FIVE key questions Arsene Wenger MUST answer

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1) Why were the team “mentally not ready for the challenges”? – We were playing Watford, a side we had played 4 times in the last 2 seasons, winning 3. How did we not know the challenges they face. Who is responsible for the mental preparation of the team?

2) Why so many changes after Southampton? – We won 5-0, albeit against a very weak Southampton side, why did only one player who started that game start tonight? I appreciate Danny Welbeck and Theo Walcott are just returning from injury, but Bellerin, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Lucas Perez deserved a start.

3) Why is Jack Wilshere on loan? – Yes, he has had to go on loan to prove his fitness, which he has done so play 19 games for Bournemouth. That is more games than both Aaron Ramsey & Santi Cazorla. Why did we not insist on a recall clause like Chelsea did with Nathan Ake?

4) What has Lucas Perez done wrong? – Everytime Lucas Perez has played this season, he has looked a threat. He has scored 7 goals in 449 minutes. Why is he not getting more game time?

5) How can you justify signing a new contract? – Everyone knows there is a two year deal currently sitting on your desk. How can you justify signing this? You have always said that everything you do is in the best interests if Arsenal Football Club, even if it has sacrificed some of your reputation. Well now is the time to make the ultimate sacrifice. It is not in the best interests of Arsenal Football Club to have Arsene Wenger as manager next year. Do the right thing and step aside.

Keenos

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How do The Invincibles and Class of 2017 compare?

Yesterday Arsene Wenger cam out and claimed his current crop of forwards was the best options he has had in his 2 decades at the club, surpassing the invicibles:

“Certainly numbers-wise and quality-wise together [they are the best],” Wenger said ahead of today’s clash with struggling Watford.

“We had never so many players who could perform and score goals – certainly never.

“Dennis and Thierry had the quality but we did not have a large number. We had Sylvain Wiltord and Robert Pires as well so it was not bad.”

Many have used this of further proof that Arsene Wenger is a deluded old man who has gone senile. It is further quotes to prove that he now looks at the current set up through rose tinted glasses.

Arsenal’s current forward options are: Olivier Giroud, Danny Welbeck, Alexis Sanchez, Theo Walcott, Mesut Ozil & Lucas Perez. How can these compare to Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp, Freddie Ljungberg, Robert Pires, Kanu and Sylvain Wiltord. The invincibles.

Well the statistics do make for interesting reading:

Invincibles v Class of 2017

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So the Invincibles scored a goal every 2.96 games. Whilst the Class of 2017 are a goal every 3.01 games. Almost nothing in it. We are talking about a 5 minute difference. But of course, it disproves Arsene Wenger’s point. The Invincibles were superior goal scorers, but only just. And probably not by as much as people think.

For me there are main differences between the two groups of players is top end quality. The Invincibles had Thierry Henry.

Henry is by far and away the most clinical player out of the 12 players and the primary reason that the Invincibles scored more than the Class of 2017.

A minor reason is Dennis Bergkamp against Mesut Ozil. Bergkamp was much more of a striker than Mesut Ozil. Scored more goals.

Henry better than Giroud, Bergkamp better than Ozil. When you combine all 12 players into a single long list, it makes equally as interesting reading.

Long List

long-list

This list further proves that Henry was superior to every other player. Our greatest goal scorer of all time. But the next two on the list are interesting. Both from the Class of 2017. This shows that whilst the Invincibles were heavily reliant on goals from Henry, the Class of 2017 has two goal scoring options.

Lucas Perez has to kind of be disregarded as he has played so few games to make a true judgement.

You then have the next 5. Pires, Bergkamp, Wiltord, Welbeck & Walcott. Very similar games to goal ratio.

So the Invincibles had the best goal scorer, but the Class of 2017 had the better options.

Player v Player

side-by-sideA last comparison is just seeing players per their position.

Again, this highlights the importance of Henry and Bergkamp. Henry is vastly superior to Giroud. Bergkamp better than Ozil. This is not exactly ground breaking news.

On the left hand side, Sanchez out scores Pires, which again is not exactly surprising. Sanchez is better than Pires.

The right hand side of the midfield might surprise you. Walcott is more dangerous than Ljungberg.

Wiltord and Welbeck are both hardworking strikers who also cover the wide positions. Wiltord had played a lot more than Welbeck, but their record is identical.

Lastly we have Perez v Kanu. Not similar in style, but they are the lost ones left. Kanu on his day was a game changer, but was extremely inconsistent. A scorer of great goals, rather than a great goal scorer.

 

I think it is wrong to compare the Invincibles to the Class of 2017. The Invincibles won league titles, and went unbeaten. Add in a lot of FA Cups. Whilst the current crop have just those 2 FA Cups to show for their efforts. But the comparison does make interesting reading, and the difference is not as much as you would think.

The difference is Bergkamp and Henry.

Keenos

Note: I know I spelt Wiltord’s name wrong in the pretty pictures

Sutton Away loophole, Fans set for refund, Transfer deadline day & Watford

Sutton Away

So we got the tie a lot of fans wanted, an away game against Sutton United of the National League (formerly known as the Conference). As Arsenal fans celebrated a chance to visit a lower league ground, stand on the terraces, it slowly dawned on everyone that we will get next to no tickets.

With Sutton’s Gander Green Lane stadium holding just 5,013, Arsenal will get around in the region of 750 tickets.

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When Leeds visited at the weekend, they got a grand total of 750 tickets.

With Arsenal having around 1,200 on the away ticketing scheme (basically an away season ticket), tickets for the game will be put into a ballot as per the terms and conditions of the scheme. This means many of the fans who ‘celebrated’ and were looking forward to an away trip to Sutton will miss out.

dcdddThere is some talk that Sutton United could apply to move the game to a bigger venue – likely to be Crystal Palace’s Selhurst Park. However, in 2003, after Farnborough switched a 4th round tie against Arsenal to Highbury, the FA Challenge Cup committee slamed the door on Cup’s rogue venue-switchers.

This would seemingly make it impossible for the game to be switched. However, reading through the 2003 article, there still might be some options open to allow more fans to watch the tie:

No club will be able to benefit financially from such a switch

So as long as no one benefits financially, that the income taking from the move remains the same as the income the clubs would have received had the tie not been moved, then a move could possible still be open.

Those who move for the wrong reasons could be barred from the competition the following year.

What are the wrong reasons? Clearly the wrong reason is financial. So what are the right reasons? The right reasons will always be ‘on health and safety grounds’. Whilst Sutton United have a safety certificate enabling them to have 5,000 at their ground, what would happen if 10,000 fans converge on the area to watch the game locally? Would the police be able to control that? Fans attempting to jib in, force their way into a ground that can not be secured. It could be a massive health and safety risk.

The tie could possibly therefore be moved on police advice.

If a cup tie still had to be switched it would go to the nearest suitable neutral venue, rather than the opponents’ home ground.

So a tie can be switched to the nearest suitable home ground. In this case, it would be Crystal Palace.

If games are still moved, any excess money earned by the participants would go into the central pool.

So to stop people benefiting financially from a change of venue, any extra revenue generated go’s into a central pool and then distributed to all clubs.

The door is clearly open for a venue change. Sutton United and Arsenal will simply have to present to the police that holding such a big game at such a small stadium presents a health and safety and security risk.

Fan set for refund

As part of an Arsenal season ticket, fans automatically get the first 7 FA Cup / Champions League home games – this is why Arsenal always appear to have vastly more expensive season tickets than other clubs; we get 26 games.

If Arsenal do not play 7 home FA Cup / Champions League games, fans are then given a discount off next years season ticket.

With an away draw against Sutton making it 3 away FA Cup ties in a row for the Gunners, it leaves Arsenal fans having had just 4 of their cup tickets. The 3 games in the group stages of the Champions League and Bayern Munich in the first knock out stage.

In total, Arsenal have a possibility of playing another 4 games at home in cup competitions:

  • 6th round replay if we draw away to Sutton
  • FA Cup QF / QF replay if we get through the 6th round
  • Champions League QF
  • Champions League SF

Now you make your mind up on the likelihood of any of these happening.

The club bean counters will be getting nervous at this point. The cost of refunding 3 cup games to fans could be as high as £9,000,000.

Of course, the club (and fans) will be hoping we get through to the FA Cup QF and Champions League semi-final. This will also come with a cost, however, as the club are likely to make these games category A, and adding a charge to fans season tickets for next year.

Deadline day Arsenal transfers

Nothing to see here. Move along please.

Watford

So Arsenal enter a defining few days in this years title race. Victory tonight over Watford and a Chelsea defeat at Anfield blows the race right open again, and sets it up nicely for the weekends game at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea.

For the 1st time in a long, long time, Arsene Wenger has almost a fully fit squad to pick from, with only Santi Cazorla out injured, Granit Xhaka suspended and Mohamed Elneny in Africa

Having only just come back from injury, I would be very surprised if Theo Walcott or Danny Welbeck start. The former playing 90 minutes at the weekend against Southampton.

The biggest headache for Wenger will be whether to give Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain another run out in the middle of the park after a Man of the Match performance against Southampton, or revert to what he knows and have a Coquelin, Ramsey, Ozil axis. I think he will play it safe and go for the later. Although he will start Oxlade-Chamberlain on the wing.

Hopefully Stevie Boulds Red & White Army makes it 2 wins from 2.

Have a good day and stay warm and dry later.

Up the Arsenal.

Keenos