Narratives, Next Arsenal Manager & Basel

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Narratives

The press and fans alike will always change the narrative to suit their agenda. We have seen this numerous occasions already this season.

This time last week, we had everyone crowing about Liverpool. That they were title challengers. The bookies made them 2nd favourites. Meanwhile Arsenal were in disarray. Manchester United in crisis.

Yet Arsenal were above Liverpool on goal difference, Man U just 1 point behind. Even Chelsea at the time were level on points with the Scousers.

And then this week, we saw more narratives re-writing to suit an agenda.

Not just the media this time, but Arsenal fans. Arsenal fans who last week were telling us all how great Jurgen Klopp was for leading a Liverpool to a 2-1 away victory over Chelsea.

This week, Arsene Wenger manages Arsenal to a 3-0 win at home, and people claim it is because Antonio Conte got it wrong rather than Arsene getting it right.

Let’s be fair people. Criticise when it is deserved, praise when it is due.

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Next Arsenal Manager

Whilst we can all agree that Arsene Wenger’s time at Arsenal is coming to an end, we are The Arsenal, we should be getting in the best to replace a legendary manager. Not some of the tripe that some people come up with.

I certainly feel that some people want anyone but Wenger.

Let’s demand the best.

Basel

So Arsenal v Basel is still not sold out. The Champions League is slowly dying. I will not miss it. Horrid competition designed just to make the rich, richer.

Keenos

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10 reasons Arsenal beat Chelsea

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1) The Scoreline – Arsenal scored 3 goals, Chelsea did not score. Pretty simple really.

2) The midfield battle – Francis Coquelin and Santi Cazorla dominated the first part of the game. Coquelin playing high up the pitch, pressing, Cazorla having the freedom of the park. When Coquelin got injured, Arsenal were able to replace him with Granit Xhaka. Not since being able to replace Gilberto with Edu have we had such a class midfielder on the pitch. And Xhaka continued where Coquelin left off. Destroying the Chelsea midfield. And winning the battle against N’golo Kante.

3) Mesut Ozil – Often criticised for not stepping up in the big games, Ozil showed why he is a world class player. They way he turned Kante on the edge of the Arsenal box, ran the length of the pitch, leaving Kante in his dust, and then got to the far post to volley it in was magnificent.

4) Alexis Sanchez – When we signed Sanchez, their was talk that he would be a striker at Arsenal. Recently Arsene Wenger was quoted as saying that Sanchez could be a mix of Suarez and Aguero. Many scoffed, saw it as reasoning behind Wenger not buying a striker. But this is a player, remember, who plays upfront on his own for his country, and led them to victory in the last 2 Copa America. His pace and power upfront is a threat. And with 47 goals goals in 100 games, he certainly knows how to find the back of the net.

5) Theo Walcott – Over the summer, most wanted him out, I wanted him out, but yesterday he put in a performance that we have not seen for years. In 2012/13 Walcott was excellent. 21 goals and countless more assists. He looked like he had finally arrived. Then he had 3 years of injury and uselessness. This season he seems to have turned it around again. Yesterday was his 3rd goal of the season. As a comparison, Joel Campbell has 3 league goals in his Arsenal career. If Walcott keeps it going, it will be testament to both his change in attitude and Arsene Wenger’s man management skills.

6) Hector Bellerin – Is there a better right back in world football at the moment? He had Eden Hazard in his pocket. He can defend and attack. And can start 20 meters behind an opponent, catch him up and win the ball easily with space to spare.

7) Arsene Wenger – A lot will say that yesterday was partly to do with Antonio Conte getting his tactics wrong, but let’s give Wenger some credit, he got his tactics spot on. From playing Sanchez up top, encouraging him to drop deep pulling David Luiz out of place, Coquelin’s high press, Bellerin pushing tight on Hazard and Cazorla playing deepest of the midfield giving him the time and space to dictate the game. Even Wenger’s subs worked out. Xhaka, whilst forced, showed strength on the bench. Gibbs tightened the left hand side, and Olivier Giroud gave us a target man upfront and extra height at corners. Wenger got it right.

8) John Terry – You need a leader at the back. In recent seasons Arsenal have struggled without Per Mertesacker. Man U have not found one since Rio Ferdinand retired. Man City with Kompany look leaderless. And Chelsea showed without John Terry that they are clueless at the back. Sanchez’s goal came from a Gary Cahill mistake. And Ozil’s was by both Cahill and Luiz going towards Sanchez leaving Ozil free at the far post. Without Terry, they did not have someone who could direct play.

9) Calm Costa – Not exactly Diego Costa being calm, but more the Arsenal centre backs being calm around Costa. Koscielny and Mustafa look a partnership already. Both won the ball, cleanly, off Costa, but went in hard enough to leave him on the floor moaning. towards the end of the game, Koscielny once more left Costa in a heap, Costa reacted running half the length of the pitch to confront both the ref, than Koscielny. The Frenchman laughed it off, Costa got booked. It was an uncompromising performance by Arsenal’s new centre back partnership. And a captains performance by Koscielny.

10) Selfies – Finally, Rio Ferdinand “slammed” Arsenal for a post match selfie. Yet a year ago, he said Roy Keane was “out of touch”

Up the Arse

Keenos
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Were Arsenal’s invincible team demolished too quickly?

A brief chat on Twitter surrounding the above tweet made me do a little bit of research, looking into whether they Arsenal 2004 invincible side was demolished too quickly.

formation

Of the 11 who are widely considered as the staring 11 of the invincible side, 6 of them were gone in 2006. Two more left in 2007, 1 in 2008 & 1 in 2009. Over 50% of a successful side sold or released within 2 years of its greatest success.

On the face of it, it is easy to make an argument for Arsenal’s invincible team being demolished too quickly. But when you dig down, a different story potentially comes up.

Jens Lehmann
Left Arsenal: 2008
Age when leaving: 38 years old
Premier League games played in last season: 7
Joined: Stuttgart

Lauren
Left Arsenal: 2006
Age when leaving: 29 years old
Premier League games played in last season: 22
Joined: Portsmouth

Kolo Toure
Left Arsenal: 2009
Age when leaving: 28 years old
Premier League games played in last season: 29
Joined: Manchester City

Sol Campbell
Left Arsenal: 2006
Age when leaving: 32 years old
Premier League games played in last season: 20
Joined: Portsmouth

Ashley Cole
Left Arsenal: 2006
Age when leaving: 25 years old
Premier League games played in last season: 11
Joined: Chelsea

Freddie Ljungberg
Left Arsenal: 2006
Age when leaving: 33 years old
Premier League games played in last season: 18
Joined: West Ham United

Patrick Vieira
Left Arsenal: 2005
Age when leaving: 29 years old
Premier League games played in last season: 32
Joined: Juventus

Gilberto Silva
Left Arsenal: 2008
Age when leaving: 32 years old
Premier League games played in last season: 17
Joined: Panathinikos

Robert Pires
Left Arsenal: 2006
Age when leaving: 33 years old
Premier League games played in last season: 33
Joined: Villarreal

Dennis Bergkamp
Left Arsenal: 2006
Age when leaving: 37 years old
Premier League games played in last season: 24
Joined: Retired

Thierry Henry
Left Arsenal: 2007
Age when leaving: 30 years old
Premier League games played in last season: 17
Joined: Barcelona

Of everyone that left, only Ashley Cole, Kolo Toure, Patrick Vieira and Thierry Henry could have been considered as both in their peak, and still first team players.

On the 4 that were in their peak – Cole, Toure, Vieira and Henry – they were certainly not forced out of the club.

With Ashley Cole and Patrick Vieira, they engineered their own exit’s. Bitter, acrimonious and sad. Thierry Henry was always going to play for Barcelona at some point in his career. And when Kolo Toure left, there was certainly a feeling that his time at Arsenal had come to a natural end.

The majority of those who left were the wrong side of 30 and clearly past it – as shown by the clubs they joined and their performances for those clubs. Most had also lost their place in the first 11 before they left Arsenal.

So did Arsene Wenger dismantle the invincible side too quick? Or was it just a natural end to a bunch of players who were at their peak together and their powers were on the wain?

KeenosAFC