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Who Should Replace Wenger, And When?

First let's look at who should replace him. There are myriad candidates who would take the job, not as many who are capable. There's some guy in Germany whose name I can't recall - Klopp? He's done a great job at B. Dortmund. There's Pep Guardiola, but his fame is based on managing a perfect storm of fantastic youth players growing up at the same time and the money to buy the world's best to fill the holes. We don't have the first and won't do the latter. Slavin Bilic's name has been tossed around, and while I am not familiar with the Russian League his first season at Lokomotiv Moscow (and at club level in ten years) has his club 14 points behind the leaders after 15 games - like Wenger in a way, 11 off the lead after ten games. David Moyes is flying high with Everton, and there's a guy who REALLY has to watch his spending, no £70m unspent war chest up there. I listened to the Talkshite interview with Piers Morgan - yeah, grain of salt - and he suggested Harry Redknapp, not the best manager but somebody who could motivate the laze group that wears the red and white at the moment. Obviously that's a stupid idea, and we wouldn't expect anything else from Piers (although to give credit where it is due, he has probably raised the profile of Arsenal in North America a lot more than Ivan Gazidis). My choices would be Pep if we were going to open the purse strings, Moyesy if we aren't.

The second question - when do we replace Arsene Wenger? It's easy to get emotional and knee-jerk when you go through a bad patch like we have for the past month or so. But hell, this bad patch is more like four years. Pre-Abramovic and Sheikh Mansour, Arsene went toe-to-toe with Fergie every year. Yes, the landscape has changed, but so has our income with the new stadium. Qualifying for the Champions League doesn't mean shit unless you a) win it or b) spend the money it earned you. We came close to winning it once but have never spent the money. Arsene is letting the supporters down - he has money to spend, apparently - but continues to sell our two best players every year and bring in inferior replacements. If we were still at Highbury and had 1/3 the matchday revenue we have now, whatever. But it seems like the bottom line is all that matters now (obviously, long term success is based on long term financial prudence. I'm not saying spend willy-nilly with no concern for being a sound financial entity. On the other hand, we could bring in Neymar for £50m on huge wages and sell him for double that in two years to Real Madrid and maybe win something with him). Yes, I know I might seem I am contradicting myself by saying buy somebody short term to win and then sell for a profit. But that's business. You just buy somebody else, better. And that's my problem with Arsene - he has sold many world class players, and bought a few too in hindsight. I don't expect him to buy like-for-like, and I do like the players he bought in the summer, but Giroud is no Henry or van Persie and Arteta is no Vieira or Fabregas.

I digress. The time to get rid of Arsene is now. Sure, he'll buy an Arshavin in January like he did a few years ago when we were behind Villa just to make sure we finish in the top four. So what. After Abramovic realised he had a brain-dead manager and fired him (and it is only the incompetence of Villas-Boas that makes me think we might finish in the top four), yeah, United, City, and Chelsea are top three for the foreseeable future. We will never get automatic CL qualification again under this manager.

It's like dating. 'I've been with this woman for sixteen years, it's all nice and comfortable, but it's just not working anymore'. So what do you do - stay with the familiar or take your chances with somebody new. In Arsenal history Wenger is second only to Herbert Chapman, but I say pffft, beat it Arsene, we need a new man for the new era.

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The Journalist

Writer: elbondo Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday November 13 2012

Time: 7:11AM

Your Comments

Wow. Pretty ruthless Elbondo! I must say it is starting to wear thin. Nothing has changed in the last four years, we're stuck in a rut, same results, same mistakes on field, same mistake off field, losing our best players. It's getting old to say the least. I guess I'm a little more sentimental than you because I'm struggling with my inner turmoil over Wenger, but if Guardiola was willing to come to Arsenal I would be very tempted to go all Jean Luc Picard on your asses and say "make it so!".
It's a tricky one. Wenger is still, regardless of the maelstrom of strong feeling at the moment, highly regarded. No other club in our position would go 2-0 down at Old Trafford and chant about the CEO. Every change people have asked for has happened. We have a new assistant manager. We have a new owner. We have a new CEO. We have a completely new playing staff compared to 2008. All these ways of deflecting blame away from AW have happened. There is only one constant. Ultimately, for me, it comes down to this. If you are unhappy with where Arsenal are at the moment and think it should be changed, then it's the manager that you really want to be changing. I'm undecided myself, I don't think a thing will change under AW, that much is clear. I don't buy the 2014 pot of gold at the end of the rainbow because we already have plenty of cash we don't spend year on year, so I'm not sure I believe he's gonna start flexing his muscles in 2014. I find it hard to get distance and perspective as to whether we're where we should be, overachieveing or underachieveing. I just don't know and I don't think I will until the next manager comes in- whenever that is- and we assess his performance under similar conditions. I'm also not really sure I trust Gazidis and Kroenke to come up with a good replacement. Good businessmen they may be, but I doubt their football knowledge for such a decision.
Little Dutch
The major factors that have to change in order to change our fortunes are all more external than internal. In order to best City, Chelsea and ManU consistently we have to consistently spend more money than they do. It's that simple. Bringing in someone else in the hope that he'll be able to spend for one year but without the same ability to generate his own funds will eventually have less to spend in relative terms is pretty well guaranteed to fail. Whoever comes in at present will still only be able to buy the players City and Chavs (or Barca & Real) don't want until football rebalances itself. Can he do more with such a group of players? Maybe, maybe not, but while I'm all for bringing someone better in, on any rational analysis any of the names mentioned would just be change for change's sake. Maybe that's what we need but without any other changes don't expect to be any happier.
I see your point, Amos, but I look at United and their squad last year that almost took them to a whisker of the title and really apart from Rooney and Vidic (mostly injured) who of their squad last year can really be called truly world-class? And even Rooney is only really world-class in the PL (if that makes any sense). For me, AW's time has run its course and for whatever reason he's not able to take the next step forward he so desperately wants. AW's magic used to be finding unpolished gems and turning them into stars but recently his transfer record hasn't been that great. The fact that on our books we've still got the likes of Squillaci, Bendtner and Denilson, we have two largely unused 1st team squad players in Chamakh and Arshavin, then the forever injured Rosicky and Diaby, and then average players like Gervinho and Ramsey, is all down to AW's mistakes in my opinion. Perhaps he's just become too ingrained into the Club and both parties could do with a break. I read recent Graham Hunter's book on Barcelona and everything about Pep Guardiola really impresses me, from his sheer drive to his attention to detail. According to Guillem Balague he isn't one to be motivated just by money, he wants the right project. Whilst we don't have the spending powers of the others, being in London and having a not to dissimilar style of play to Barca may tempt him. My feeling is it's almost a once in a lifetime chance to get one of the world's highest regarded managers and we should go all out to get him.
Itís probably a case of whether you believe someone else can get more out of our resources. I think the frustration for most is that they realise we canít compete with the likes of Chelsea and City. But we leave vast sums unspent and handicap ourselves even further. I definitely donít think Arsenal try to win the league in any serious way. I think we aim for fourth. Iím not saying we should win the league, but I think we could be doing more to compete within our resources.
Little Dutch
Wenger bought plenty of fool's gold along with the diamonds when we were winning things too Malz, Jeffers, Stepanovs et al. Nothings changed there except that we now have to compete with clubs that are willing to pay more for those good players that are around as well as those we unearth. He'll still come up with players like Cazorla occasionally though. It maybe that Wenger's time is running its course. Frustrations grow when expectations haven't been met and pressure grows until something gives or the pressure is released. But if nothing else changes, expecting Guardiola to do better than City and Chavs consistently without outspending or at the least matching their player budget spend consistently is just fanciful dreaming. He'll have exactly the same problems Wenger has unless the landscape changes. ManU have benefited from being able to maintain a consistent squad with few coveting many of their players apart from Rooney. It's getting harder for them to compete as time goes on too though they have enough resources to maintain a standard for the present.
Spending our entire cash reserves wouldn't guarantee that we'd end up any higher than we had in the last 6 or 7 years. In fact while it might have made 3 or 4 th more comfortable for a season or so the resulting amortisation charges and consequent restrictions on player budgets would have made the seasons after that much less comfortable. For us to compete much better than we have done the competition will have to change. Until then changing managers is just chasing rainbows.
"My feeling is it's almost a once in a lifetime chance to get one of the world's highest regarded managers and we should go all out to get him" - we already have one of the world's finest. To boot him out in a childish strop because we haven't won anything for a few years - in a league that includes two lottery-winning teams - would be ridiculous, and we would regret it. "I definitely donít think Arsenal try to win the league in any serious way" - riiiight. The management, squad and manager are satisfied with not winning. Life is short and you only get a limited time to make your mark; but they're deliberately running at 80% because they want to finish fourth, but definitely don't want to win anything. Sweet Mary....
Some people find reason frustrating others are frustrated by the lack of it. Sure we all know the dice are heavily loaded but if we can just find some one who can roll them better then they're bound to land the way we want them to. That's perfectly reasonable surely?
Yeah, if we knew of a better gambler/dice-roller, that we knew could do a better job - lovely. As it is, we have one the most highly-respected managers in the world, and the best manager in our history, at our club. If we could get a 40-year-old Fergie, or Mourinho + £2billion, that would probably be worth taking a punt on. Pep - lovely though he is - was in a set of special circumstances at Barca, with the world's best player up-front and a big chunk of the most successful national team in history, the Catalan mentality, and so on. To expect him to do a better job than Arsene, in a league he has no knowledge of, is... well, pick your own adjective.
I donít honestly believe a team that tries to win the league sells Alex Song and replaces him with a hopeful punt on the fitness of Abou Diaby. I donít think a club that tries to win the league answers the loss of Robin van Persie with Gervinho as a centre forward in the hope that it might work out. I donít think a club that tries to win the league hangs on to two back up keepers it was willing to give away in the hope that they might work out. If somebody had told you in 2009 that, come late 2012, we would be lamenting injuries to Rosicky, Diaby and Gibbs because they are key players for us, how would you honestly have reacted? I donít believe a club that tries to win the league has a huge chunk of players that the manager doesnít rate still regularly sitting on the bench. I really fail to see the evidence to suggest that Arsenal really try to push on for first place, hence the, ďjust wait till 2014Ē rhetoric. The club have put themselves under enormous pressure both to spend and deliver in 2014.
Little Dutch
LD, that's a little bit facetious... we sold Song and bought Cazorla (not the same 'type' of player, but arguably equal quality (at least)). We sold RvP and bought Podolski and Giroud - not Gervinho (although I accept he has filled-in up-front - albeit only twice, I think!). Which backup 'keepers are you talking about? Because I remember Szczensy being a backup 'keeper not so long ago, and hearing on here that he will never be good enough.

"If somebody had told you... we would be lamenting injuries to Rosicky, Diaby and Gibbs because they are key players for us, how would you honestly have reacted?" - I'm not sure what you're asking exactly, but if someone said 'your key players are injured', I'd react 'shame, we need them'. However in 2009, I believe most people were of the opinion that Gibbs, Rosicky and Diaby were simply not good enough for Arsenal (fitness aside) and should be got rid of; so another example of why I'm pleased not to be part of the salivating, outraged masses. "I donít believe a club that tries to win the league has a huge chunk of players that the manager doesnít rate still regularly sitting on the bench." - City? Did they rate Bridge, Bellamy and Adebayor (bought for shedloads of money but farmed out to other clubs because they don't rate them highly enough any more to register them in their squad). I don't they'd be on our bench if AW didn't rate them; do you mean people like Chamakh (dragged on the other day and scored 2 goals - miracles do happen!)?

I'd put it to you the other way; where's the evidence that these proud, professional men with a passion for - indeed, a life in - football are not 'really trying'? Is 'really trying' spending £200m? I don't think so. It's just patently ridiculous to say they're not trying; asking why they don't invest more money would be a reasonable question, although I suspect we all know the answers to that.
Were we trying any harder to win the league when he had Song then? If we'd sold RvP a season or two back because he was perennially injured would we have been trying harder to win the league then? No doubt tactically we will have got things wrong often enough but not to the extent that it would have changed the reality. I think the club has a strategy for winning the league but tactically that also means accepting that under present conditions it is probably unwinnable (though we can all dream) for any other than the 3 teams that have consistently finished above us in recent seasons. I think you also misrepresent the 2014 issue. What is clear is that our sponsorship revenues should increase then in greater proportion than our domestic rivals. At the same time over the seasons that follow their current level of overspending should be inhibited by rule changes to bring a greater degree of financial equilibrium to the league. So to claim that everything is immediately going to be all right in 2014 exaggerates the position the club is in but that the league is likely to be more increasingly more winnable after then is a reasoned judgement.
the late great bill shankley once said, after liverpool had lost at home in the fa cup , at 3pm on asaturday, i field a team of 11 players most of them internationals, who are supposed to be at the top of their game, and who should be proud to wear the liverpool shirt. if at 3.15 those 11 players decide they dont want to play to their ability, then there is nothing i or any other manager can do about it.!!!!!
cornish gooner
Despite my frustration at the lack of success in recent seasons and the fact we don't seem to improving, I can't blame it on AW. He is still doing an exceptional job with the resources he has at his disposal. Someone mentioned Man Utd have been able to compete with the 2 lottery chavs from Manchester and London as proof that AW is not doing enough. Two reasons.. United still have a much greater income than us due to their much greater commercial revenue and can therefore pay higher wages and also in Fergie they have one of the greatest managers of all time. AW has made mistakes, I'm not too fond of his wage policy where all players earn similar sums for example (but they are correcting this I believe). For me he has done enough in recent seasons to keep his job and deserves the fans patience until at least 2014. I can understand everyones frustrations but I can't see any candidates out there that would do a better job. If things don't improve after FFP kicks in then it would be worth having this discussion but not until then.
when we sold fab & nasri we bought park, arteta, ox, jenkinson, gervinho, santos & bfg. when we sold rvp, we bought carzola, giraud & podolski. it was baffling that we were willing to increase our overall wage bills (and dilute the team's quality) just to avoid breaking our wage ceiling on quality individual players (apart from fab who left for other reason). as long as our flat wage structure remains, nothing will change
Cazorla was Fabregas' replacement a year after we sold Cesc (hence why we tried to buy Cazorla a year earlier). I don't see how Podolski is a replacement for van Persie when he has played a grand total of 60 minutes upfront. Gervinho is our 2nd choice striker, Chamakh 3rd. I think you're inventing arguments with regards to Szczesny. I don't recall anyone on here saying he wasn't good enough and if they were, it didn't come from me. I think you have somewhat dodged the Rosicky, Gibbs and Diaby question. My point is, if you'd been told we were still relying on their fitness in 2009, how would you have reacted? Chamakh wasn't "dragged on" he started against Reading and has not played a single second since. Arshavin has totalled 17 minutes since the Reading game. Schalke got a grip of the game in Germany after about 35 minutes. When did our first substitution arrive? 89 minutes. Is that a man who trusts his subs? I didn't say the players weren't trying, the players are. They're just quite a way short of what's above them. I said the club were aiming for top 4 as a ceiling. Not everyone that has a different opinion to you is part of the "froth mouthed masses" either just as a side point.
Little Dutch
ďWere we trying harder to win the league with Song.Ē Not really what I meant. I donít really see how selling a member of your first XI and buying no kind of replacement represents an assertive strategy. Losing Anelka and buying Henry and Suker (having acquired Kanu and Diawara a few months earlier) represented a team looking to plug something theyíd lost and even better themselves. Losing Overmars and going out and getting Pires was a club that lost a key player and showed a determination to replace with similar (better ultimately) quality. Knowing Lee Dixon is on his last legs and going out and getting Lauren. None of the aforementioned players were beyond our reach, all were acquired within our resources as a result of Wenger spotting talented players that better resourced clubs (Madrid, Barca, United, Milan) at the time werenít after. Honestly, I do accept the change in competition and the landscape (though our wage gap has closed on United big time in the last 3 years, and weíre getting further away from them on the pitch). But thereís been a seismic shift. Losing Lehmann and just kinda hoping Almunia works out. Losing Vieira and Edu in the same summer and hoping that a young Fabregas could fill two holes on his own. Losing Diarra, Gilberto and Flamini in one summer and pinning it all on Denilson to pick up the slack. Thereís just so many ďmake do and mendĒ examples. My fear is that this year I really think we will finish 5th when using a bit of that rainy day money (and I didnít say all of it, that would be stupid, but £70m can get you one very good player or two decent ones with plenty leftover) might have just made the difference and seen us stay in the top 4 rather more comfortably. It would be easy for United to turn around and say, ďBalls to this, we canít compete with City and Chelsea financially, letís just make sure we finish 3rd or 4th then.Ē But they donít, they strive to compete and, even though last season they were trophyless, (only just) they achieved that top 4 objective without it being any sort of issue. I think Wenger is a good enough manager to aim for the stars and hit the roof trying without bankrupting anyone. But I donít think he does. I get the impression that he plays within himself management wise nowadays.
Little Dutch
The only thing I can add is that Wenger is the last person with any influence at Arsenal who actually cares. That doesn't make him the right man for the job and I think his time is over and has been for at least four years but we should realise that all other key figures at our club don't give a damn, they wouldn't think twice about signing any two bit careerist manager in replacement. Kroenke and his clan are incapable of doing the right thing for Arsenal because they don't actually care, they won't hire Guardiola, they will go the cheap route, try to hire a Wenger clone at get it spectacularly wrong. At that point we will not only have a manager who continues to spunk away every precious moment of our finite life as a fan but also a manager who couldn't give a *****.
Professor Calculus
Giroud is no Henry or van Persie: How do you know? and Arteta is no Vieira or Fabregas: But what is Jack Wilshire? Cazorla?
We already had Song's replacement in Arteta (actually an upgrade in his perceived role) so I don't see his sale as indicating any lack of desire to try to win something. Most of your examples of our previous replacement strategy pre-date Abramovich/Mansour as well as the changes in player contract law. Would we have been able to acquire and retain the same players with the same difference in resources that exist now? Or would we have had to try harder back then? It's not possible to aim to be fourth (or any specific place other than first). You can only aim to finish as high as possible and hope that's first place but ultimately settle for whatever a combination of your ability, resources, the competitive environment and simple twists of fate produces. The differences are too fine and where we finish (or any of the competition finishes) in the league is usually determined by the outcome of 4 or 5 games in a 38 game season. Have a extraordinarily settled first team as we did in the injury shy 2004 season and anything is possible. Similarly the opposite can confound the greatest ambition but to claim that the club isn't trying is to show little or no real understanding of the circumstances or the reality of recent times. I've nothing against replacing Wenger, any board member or any player but other than change for changes sake there's little in the way of cogent argument to support the contention that anything will change while the competitive environment remains unchanged.
''But thereís been a seismic shift. Losing Lehmann and just kinda hoping Almunia works out. Losing Vieira and Edu in the same summer and hoping that a young Fabregas could fill two holes on his own. Losing Diarra, Gilberto and Flamini in one summer and pinning it all on Denilson to pick up the slack.'' - This is right, but, who else was available at the time? Looking at the transfers this summer as an example, cannot see any RVP replacements that would have gone to us over city, chelsea, real, barca :(
O.K. We had Song's replacement in Arteta. So who's replacing Arteta from last season? I don't see how the changes ion contract law aided us in acquiring Henry for instance, who had been at Juve 6 months, or Wiltord, who was on a secure contract at Bordeaux. Or Lauren from Mallorca. I mean, if Lauren was around now, would Chelsea and Citeh be trying to buy him from Mallorca? One can only speculate but I doubt it. Arsene used to have such a good eye for a player that the biggest clubs didn't see. Is he not trying to get those players anymore or is he incapable? I look at what we've signed in the last 4 years and very few make me think, "What a find he was" or "That's the sort of player that improves the squad." For the most part, they've been ok but not great acquisitions such as Gervinho, Vermaelen, Arshavin (great for 6 months, average thereafter), interspersed with mistakes that are much more expensive. The likes of Malz and Inamoto, Stepanovs etc were cheap buys that weren't really meant to be much more than squad players. Nowadays, the same sort of player in the 2012 squad is unshiftable due to bad judgement from the manager. They weren't bought to be squad filler, it's just they weren't good enough to be first team players, but they're on first team wages. There's the occasional top level signing- Cazorla, Arteta- but there are just as many Squillacis and Chamakhs. Like I say, not sure I advocate a change in management, but questions can certainly be asked of Arsene at the moment. More than ever.
Little Dutch
For instance, even though the players are changing, the same bat***** mental mistakes and propensity towards self destruction remains. Even though now we have an older, more experienced squad than, say, 2009, that suicidal tendency is still apparent in even the most experienced and assured player. Regardless of what we do in the market, questions have to be asked with regards to the coaching.
Little Dutch
Take your pick as to who's replacing Arteta from last season. We're not short of midfielders but maybe we are of those that can do a defensive job. If Song had stayed I don't think he'd have been an adequate replacement for anyone other than himself in that role. Clearly Wenger was looking for someone else though as the reported interest in Sahin suggests. In the event a suitable player for whatever reason wasn't available (or maybe one will become available in january or next summer and he's keeping his powder dry who knows?). The changes in contract law wouldn't have aided us in acquiring Henry but we would have found more competition for his signature now whether acquiring or retaining him. Player contract law now makes that much harder. Also Wenger has spoken in the past of how the scouting systems of all clubs have exploded exponentially since he first came here. Assuming that circumstances now would allow us as much of a free rein as we had then is to ignore the changes that have taken place. The reason that players are harder to shift now is partly due to the introduction of the 6+5 rule, partly the restrictions on squad sizes and compositions, and largely due to the explosin in wages brought about by the distortions of Abramovich and Mansour. It's a problem for more clubs than just us. It's right to ask questions of everyone at the club but equally it's right to question whether your own views take full account of the changes in the operating environment over the last decade. In too many cases that just isn't as searching or as understanding as it should be.
I think we definitely lack midfielders that can do the defensive side and if we were to let Song go- which would be fine with me, make damn sure you can replace. If Arteta gets a long term injury, I think we're in big trouble myself. As it is he had a bit of a mare on Saturday probably because he has to play every single game right now. That takes it toll. Maybe I overrate Wenger by setting the bar for himn alongside Ferguson. Arsenal's wage bill is now within 12% of United's, which is closer than it's been for eons and yet we're further away from them on the pitch than we've been for eons too. I know United's resources are bigger than ours, but relative to City and Chelsea they're in pretty much the same boat, facing the same challenges. They're a galaxy away from either in terms of resources but they don't let it affect them the same way we seem to. I don't have any truck with the players we've lost over the last few years, I understand why they've all happened and don't feel too sore about it. But the lack of assertiveness in replacing, or trying to replace, that irks. Our manager and CEO are the highest paid in their respective fields in the league, so it seems we can pay a decent wage.
Little Dutch
I should state that, as Mancini signed a new contract in the summer, Wenger is now second best paid manager.
Little Dutch
Have to agree with all the points that LD has made. As I said in my post above, last season's Man Utd side had a lot of very good players but only perhaps two you could arguably call world-class and they only just lost the title. They also have their fair share of injuries and yet manage to get results with their squad players, something we're clearly unable to do even if they are played. That isn't entirely explained by the external competitive environment.
I will hold back (barely) from suggesting Wenger's time is up only because of the respect I have for the man and what he's done for the club and English football, in general. I also looked forward to the time we would get a good replacement for him, at a time of his choosing, while he goes upstairs to remain and guide the new man on the ethos of the club, amongst other things. But it is worrisome that the players appear not to respond to him much, these days. Could that be down to how easy he takes things with them or the fact that he still defends them and 'takes positives' from performances, even when the team has had a stinker of a performance? Perhaps, they don't believe in his methods or he appears to be telling them the wrong things, especially when the games are Big with the spotlight on Arsenal. Then, this has become a recurring problem over the last 4 years. The loss of one key player after the other does something to the players left behind, including making them question their judgment and of course, they look up to those who leave (the reason Santos would accept the Dutch man's jersey at half time). If and when it is time for Wenger to go, I would like to have a man like Pep taking over the reigns and if he can have the same fire in the belly we have seen him show at Barca, he will succeed at this club, simply because the players will want to play for him; something they appear not to be doing for Arsene, at the moment.
I think ManU are finding it increasingly harder too but they benefit at present from a more settled, less disrupted side. They have held onto some players better than we've been able to partly due to their success (though that didn't prevent them losing Ronaldo) partly because they've recruited more expensive domestic based players (not quite the number of imports we've relied on) and partly because they've enjoyed bigger revenues and therefore bigger player budgets (wages plus transfer fees) than we have had available to us. But if ManU were the only club we had to contend with I'm sure we'd have enjoyed far more success over the last 7 years. External reasons have been the biggest single factor in determining the level of success we've been able to enjoy far more so than the claim that we're not even trying.
Man Utd players have balls. Fergie is not ok with half assed performances. He knows how to motivate them. Wenger has lost the respect of the squad and is also too soft, how else can he be happy with what he sees on the pitch.
Gooner_Vin did allude to something that I have admired about Old red nose for a while, but won't admit to the next United fan and that is how he isn't afraid to use his squad and nearly always gets the (same) result. Why is he able to talk up his fringe players' qualities just in time for when he intends to use the one and the player responds; while Wenger isn't able to get a performance out of his fringe players, even when he talks up the player? Hernandez is a case in point. Fergie stated a day before the weekend game versus Villa how he expects the lad to reach 20 goals in the season and he went on to score 2(3, if you add the deflected shot). Wenger has the same luxury of fairly useful players in his squad but doesn't use them enough, making them rusty when they get called into action, during a match. Personally, I don't think United are better than Arsenal, man for man, but our guys seem to lack belief and someone is responsible for inspiring them, no? That's what I have against Wenger. He has to stop making excuses for his side and allow them take their collective destiny in their own hands for a change.
My question is how did the wage bill go up so high in the last 4-5 years ? I do think AW made a mistake of paying a lot of young players quite high wages . But it was a double edged sword. Because we wanted to do an Ajax by having young players grow together and winning things together , we were treating our young players as our 1st team players .So we paid them big wages . Now our problem is we aren't able to shift them to other clubs Lets take for example Theo Walcott. Compared to Arsene's high standards , Walcott was one of the most mediocre players when he started playing for us . He has improved well no doubt but doesn't convince me that he'll ever be world class . £100k/week in terms of Arsenal is a world class salary for footballers. The few players we paid that money were Cesc, Henry, Sol, perhaps Vieira and Pires.All of them were genuine world class players Now because Walcott's form is so good and the rest of the team ain't clicking well , it comes across as he is the best player in the team and hence we should bow down to his demands. I am not saying we shouldn't adjust to the inflated market rates but it doesn't mean we start overpaying players too. Relying on Diaby,Rosicky and Wilshere to stay fit and find form was always going to be a massive risk. It is a poor decision from Arsene. One doesn't need money to motivate your team in the Carling Cup final . I saw the match live and Birmingham seemed more pumped up for it while ours except for Jack and a couple of others didn't. We don't need big money to beat the likes of Norwich. I don't want AW to be fired . The man has done so much for the club and deserves to be treated with more dignity. But his position must be considered. Honestly which fan wouldn't be infuriated if you hear him say that they "underestimated" Norwich? We got through past Reading in the League cup through willpower and hard work . But we shouldn't even be in a position where we are 4-1 down against a Reading side in the first place. Our team are committing the same mistakes every season regardless of changes in personnel. I don't want AW to go/leave before his contract but I do want him to be flexible and motivate our players better People are not understanding that despite our good performance in the 2nd half of the previous season , we were lucky to get 3rd . Spurs screwed up despite being ahead of us and Chelsea had a managerial crisis. The fact that despite going ahead of Spurs, we had to leave it till the last game of the season for that 3rd place is telling. The club accounts tell us that there is money to spend . Arsene is conservative about spending big money on players. Now I know Arsene is very stubborn , but I don't want to believe that he really doesn't want to spend the money earned through legitimate means on buying that player who would give us a boost and make us compete for the title . As Scott Davis said on twitter the other day , we are the ones who don't want to give ourselves a chance to compete.
It's not so much a case of "Arsenal don't try" it's a case of "do Arsenal do the maximum" and I think the answer there is no.
Little Dutch
I'm not sure what the maximum would be but if it falls a long way short of what City, Chelsea and ManU are able to do it's almost certainly not going to be enough. They probably feel they do what they can consider the maximum consistent with being able to retain the ability to continue to mount a challenge over the long term. For many supporters the maximum wouldn't be anything less than putting pretty nearly everything on the current seasons challenge. Pragmatism is tedious and frustrating but usually pays out eventually. Chasing rainbows is more fun though always a fruitless pursuit.
For me we're in a catch-22 situation. I don't think there's an easy solution to this at all. There are risks either way. For me it's clear that AW will never again win a trophy (very happy to be wrong). I find his approach to coaching & managing inadequate to the modern game. Opponents no longer fear us--and the same old problems recur every season regardless of personnel. It simply doesn't matter what players we have. Yet AW has enormous experience & understanding--and it's that experience that keeps us finishing in the top 4 every year and being in the CL every year despite many tough obstacles--including obstacles of his own making. Right now we're fighting for 4th. Look at the rival managers who are also aiming for 4th. Out of tall of them--which one would any objective, neutral, pragmatic observer bet on finishing 4th solely due to his experience? There's only one answer to that question. And yes, I know it's very possible that AW may not be able to achieve that miracle every season--that he may well fail this season in fact.
A couple of things for me. 'Opponents no longer fear us--and the same old problems recur every season regardless of personnel. It simply doesn't matter what players we have." Individual performance is one, I'd argue small, element of overall team performance. Team performance is driven by good tactics, the right players and the squad's stability and understanding of the tactics. Of course we get the same problems every year, it is BECAUSE we churn players. Ferguson understood this and kept Giggs and un-retired Scholes. They had been outstanding players, even if now off the pace, but more importantly the provided consistency, stability and maturity to the new, young midfield. The changes in the football landscape are a significant contributor to our present place in the hierarchy. My view is that, rather than spend large chunks of money on new players, we should fire sale those we don't won't to make salary room available and then buy one or two better players in the positions we need them.
The competitive environment is one factor, but that's all it is; itís not the entire cause. It doesnít cause our goals conceded column to reach 49 last season and our general defensive weaknesses of the past few seasons. It isnít the reason why a player like Alex Song didnít do a good enough job defensively and was more interested in going forward. It doesnít explain the now regular implosions we suffer. It wasnít the reason why we went to Old Trafford last season with a depleted squad and insisted on playing 433 and then got mauled. Iím afraid itís as much down to AW as the competitive environment. No, we may not have won anything, but we may have finished closer than 30 points off the top or been able to beat a poor Birmingham City side in the Carling Cup Final.
I suppose thatís the thing, at the risk of sounding spoiled, there is a ďgood 3rdĒ and a ďless good 3rdĒ. Last season, Chelseaís pre occupation with the Champions League was quite a unique situation that kept them out of league competition with us. 2007-08 we finished 4 points off the top in 3rd. 2009-10 we finished 11 points off the top and were a dark horse for the title race. (In reality we were involved in the title race until a late collapse). Last year we were 19 points away and I wouldnít lay down any money on that gap even being the same, let alone smaller come May.
Little Dutch
It's the biggest single factor by some distance. There are other factors as I'd alluded to in other posts but they're dwarfed by what has happened to the contest here over the last decade. Of course the competitive environment has a direct impact on our goals against column though it might not explain the loss of the CC final to Birmingham anymore than it offers an explanation for our defeat by then 3rd division Swindon in 1969. Ultimately the performance of the team is down to the manager and quite rightly too but you have to ask yourself whether any new manager could really be expected to change anything and if so whether the things he can change are significant enough to overcome the current competitive environment. It's a question that other teams like Spurs and Liverpool have been searching for answers to for a few years as well. As both have won a CC in recent years (but sacked the managers for doing so) maybe their supporters are happier than ours though I think we're closer to the long term solution than most others. If nothing else changes changing managers is almost certainly bound to disappoint.
Worth pointing out that in the season before we finished 3rd 4 points of the lead in 2007-2008 we finished in 4th 21 points behind with pretty much the same squad of players.
Also worth noting that while neither would I put any money on the gap between us and first being narrower than last season we are currently one point closer to the leaders than at the same stage last year (but also one place further away) :)
You can prove anything with statistics, eh!
Ah yes, to have two consecutive seasons with the same squad, I remember how that felt :) That said, we shed Henry and Baptista and bought Sagna and Eduardo in the summer of 2007. Henry's role in 06-07 was diminished to the point that he was more trouble than he was worth and the "crown" had been taken by Fabregas anyway. Sagna I'd rate as one of Wenger's best moves of recent years. Not just because I consider him a world class full back, but because we already had Eboue and Hoyte in the squad, people seemed happy enough with Eboue at right back but Arsene saw someone better and added him anyway.
Little Dutch
Klopp wont leave Dortmund. I believe we should Get someone like 'Arry Redknapp. he knows the prem, previous experience in the champs league and knows how to win trophies. He also knows how to bring in bargains e.g. Jermain defoe has always scored goals, Rafa VDV was decent. anyone like that could be the start of out slide up the table. but thats my opinion.
Redknapp wouldnt be a bad shout short-term as it will galvanise the club and reset the thinking. A Year-Zero reset may be just whats required, and Arry's attacking philosophy will at least ensure yyou go guns blazing rather than with a whimper with this dated 1 striker in box 4-3-3 drivel.... remember Reading game when you had Chamakh AND Giroud in the box....Utd use 2 strikers, Citeh use 2 strikers, even Spurs are sorta using 2 strikers and will do so now Ade is fully-fit again and Defoe scoring means he has to start too.... the Wenger Era is now dead, time to move on.... if not Arry, then Laudrup..
We also replaced Lehmann with Almunia in 2007-2008! Sagna was a great buy though not the change supporters would have picked - let alone help close a 21 point gap - what do supporters know eh! Not sure he can be world class though because everyone knows we don't buy world class players and he was relatively inexpensive. Eduardo was a smart buy too until he was crocked though Giroud has scored almost the same number of league goals in half the number of appearances so far. Were we not trying hard enough when we signed Eduardo then? ;)
Donít agree that the competitive environment is the biggest single factor by far. Even if AW had similar resources to the other clubs, I think itís got to the point where weíll see the same issues again on the pitch that weíve seen the past few seasons. My feeling is that AW has got tunnel vision trying to solve the problems weíve been having and could have done with another set of eyes on the problem in the form of a talented number 2 from outside the Club, a la Fergie. Even RvP is reported to have asked for that because he felt there were too many yes men at the Club. When AW first joined AFC he was an up and coming manager with new ideas that heíd learnt in his varied roles in his career. Now there are other new managers with new ideas and I donít think itís necessarily the case that they wonít be able to do a better job than AW. The manager has had 7 years to get to a winning formula and he canít get it to work, if anything we are regressing. In any other sphere, it would be time for a new leader because the overall trend is that weíre not improving. The problem is it seems like AW is the one who sets his own targets to the Board.
We were trying then, that's kind of my point. It was 5 years ago though. I'm not coming here with a fantasy list of names. It just strikes me buying better than we've got, even when what we had was reaosnably good, is something we used to do but don't any longer. But then again, what's the point in buying good players or even buying Giroud? They're not gonna make any difference in the competitive environment we're in, just chasing rainbows.
Little Dutch
You're not alone in misunderstanding or not appreciating what has happened in the game and it's impact Vin but we wouldn't be having this debate if everyone saw it the same way I guess. However, I think you're being totally unrealistic in expecting Fergie to be Arsene's Number 2 . He's too old anyway! ;) Set against what has been allowed to happen in the game who or who isn't number two is a bit of a side issue anyway.
At least you're sort of reaching the right conclusion LD. There's no point chasing rainbows but every need to stay in the race for the pot of gold that won't be found at the end of a rainbow. For the present until the competitive environment changes, and it will still change too slowly for most supporters and probably not quickly enough to spare Wenger further scorn from irrational observers, we've got to continue to compete at least as well as we have done. The best thing Wenger can do for the club is to stick around for 4 more years until the landscape begins to level and take the dung that will be dumped on him and if he still has the stomach for it try to reaps some reward then. The best thing he can do for himself is to leave now and take up a Mourinho style glory job. From his personal perspective his biggest mistake will probably prove to be not getting out in 2006. From AFC's perspective getting him to stay for as long as he has, will probably, in time, be looked upon as one of the club's greatest achievements.
Similarly, you're not alone in misunderstanding or not appreciating what has been happening on the pitch Amos but I appreciate you're considered view. I think there are a number of variables that have contributed to recent seasons; some you control, some you don't. AW hasn't addressed some of the prevailing issues because he doesn't think he's doing things the wrong way. No matter the personnel, his philisophy and tactics are the constant and they have not been performing and it's not such a stretch of logic to deduce where the issue might be. A Wenger/Fergie combo would be interesting at the half-time team talk :-)
What's happening on the pitch is told by the scoreline. It doesn't take much understanding or appreciation which is why the matches have so many experts contributing their expertise. How what's happening on the pitch is affected by the wider conditions takes a little more joined up thinking but shouldn't really be that difficult to get your head around as it sometimes appears. There are some rational observers but I guess if you're not meeting expectations, whether reasonable or not, you're bound to be doing things the wrong way, and if you are meeting expectations you'll be doing things the right way, whatever the way is. It always amuses me that the player ratings of teams that have emerged as winners when they've been comprehensively outplayed and fluked a win through a dodgy decision or bizarre stroke of luck are always at the top of the ratings scale while the losers, who have dominated play had good goals disallowed, hit the woodwork a few times are rated at the lower end. So much easier to understand that a win is good and defeat is bad I guess.
I suppose that's where we differ. I think we could be doing more to "stay in the race for the pot of gold." Personally, I think we're on very shakey ground there this season. We shall see I guess.
Little Dutch
A friend of mine last night referred to this discussion as "Soccernomics." Arsenal can't realisically hope for much better than 3rd but definitely shouldn't be finishing lower than 4th. Where you factor performance in cup competitions in that period is rather more subjective I guess.
Little Dutch
I'm not sure we differ that much. I always think we should be doing more than we're doing but I can see that in most cases it isn't the simple solutions most would offer. Does look a bit iffy this season I'd have to agree. There's always another season in which to get it right though. The club looks in good shape to stay in the race (it never ends really) even if the present team may not be.
Eldondo, as a howl of frustration, I accept what you say, but you are being unreasonable and unrealistic in your dismissal of the manager's current achievements and your lack of appreciation of the obstacles we face. Our current problems are that we are financially disadvantaged (relatively speaking), that there has been a big improvement in standards in the PL and that we no longer have a unique edge over most of the other teams. Little Dutch, just as a point of information, a £20 million bid was made for Reina when Lehmann left. Amos and damiano_tommassi, we are of the same mind. I could rehearse all the points you made, but I won't. But I would like to expand the point Amos touched on about us having lost our edge on other teams - by which I mean that everyone has worldwide scouting now, fitness and diet has improved everywhere, etc. When we were winning a lot, we had a lot of the very best players. Now we don't - we have one or two, but not five or six. We have to find a unique edge to compensate, because we will not attract the best players - the best players on the whole will go to where the wages are highest, and that will never be Arsenal. So we can't base our strategy on higher spending on players because that it a battle we will never win. The team with the best players tends to win the League and the major cups. You could look at the last six or seven years as AW's attempt to find this "edge" - polishing rough diamonds, bringing in hugely talented young players, a different style of play - it hasn't quite worked for us. Surely you don't really believe that AW, SK, IG - all driven, highly successful men, don't really want to win? Trying and failing is not the same as not trying. As for the argument that we are not doing everything we could do, that could be said about every other team in the world, because however much you do, it is always possible to do more. The difference between us and Man City is not an extra £10 million a year, it's hundreds of millions. Fans are addicted to the idea of gambling everything on one player, or one competition, but you make more money putting on deposit the couple of quid you would spend on a Lottery ticket, than you ever will from the Lottery. I don't know what the answer is to our current problems, but I do know that it isn't ditching the manager. Remember how Charlton fans thought that Alan Curbishley had taken their club as far as he could? How much time did Sp*rs lose after getting rid of Martin Jol? We are the sixth placed club in Europe. How did we get there? And let's not forget that nobody has finished above us in the league without outspending us massively.
6th placed club in europe? Never really understood that one, we were third in England alone last year and the champions of europe finished below us! If you could take on board the fact that we can't outspend City and Chelsea and combined it with other serious issues, you wouldn't just see that this is the one single factor for us not winning anything. If our manager was as fantastic as some would like to make out then surely he'd over achieve? And not finish where our wages allow, i.e. 3rd and 4th.
The debate about Wenger isn't that some think he's fantastic at all. Most pro-Wenger are pretty realistic about what can reasonably be expected of him (and also understand that one of the reasons we are able to pay 4th highest wages is because of his stewardship) The gripe about him is from those who think he should be fantastic and able to defy unrealistic odds. In a sense the frustration some feel towards him can be likened to the disappointment some kids have in finding out that Santa Claus isn't real.
the argument that we cannot afford to pay top wages is flawed. our overall wage bill is very close to that of man u as ld has pointed out. each time we refuse to give a very good player an increment, we would sell him and get another 3 mediocre players in which their wages add up to more than the increment demanded. the next thing we know, 1 of the 3 new recruits is only half as good as the player sold whereas the other two players would not even make it to the bench. our gradual decline over the years is caused by such gross mismanagement. we are now up to the point where the squad is so large that the wage bill has ballooned and we are having problem selling these players or sending them out on loan. yet, we have difficulty selecting players good enough to step up when our core players who are no the best of players to begin with, got injured.
Nobody's arguing that we can't pay top wages simply that we can't pay the wages of the three teams above us so using that as a premise for your argument is the one that's flawed Joe. Our wages bill is much closer to ManU than those of City and the Chavs, but still behind them. Add in transfer costs, amortisation and fees and ManU's player budget consistent with their revenues (wages plus transfers) has been significantly higher than ours for a number of years. But ManU alone wouldn't be unchallengeable were it not for the £100's of millions that Chelsea and City have poured in which has made it harder for us to acquire and retain players on a smaller budget than any of the three of them. Add the increase in amortisation costs in the last financial year (the real costs of transfers) to the increase in wages and our player spend increased some £35m for a squad that isn't any larger than anyone else but has to be more of a mix of experienced and developing players plus a gamble on potential here and there than those hoovering up fully developed talent (often ours) at obscene salaries and costs.
Last season, the club had the 5th highest wage bill (I think our bill will exceed Liverpool's this season, so we should have the 4th highest now) and finished 3rd. An over achievement, in my opinion. However, Wenger is adopting a high risk approach because he cannot pull this off every season. We need to be doing more, there are still doubts on the coaching (all those who attributed that to Rice, including me, were wrong since the only constant has been Wenger), there are still too many recurring mistakes on the pitch that Wenger is unable to correct. I'd prefer to focus on those controllable aspects rather than the competitive environment. Signing another quality player for 15M wouldn't have won us the title, but it reduces the risk of finishing outside the top 4, and gives us a better chance at a Cup run. Another high risk strategy is the reliance on FFP - there is no plan B if other clubs find loop holes in it (the Chavs have already broken even, and ManU are ahead on that front). Just like there was no plan B to increase revenue before 2014 (assuming that other clubs would stay still while Arsenal increased match day revenue).
Matchday revenue isn't the focus we're doing ok on that front. There's a well resourced organisation working on increasing commercial revenues as part of a 5 year plan initiated in 2010 after Kroenke/Gazidis built their commercial team. It's already having some modest but worthwhile success though the bigger growth will come after 2014 when the current major sponsorship deals expire. That's when, relative to our competitors, we should see a boost to our revenues. Nobody knows how significant an effect FFP will have, or when and whether strongly supported moves to introduce it into the PL will come about but it doesn't have to be 100% successful to help us enough to make a difference. It just has to constrain the degree of excess. It isn't that others spend more that inhibits us as much as it is the sheer scale of that excess. As Fungunner points out it's in the hundreds of millions over successive seasons not a one off extra spend of £15m. If we can increase our commercial revenues, and its pretty evident that we will, while the spending of others is more constrained then the spending gap will narrow in time to give us the fighting chance of greater parity - unless we've blown too much chasing rainbows in the meantime and have to spend a few more seasons trying to repair damaged finances. Tactics are fine but of little use without a strategy.
"in a sense the frustration some feel towards him can be likened to the disappointment some kids have in finding out that Santa Claus isn't real' But that isn't the case in this debate, where people are making reasoned views even if different to yours, so not sure what the relevance of this comment is here.
it's not about transfer fees. it's about player retention. i guess if we were able to retain both nasri & rvp by paying them the market rate, that wouldn't have much impact on our finance as there were no transfer fees involved. we spent just as much of money we received from their sale but probably paying more on wages from our panic buys. the issue lies in our reluctance to pay proven players within the club to protect our wage ceiling and ended up with lots in quantity instead of quality.
The relevance was in the claims that some broadly supportive of Wenger think he's fantastic but the complaint from others is that he isn't overachieving (though others suggest he is )and want us to bring in someone who can over achieve - i.e someone who is fantastic and can defy the odds consistently. Such fantasy figures don't really exist and those that appreciate what is happening to the club and the game at the moment seem more grounded in their expectations even though their aspirations are the same. I'm not against replacing Wenger at all though I don't think it will change anything for the better at present. It's easier to replace him now than 2 or 3 years ago but the basis on which those arguing for a change, so far at least, are making the case for one doesn't really amount to anything more than wishful dreaming.
Paying the 'market' rate joe is only possible if you have the revenues to do it. At the moment the market is distorted by those paying way over true market rates who don't have the revenues to do it either. I don't think that RvP left solely for money, though for a player close to his 30th birthday a 4 year contract at £10m a year for a club that does stand a better chance of winning a trophy in that period than we do it will have helped. For us though we had the choice of committing to spending £40m (plus the extras NI, agent&signing fees etc, say another £10m) over 4 years for a player who will be 33 at the end of it, or taking £24m to invest elsewhere over that 4 year period. Not that there was a choice really as RvP who was in an unprotected period of his contract probably wouldn't have stayed anyway even if we'd matched it so we weren't able to prevent it. He might have stayed a while longer if he were 24/25 but not at his age. Was Nasri worth £140k a week to us? Not if we couldn't afford to pay at least 4 or 5 others on a scale relative to his wage I'd guess. The wage ceiling of those clubs meeting them from revenues is always going to be lower than those without such constraints.
@ Amos, you are my hero. @ shewore - the placing of us at sixth in Europe is not based on one season's results, it's our performance over a period of time. @ Joe_@** (see how I used your full name?) Just to add to what Amos said, - if you put me in a room with two billionaires, I would be the third richest person in the room - but that would not mean that I was a billionaire. There is a massive gap in finances. For practical purposes, the funds of Man City and Chelsea are limitless. We have a budget - a large budget, but a finite one. I forgot to say last night that we do of course have cash reserves, but a) the lion's share of our income goes into the pockets of players b) the capital that we have is used for emergencies (eg ultimately unsuccessful bid for Reina) and to fund capital projects like the medical centre, the proposed improvements to Hale End, etc. Those funds existed because we have saved them up over a number of years. Perhaps AW feels that handing yet more money to players is not the best use of that carefully husbanded hoard, given that whatever our offer to a player, City and Chelsea can beat it. My impression is that we are concentrating on added value - treating the players well (family atmosphere, helping foreigners settle in), making them feel part of something great and enduring (the ethos of club with our community work, etc), a beautiful stadium and of course the aspiration to playing exciting football. We are playing a long game. FFP will be got around to a greater or lesser extent, but will have some effect. Even more interesting are the moves within English football to restrict wages - and not just from the less wealthy clubs. Clubs are sick and tired of every increase in funding going to players and their agents. While having the best players is the single biggest factor in success on the pitch IMO, part of the attraction for a player is playing in a great stadium with modern facilities. That is what some clubs would like to spend money on, but can't because they spend it all trying to retain/attract top players. We can't go on like this for ever.
I and most people on this debate provided reasoned arguments for why we think it's time for change, Amos. To liken us to kids that are disappointed that Santa isn't real is somewhat patronising and condescending. You are expressing a counter view which I respect and read with an open mind. But at the end of the day it's just your opinion, not fact, no matter how hard you try to present it that way.
I think you're skirting round the main reason there fungunner, the main attraction for any player is winning things, and money a close second. Having nice facilities would definitely be a "nice to have", but not something that'd be a deal breaker. All top clubs have top facilities now anyway. We're not 6th best in Europe.
I haven't seen one reasoned argument for a change of manager Vin other than we haven't won anything. For some that maybe reason enough but it's not reasoned when consider against the background. Nobody has explained just how any manager would be able to do better than Chelsea, City and ManU consistently if everything else in the game remains the same. If you have a reasoned argument though I'd be happy to hear it.
Uefa's official rankings place Arsenal 6th in Europe. Their methodology is simple and straightforward enough to follow and the frequency with which we reach the last 8 and at times the last 4 in the CL supports any unprejudiced judgement.
Yeah, it kinda does, but we're not 6th best in Europe, that's a cast iron fact. We qualify a lot now cos of the seedings we find ourselves in due to sheer longevity in the competition. Anyway, I don't really care, just think it's worth pointing out. And Amos if anyone actually can provide that clarity as to how we could consistently do better than the top 3 in the country he'd actually be applying for the job, it's just on these pages it goes round and round in circles.
ManU's wage bill should include win bonuses (for winning trophies, finishing higher in the table etc). I don't think we're comparing apples-apples which makes our wage structure look even worse in comparison.
A cast iron fact?? Is it?? Or just your opinion maybe? Anyone claiming that we are 6th best at least has some fact based support for their opinion. It's only a circular argument when those making claims that things can be changed significantly without regard to the environment we operate in are unable to substantiate them. It's fair enough to have an opinion but equally fair to ask whether it can be supported.
The question is - can another manager get more points with this squad than Wenger? Forget where we will finish (perhaps only 4th) or that other clubs can spend more blah blah. Can another manager fix the problems that Wenger has been unable to? Can we sign another player to help us win the FA cup and finish 3rd instead of 4th? Just because the competitive landscape is biased towards rich clubs, that doesn't mean that we spend less for this sole reason.
Every teams wages will include some element of performance bonuses but comparing wages and transfer fees independently has the potential to be misleading. The comparison should be on player budgets (wages plus transfer fees). The more you pay in wages the less you can pay in transfer fees and vice versa - unless of course you can totally disregard any restrictions the discipline using your own revenue streams might impose. Paying younger talent more and developing them may be a sound strategy for those unable to compete at distorted transfer and wage levels for fully developed players. In any case, even if you decide to revise your pay structure, as contracts last anything from 1 to 5 years you can only change it gradually over something like 3 seasons or so. It's not possible to tear up all existing contracts at the same time and introduce a new wage structure.
Can another manager get more points with this squad? Maybe, maybe not. He might even get less the case for either possibility is at least equal. Can another manager with the same resources in the same competitive environment end higher than we have done? Almost certainly not. Could we get 3rd instead of 4th? We did last season.
I'm sure another manager could, but I wouldn't trust the decision makers to find him. Who actually would go out there and do that job in recruiting a new boss? Gazidis? Eff that. Yes, cast iron fact, we are not 6th best club in europe.
shewore take yourselves far too seriously.. just take a deep breath and start to enjoy being Arseboys and you will find that the pressure comes off the players somewhat and they may start to play like they can, even without their leader Diaby... the Prem is just a load of hot air currently and will be until/if FPP does whats needed. until then its just a sordid auction for a prize that now has little sporting value... be proud to buck the trend under AW, and start to value the integrity the guy has generated for thie club in the way he's not succumbed to this chequebook-success that is all the rage in this country.... Dortmund especially(and even Ajax ) showed that Citeh can be trumped by the development-model to success that AW is 1 of the leading exponents of.... grow some balls Arseboyz.
Your obvious confusion between fact and opinion doesn't inspire any confidence at all. You can't trust the decision makers to find someone who would do better than Wenger but supporters on football blogs can do so with ease it seems. :) I think if I were an investor in the club I'd have more confidence in Gazidis to do so though for the present he clearly doesn't think he can find anyone better either.
Viyyash, you often surprise me; you've made a few very good points there. I still don't think Diaby's the messiah you think he is (very good player though), but I certainly agree that panicking, booing, and pressuring the players doesn't help, and that a bit more enjoyment could positively affect the players.
On a similar note - I was massively impressed by the away fans in the Reading game; 4-0 down and still signing. Well done. If y'all hadn't done that, would the players have been able to pick themselves up and score 7 goals? Who knows; but I imagine not.
@ shewore, I'm not skating around anything - I said earlier that on the whole money is the most important factor in attracting and retaining player, and i freely admit that a club with a recent history of regularly winning trophies would also find it easier to attract/keep players - Man U are a good example. But I was talking about factors we can control. We can decide tactics, strategy, priorities but we can't "decide" to win - if we could, everyone would be doing it, wouldn't they? Don't minimise the importance of facilities etc to footballers - it's their workplace, after all. And you reinforced the point I am making when you said "all top clubs" have great facilities. Being a top club - with top facilities and offering CL football - is a factor in players' choice. @Viyyash, agreed, but you don't have to tell me! I mentioned the development model as well. Another good example of a club defying financial gravity is Montepellier. So it can be done.
not about defying financial-gravity, its about creating the balance between youth & experience, hunger and selflessness, and a team that collectively plays for losses over draws... Dortmund are a great example of playing on the front-foot, even against the money-monster that is Al-Citeh. the way they 'play blackjack' is a thing of beauty, whereas other teams are too scared to press when the situation would dictate them too and they 'stick on 13, 14 or 15' rather 'take another card' which would put the odds more in their favour... they might bust for doing so but its less likely that they'll get a card that doesnt bust them and will leave them with a stronger hand that then forces Citeh to 'take another card' too.... when you understand that, you will understand why so many Prem teams lose at Citeh (and Utd) when others like Ajax, Bilbao, Dortmund and Napoli teach them a football lesson.
...'more' likely, not less (see above)...
Playing in any knockout cup competition is always going to be different from competing over a 38 game domestic season. All sorts of surprises crop up in cup competitions. Though not totally divorced they can't always be taken as that much of a signpost towards league triumph. Have a poor 30 minutes in the league and you still may recover. In a cup competition you probably won't.
the league is different to KO tournaments, but the mentality for KO comps is used by the best teams that win leagues as they don't settle for draws but go for wins (even at the risk of draws/losses).... it doesnt mean you have to be gungho but it does mean... like Dortmund did at Citeh... that you maximise your chances for a win by attacking when the situations arise when away to a big team and ...heres where Arse need to**** ears up.... if your drawing or even behind in games against weaker teams, you have to up the ante and play for a win above a loss which in turn should be played for above a draw.... not going to happen tho' with AW's 4-3-3 and just Giroud in the box mainly (Cazorla has now become a distraction to the cause which is kinda ironic)... 6th.
You cannot compare Germany/France to England/Spain. The impact of money is far more in Eng/Sp and the presence of 2 or more rich clubs makes a difference. in Germany, its only Bayern, and in France, it's only PSG (that too now). That partly explains why we see more winners in these leagues, compared to Eng & Spain. ManU's wage bill used to be higher than Arsenal even in the Invincible era, but Arsenal still won the PL title in those years (like Dortmund has done recently). But that is possible when you are competing with one rich club and becomes more difficult when there is more than one.
wot a load of cliched nonsense... its all relative in each league and the likes of Shalke and Dortmund and a few more are hardly lightyears behind Bayern are they.... when there are many rich clubs in a league you may sau there are 'less' in a way cos it evens the field as they will take pts off each other as well as drop points to others.... in EPL its mainly about smaller clubs being more subdued against bigger clubs and concede far too much ground to then (literally) thus influencing the natural laws of chance away from them.... if I'm sooo scared that I might bust, already holding a hand of 14, if I take another card, then I'm more likely to lose then otherwise... that in a nutshell is what happens in the EPL when other teams play Manc teams and Chavs, less so for Arse (for yrs now)..

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