almost every level....Bendtner LOL almost comical if it wasn't so wrong!
LondonGooner
***crosses the white line***
LondonGooner
And the only striker to get caught with his pants down.
paul_ownz
You can analyse all this to death, the bottom line is, we've won eff all with this lot and we will continue to win eff all with this lot.
shewore
Especially as Wenger only considers there to be only 2 competitions.
shewore
When Man Utd bought the likes of Ronaldo and Rooney, they get integrated into a more experienced team with a winning mentality so that they know what it takes to win things. Now when they bring in new youngsters, they can look up to likes of Ronaldo and Rooney. Who have our players got to learn from? As has been said before, we haven't done a good enough job of transitioning into this new side and that has cost us. Maybe that's too simplistic an analysis and conclusion but that's my opininon.
Gooner_Vin
On a more comical front, the sun has comments from someone who was in the jail that Ledley was in and said. "I’ve never seen anyone in that bad a way with alcohol. His trousers were down almost to his knees and it was obvious he had wet himself. “He could barely stand up straight and had to be helped by officers. When he wasn’t talking he was sobbing and crying like an infant.” he shouted at the sergeant: “Boss man, boss man, I don’t deserve to be here — I’m rich.” At least Bendtners pants wernt soiled, ha ha
paul_ownz
LG OQ is not a supporter of the gunners he comes up with crap every so often. suspect he's a scum supporter.
alwaysgunner
Its a simplistic analysis VG but the conclusion is right. The problem with the strategy is that the players that we might have expected to add to the experience bank supporting the younger kids didn't have the mental fortitude to stay around. Not so much players whose time had gone like Pires, Gilberto or Henry but imports like Reyes, Hleb and Flamini would all be mid twenties and providing some greater experience and physical strength if they had developed as their talent might have done at Arsenal. We haven't been helped either in that injuries in recent seasons have tended to be skewed towards our more experienced players Rosicky, Eduardo and the like. The over reliance on youth was a combination of financial necessity, some misfortune and occassional misjudgements. What's important is that it hasn't really gone badly wrong. We are still in decent shape and the time when we needed to depend on youth to the extent we have done has now passed.
Amos.
Amos - I take on board your point. The error (with the benefit of hindsight) was not to adequately replace Hleb, Flamini and Rosicky. Or to have let them go without more of a fight. I still think we are a fair way off Man Utd, Chelsea and Liverpool though.
Gooner_Vin
On a side note, I've been thinking that wouldn't it be a good idea that the winner of the Europa league (or even both the finalists) be allowed entry to the following season's Champions League? At least that would mean that being in the Europa league still had real value. What does everyone else think?
Gooner_Vin
Nah, the "little" or "smaller" clubs should stay in the Europa league GV! lol
LondonGooner
It's an interesting idea Vin. I don't know that everyone would be happy for the competition to be seen as a CL qualifier but it would make those involved in it inclined to take it more seriously. Ironically the competition is often won by teams that have dropped down after the group stages of the CL. Effectively it may not change much.
Amos.
When the FA cup was under some pressure a few years back it was mooted around the FA's corridors that the winners should qualify for the CL. I wonder what the Premier League would of made of 25% of their CL qualifying spots going missing? lol Typical FA. An amateur association in charge of a professional game.
LondonGooner
Isnt the lack of fight when the odds are stacked against you a fundamental issue? To me, its even more fundamental than the rest coz the rest can be worked on. I dont, for one minute, believe that the scorelines against ManU & Chelsea represent the real gaps in quality or talent between the sides. Our side is capable of better. The question should be - why didnt they do better? Why did heads and shoulders drop after going 2 goals down, in both games? You can say its age, but the same happened to players like Toure & Silvestre also. Of course, we're in decent shape. I dont think 4th or even 3rd place is out of reach for this team next season, and we are in much better shape than Villa, Everton, Citeh. The question is are we going to compete more effectively with the big boys when it matters?
prits
I just think at this point there's too much of a gulf between being in the Champions League and out of it, even by missing it by one position. In the old days, the UEFA Cup was still a great prize because you'd get so many strong teams still in it. Even the Cup Winners Cup was a really good competition. There's effectively a 2-tier midweek European league in place; why not allow promotion on finishing in the top 2 positions in the second tier?
Gooner_Vin
ag, the team I've been following has in one season crapped out of 3 competitions in an 11-day collapse, been thrashed 5-1 at WHL and 4-0 at OT in spectacular and humiliating fashion and collapsed in their campaign for the title (all in 1 season), while this season they've lost to a newly promoted side at home, lost to the likes of Stoke in comedic fashion, gave up a strong lead at home to the scum in comedic fashion, thrashed by MAN CITY, thrashed at home by Utd on the global stage after 10 mins. (after which our players gave up and showed no interest in fighting) and now thrashed at home in our worst home league defeat in 32 years to the chavs because our players have no defensive and organizational discipline, and because they're not clinical enuf. That's what I mean by 2 or more humiliations every season lately. Can we just have one next season?
jaelle
I don't think that the scorelines against ManU and Chelsea reflect a lack of fight. Against ManU we had far more possession, dominated territorial advantage and won more corners. We were undone by a slip, a set piece and hit on the break. Their heads didn't go down though you would have to have been a supreme optimist to believe that we could put 4 goals past ManU after the 1st 10 minutes without them scoring. We didn't capitulate against Chelsea either. In fact the scoreline was bizarre given the pattern of the game. I don't think the scorelines in those games reflect the gap in quality between the the teams but it is clear that there is a gap. It's one that won't be overcome with more 'fight' though there are some players that could show more urgency. There is a fundamental issue about midfield balance still to resolve - that and the ability to field our strongest team in key games.
Amos.
Two points, Flamini in the 2005-2006 season there were going calls on this blog to get rid of him; strange now the calls are he should have never left he was such a good player. Helb likewise how many goals did he score, yet Nasri replaced him and how much better is he than Helb? We have been hurt by injuries in Eduardo and Tommy, and lengthy injuries to RVP Theo and Ces plus Ade. Would that not hinder any team? When you include Clincy and the Alumuni should that not be taken into consideration. I agree with pritz I would have love to see a fighting spirit on the ground but I did feel that was present when Nick came on. All in all I agree with Amos 'What's important is that it hasn't really gone badly wrong.'
alwaysgunner
jaelle, i do understand your passion in winning, and your despair at us not winning silverware, but you must really weigh up all the factors. your statement that I quoted was far harsher than that. The 5-1 at Scum lane was hardly the first team and that was last year? we still have to go to OT having beaten them at home. I was more disappointed at losing to Fulham than that. Nothing could be worse than Blue tooth Brown grinning after beating us at home but once again the team did not play badly, like Sunday they never finished their chances. We have two games to go, lets hope we at least put on a good display at OT.
alwaysgunner
One other thing: is it just me or did Hleb and Rosicky more often than not work really hard on helping their fullback last season? I certainly recall noticing the work that Hleb was putting in. This season that hasn't been there - the lack of effort in that side of the game from the likes of Walcott and Eboue has been noticeable to say the least. Again I make the point that I see far greater players in Henry and Messi working their socks off than the likes of Walcott and Eboue.
Gooner_Vin
I think Hleb and Rosicky were naturally more experienced at their roles and knew where to be when they didn't have the ball. It'll take Walcott some time before he does those things as automatically as Rosicky was able to do. Walcott works quite hard but just ineffectively at times. He doesn't know how to make himself available and the game passes him by. It isn't a lack of will, fight, determination or whatever - he just doesn't yet know how to do it consistently. You can see much the same inexperience haunting all of our midfield at times. Not knowing which decision to make. Making wrong choices. It will come and they have all got better over the season but we just need a little more nous and understanding in that area.
Amos.
I've decided ian wright i a pri*k
Jaybods
We have been linked with Gary Cahill. He is a top quality defender. Believe me on that one. The 20 million price tag is a bit of bull crap from the papers. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/leagues/premierleague/arsenal/5311603/Arsenal-told-by-Bolton-Gary-Cahill-will-cost-20-million.html
Tom14
Villa didn't think Cahill was a top quality defender. He's too inexperienced for us and Djourou is a much better player all round. It's just Megson putting him a 'For Sale' sign on him.
Amos.
Amos, have you seen that lad play? I am telling you right now, he is better than Djourou. Sometimes it is not about being "all round", he is more dominant, more likely to nick a goal, just clears the ball and is as quick as you would expect your average center back to be. Sometimes we make excuses for the likes of Gallas and Toure because they are fast and skillful, fit into our style of play and whatever. Maybe we just need that dominant center back, like Campbell.
Tom14
To get the best out of Cahill we'd have to play like Bolton.
Amos.
I appreciate that, but what we have is not exactly working. i understand the midfield/defensive balance argument, but there is no guarantee that buying a top center back would be a bad thing.
Tom14
Buying a top centre back would be a great thing! But most 'out-and-out' stoppers would find life uncomfortable in our set up.
Amos.
Its all about Zapata. I think he would be a beast at Arsenal. I have seen him play 10+ times and he looks solid, take no prisoners tough mofo. Him and Gallas at the back would for me be one of the best defensive duos in the world. Also did you see that Diego has signed for juve for 22million. He is a quality player.
paul_ownz
Shame Gallas is off in the summer! And Cahill?! Do me a favour, yet more rejects, yet this time not from the champions, from a fifth placed team! Bramble looked amazing a few years back.
shewore
If we were to sign any CB's from the PL (that would be better, no bedding in time) then my vote would go to Lescott and Hangeland, both aggressive, big dominant, leaders who aren't afraid to get into peoples faces, score goals and are both comfortable in posession (not to the toure gallas level though). We do need a monster at CB and either of these chaps would fit the bill. What odds Wenger signing an experienced PL CB though? Two hopes? lol
LondonGooner
Hangeland looks like a monster but wouldn't come remotely cheap. Especially as Hodgson only signed him last summer.
shewore
I think Gallas will stay for one more season at least.
paul_ownz
Shewore, howsit fella? I agree he wouldn't be cheap, but then what ready made top notch CB's would? The last thing we need is an up and coming CB or a prospect (something we should not ignore) someone experienced, settled and commanding. I'm sure there are 100's out there that Wenger is aware of and we aren't. Money IS available, we have huge cash reserves (some for the loan guarantee) but it is (if they are good enough they will prosper with players to look up to and learn from) but because the team, fans and club demand progress....! Well I do anyway lol
LondonGooner
The thing is - just because next season these players will be *older* doesn't mean they will be *better*. Some of them have peaked or, to be blunt, ARE NOT GOOD ENOUGH. And all of them could seriously do with having some established and experienced pros in their positions to learn from. They will be more experienced sure, but so far all their experience adds up to medicority and an inability to get themselves over the line. Young players cannot learn from other young players.
Moorish
And Arsene's writing off of the FA Cup absolutely infuriates me. Winning that competition would've done wonders for the club, the fans *and* the players. Winning breeds winning. Leaving Arshavin out just because he wanted to prove a point (that the '08 Carling Cup team could beat Chelsea) was utterly ridiculous.
Moorish
Moorish - Couldn't agree more about the FA and its lack of value to Wenger. GG's side didn't do too badly after winning the league cup, the same for Fergusons team’s as well. It is insulting to all the great teams of the past that have won it and the fact we were one game away from Wembley against Everton and against a Chelsea team there for the taking. yet he bottled it, left Arshavin out of the starting 11 and played Nasri in CM, pretty **** attitude from Wenger. The players need a trophy as much as the fans and he needs to learn that and learn it bloody quick. We have already seen the disquiet going on at the Emirates in certain games this season and although it hasn't been a disaster by any means. The prices we pay are high, the quality we see, isn't. The fans will start making their voices heard if we watch another season get bottled at the last few hurdles due to lack of investment and blind faith in youngsters, many of whom don't quite cut the mustard.
LondonGooner
You have no way of knowing whether any of our young players have peaked - whether they will improve significantly or get worse even. That's a judgement only those at the club are in a position to make. We can all have our opinions but that's all they are. If they aren't improving then they'll go as they have done before. Ask Pennant/Bentley/Sidwell et al. The probability though is that the young players will get better and the more of them that stay together the more together the team will be.
Amos.
Although not his highest priority, i do believe he went for the FA cup this year. I think he got his tactics wrong and made a big mistake not starting Arshavin, but if he was not taking it seriously then why did he pick a full team. Adebayor, RVP, Fabregas, Walcott all started with Ade & RVP getting injured. I dont think it was clever to say its no important but i think this is him covering up the fact he made a mistake. That child mentality of losing and saying he didnt care anyway.
paul_ownz
Did he say the FA Cup was not important or just less important than trying to finish 3rd in PL or doing well in the CL? Would anyone really argue with that?
Amos.
Wenger threw away the FA Cup last season. This season, he took it more seriously (judging by his actions, not words), just that he got it wrong by not picking Arshavin. I'm sure he had his reasons, just another one of his misjudgments this season.
prits
Amos, he said: "For me there’s two trophies really. The Premiership and the Champions League." It's utterly mindboggling.
Moorish
I would think that's absolutely right. After the PL and the Cl the FA Cup would be 3rd in importance with the Carling Cup below that. You would always prioritise your PL position and CL positions above the FAC.
Amos.
Yes the top two are priorities but probably to say "For me there’s two trophies really" a week after being knocked out against Chelsea may not the best choice words. For disgruntled fans it sounds like he is not interested in the FA cup rather than say it is 3rd on the priority list. However i think he put his best team out against Chelsea to win.
paul_ownz
That doesn't really address the Arhsavin question though, does it? he's CL ineligible, so he wasn't being rested for anything. Why didn't we play him in the FA Cup semi? You might say it was because Arsene wanted to push for 3rd place but, let's be honest, that was a pipe dream. Arsene talks about the FA Cup as if it were not worthy of the full focus of his team. But I think that's totally wrong. It might be 3rd in importance but it's not UNimportant. It's not the Beer Cup. Had we played at our full strength against Chelsea we might have gotten something, and had a final to look forward to after this endless week of eating s**t sandwiches. Then a victory against Everton and suddenly this season is a success. Instead of another frustrating failure.
Moorish
The reason for it might have been that Chelsea are a tall, powerfull physically strong team and that Diaby offered more to counteract that side of their game than Arshavin could or would - especially if we wanted to use Walcott as well. Despite the popular opnion we'll never know if it was right or wrong. We could have fielded Arshavin and been beaten more readily. It's a knockout competition. Things happen which is why ManU are also not playing the final.
Amos.
Whatever happened to playing to your own strengthas and letting others worry about us? Liverpool are a physical team yet he didn't drop Arshavin for that game? No excuses, Wenger made a boob with that one and played Diaby and Nasri in wrong positions was an inexcusable mistake. Who can admit that when they saw that starting line up against Chelsea on the screen they didn't groan and fear the worst....? I did. The oldest rule in football, you play your best team for the biggest games, clearly the FA cup doesn't count anymore for Wenger, shame as I won't now be purchasing any tickets for FA cup games if the club cannot be bothered with it.
LondonGooner
I would, without any question, be happier at finishing 5th and winning the FA Cup than finishing 3rd and qualifying for the CL after another season of winning eff all. And i don't know many supporters that'd think different...surely?
shewore
And by the way, my ST's about £200 dearer this year cos of FA Cup games, but it's alright, they don't matter.
shewore
Im not sure if id sooner have FA cup trophy over CL next year. I do like the buzz of the CL and would probably miss it come tuesday when the rest are in it. My season tickest up because if too, and the worst is they make you pay it all by june 1st.
paul_ownz
Winning the FA Cup might put a bit of glitz on the season but if you have to sacrifice CL qualification for it then it's just not worth it. The financial difference between winning the FAC and simply qualifying and competing in the CL is far too great.
Amos.
Ridiculous. we're a football club, first and foremost. You sound like an investor who just wants fiscal returns instead of trophies.
shewore
The trophies won't come without the financial returns. ManU and Chelsea wouldn't be where they if they hadn't spent hundreds of millions more than we have over the last 10 and 5 years respectively. Your notion is romantic but ultimately self defeating.
Amos.
Yep - let's remove all the romance from the game, make it devoid of any form of emotion, strictly a business. Who cares about trophies when we can guarantee another 10m per year if we finish fourth eh. Wonder how the club would put that on our boards? ''2008/09 - Qualified for CL''
shewore
I don't think Arsene sacrificed the FA Cup, we still had a really strong team out there, its just that the decision back-fired on the day. Although it was always going to be difficult, it was worth trying to go for 3rd spot this because of the possible tough tie in the qualifying round. The one thing finishing 4th may ensure though is for Arsene to definitely strengthen the team in the summer so as to give us the best possible chance of actually qualifying.
Gooner_Vin
I think that the average gain (factoring in all benefits) for getting through to the knockout stages of the CL is about £30m+ according to a recent Mastercard survey. You can regret, as I do, the way that football has gone but the reality is that you would be even more discontented were we more financially disadvantaged compared to the other 3 big clubs. The reality is that continuous entry into the CL is what has helped to bring us to the point where 4th place is a huge disappointment. The domestic trophies are all well and good but worth little really. It's amusing seeing the Spuds celebrate their CC triumph but nobody outside of them takes it seriously.
Amos.
'Worth little really' losing to Chelsea in the Semis hurt a ridiculous amount, nearly as much as the CL those years back, they're not worth 'very little' to the thousands that follow Arsenal up and down the country mate, that view smacks of arrogance and Wenger's that there are only '2 competitions'.
shewore
The Beer Cup is NOT the same as the FA Cup. I agree that finishing in the top 4 is vital, but Arsene's bizarre selections against Chelsea in the semi basically threw away what was our most realistic chance of silverware. We could've been 4th (which we were only ever gonna be - third, dream on) *and* had a final to look forward to, *and* allowed these players to build confidence by winning the oldest and greatest cup competition in the world. All they feel now is what everyone else does - as things stand they as a team are not good enough.
Moorish
I am also one of those thousands that follow Arsenal and have done for a long time. Losing to the Spuds in the CC last season hurt too but other than a little injured pride it wasn't a big deal really. It's all relative. The domestic cups are important - just not as important as our league position and going as far as we can in the CL that's all. Wenger may have made a mistake leaving out Arshavin he may not - we'll never know for sure whatever the popular view might be. Sure it's disappointing to get knocked out of a knockout competition but there aren't any guarantees whoever is playing.
Amos.
Amos your wasting your time mate take your head and bash it against the wall they wont listen to commonsense. I wait until next year or the year after because I like you know we will be winning all the silverware around. What will the doubters want then?
alwaysgunner
Alwaysgunner what were you saying 4 years ago? Exactly the same? Perhaps we should all be lemmings and not question anything the club does.
shewore
Its not ony a question of silverware, ag. Frankly, I want to be entertained, and I want the team to show progress with every season. Ask yourself - has this team improved from last season? IMO, the honest answer is NO. The thing is - the manager could have handled it differently to improve thiings. For that, criticism of Wenger is justified. Not picking Arshaving in the FA Cup, for eg. He wanted to prove a point that a team without Arshavin could handle ManU in the CL if the same team beat Chelsea in the FA Cup. Too high a risk IMO, and completely unnecessary. Why is expressing that opinion over the top?
prits
shewore the same as i was saying 62 years ago, and will be saying till I have to give up this planet earth suit. I live in a different space to others and have never been without my rose coloured glasses except for once when Gordon Banks was in goal for Stoke and it looked as if we were going out of the FA cup, that is the one and only time I have walked away thinking we never stood a chance. prits on the face of it you are right but you must think how many players have been missing over the season, what would have happen if the had all been fit? i dont think you should not give your opinion which on the whole are informative and to the point, but having said that you must acknowledge the facts as presented by Amos and give value to them; IMO. s
alwaysgunner
 

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