Wenger the Talent Extractor
Over the years, I have been more than happy to criticise Arsene Wenger when he gets things wrong. And it happens a lot. I am more than happy to point out his lack of plan B, his predictable substitutions, and his failures in the transfer market.
But one thing I will not call him is a “talent extractor”. It is just BS.
You only have to look at the amount of players that have come to Arsenal, and improved under Wenger. And the amount who have then left Arsenal ,and not gone on to be any better.
Whilst the likes of Gael Clichy, Ashley Cole, Kolo Toure, Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri might have won trophies elsewhere, they did not improve as players.
As Arsenal fans, we often expect too much. Not every Yaya Sanogo can be turned into a Thierry Henry.
I always laugh at people moaning about Andrei Arshavin. He is the player that many fans complain about the most. But these people base their view on little knowledge. Arshavin, in Russia, was always inconsistent. Capable of doing brilliant, game winning things, before disappearing for weeks on end. It is his incoistency that saw him struggle to become a regular for Russia in the early days.
Arshavin was excellent for Arsenal in his first 2 and a half years. 25 goals, 30 assists, but some have re-written history.
And we see the same with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
People are pretending that he was absolutely awful every single game for Arsenal. And since moving to Liverpool, he has been brilliant, every single game.
The reality is somewhat different.
At Arsenal, he would have a couple of good games, showing the raw talent he clearly has. Getting people excited that he might have finally broken through the glass wall. But then he would go missing for a month. Not being able to play a pass. Not contributing anything.
Then he would have another couple of good games. It is his consistency which has made him so frustrating.
At Liverpool, he is no different. He has had the odd good game, but has had a lot of rubbish in between.
The big difference is we no longer have to watch the poor performances, or get frustrated by them, so they kind of disappear from memory. Meanwhile his odd good performance is repeated on Match of the Day and Sky Sport and fools you into thinking he has been playing like that every week.
So I had a look at some statistics:
Make your own conclusions.
We are 2-0 up after the away leg. A solid base to start from, but Arsenal must not rest on their laurels tonight and become complacent.
Whilst AC Milan are certainly not the side of yesteryear, we still need to take them seriously.
If we go in to start the game how we did against Östersund, AC Milan could find themselves back in the game quicker than it takes me to find a stream to watch out on.
Do not forget that this Arsenal side has lost to the likes of Östersund, Nottingham Forest, Tottenham, Brighton & Hove Albion, Bournemouth and Swansea this calendar year. Small, weak sides that we should have rolled over with ease.
Tonight we need to take the game seriously, get an early goal, get the job done, and look forward to the Quarter Finals.
Absolute disgraceful scenes in Barcelona last night involving Chelsea fans.
All football disagreements aside, the way English football fans are treated abroad is sickening. We are walking targets for the police. In previous years, I have been at Roma, AC Milan and was in Lille for Wales v England.
At each game English fans were targets to be attacked by the police. An over aggressive police who would be quick to use batons and tear gas.
Whilst when other fans come into the UK, they get the run of the streets, as we saw with Cologne, English fans abroad are attacked.
What is most worrying about the incident in Barcelona is it is stewards using batons and attacking fans, not the police. How is this right? How does UEFA allow this?
A similar thing happened with Arsenal fans in 2016. And that bridge you have to walk over is dangerous. On the other side is just two turnstiles.
So at one end of the bridge you have stewards physically forcing people onto and over it, and on the other side, you have no where to go. It is an accident waiting to happen.
Earlier this season, Liverpool fans were attacked by the police in Sevilla.
English fans were banned in the 80s for their behaviour, and justifiably so. But it is now 33 years since the Heysel disaster. Things have changed.
The fact UEFA remain so silent on the issue indicates that they condone it. That they accept English fans – same young teenagers and children – being attacked by police and stewards up and down the country.
I do not expect UEFA to act, just like they have not acted when English fans have been stabbed (and killed) in the likes of Turkey and Italy.
Attacking English fans seems to be acceptable. It is not.