Finishing 5th, Europa League, Silly Koscielny & Arsene Wenger

Finishing 5th

For a second there yesterday there was a slight glimmer of hope. Liverpool drawing 0-0, Arsenal up to 4th. We could snatch 4th place on the last day could we?

And within seconds the answer came emphatically. No.

A high scoring last day of the season saw ever side in the top 6 win, and win big, and Arsenal ended up 5th.

In reality, there is no difference between 2nd and 5th, neither win a trophy. Unless you are one of these who counts the top 4 as a trophy.

No Champions League means a new adventure in the Europa League.

Europa League

I think the only people annoyed at Europa League Football are those that do not go to games. Last night after it was confirmed that we would not be in the Champions League for the first time in 20-odd years, talk turned to next season.

Dreams of Prague, Budapest, Amsterdam, Oslo and Ibiza. A September trip to Cyprus. December in Denmark. The world is suddenly our oyster.

Yes, I am angry we finished as low as 5th, but every cloud has a silver lining and the away trips we might potentially end up with in the Europa League fill me with excitement. No more same old boring predictable Champions League.

And we all moan we always get knocked out in the Champions League knock outs, well the Europa League is a trophy we can win, as Manchester United are showing making the final.

Take it seriously and we could all be in Lyon this time next year.

Silly Koscielny

Laurent Koscielny is an idiot.

Getting sent off in a pointless game, causing him to be suspended for the FA Cup Final is one of the most stupid things I have seen in my decades of watching football.

Another day his challenge would have merited a yellow card, but yesterday he saw red, and there is no reason to complain.

Why did he make that challenge?

Throughout his Arsenal career, he has done that kind of challenge time and again. A mistimed, late lunge. He has given away countless penalties and free kicks with tackles he had no need to make. He is a liability.

Will he learn from yesterdays error? Probably not. His punishment is to miss the final. Arsenal’s punishment could be even worse.

Arsene Wenger

Wenger has blamed the hostile atmosphere at the emirates Stadium as the reason we struggled in the 2nd half of the season. He is basically blaming the fans for the mid-season collapse.

Of course, it ignores the fact that we only lost twice at home all season – to Liverpool on the opening day and to Watford at the end of January. It was our away form that destroyed our season.

The draw against Bournemouth, defeats to WBA, Crystal Palace and Liverpool. That is where we lost it. And it was all Wenger’s fault.

Lack of clarity on his future destabilised the club, and created the hostile atmosphere. Sitting their smugly after every press conference smiling saying he knew his future but refusing to share his intentions with the world has been an absolute disgrace.

If Wenger needs to find someone to blame for us finishing 5th, he needs to look at himself. It is all on his shoulders. It is time to go.

Keenos

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Why does Stan Kroenke own Arsenal?

So after last nights news that Alisher Usmanov had made a $1.3bn bid to take control of Arsenal about a month ago, today’s news is that majority share holder Stan Kroenke intends to stay at the club long term, according to Sky sources.

Since last night, one aspect of everything to do with Arsenal, the ownership, and moving forward has been bugging me.

Why does Stan Kroenke own Arsenal?

Love

Kroenke does not love The Arsenal. He barely attenda games, could barely name any of the current team, let alone have a clue who Tony Adams, Bob Wilson or Ian Wright are if they walked passed him in the street.

He go’s to less game at the Emirates than someone who says they are “boycotting the ground till Wenger leaves”. He has little, if anything, to do with the club, leaving the day to day running to Ivan Gazidis, the board, his son Josh and Arsene Wenger.

Stan Kroenke does not love Arsenal football Club.

Money

Many people will say Kroenke only owns Arsenal for the money. They will point to the £3million he has taken out twice (I think it’s now twice). They will claim he uses the club as collateral to buy stuff in America. they will call him greedy. And they are wrong.

Firstly on the £3million. At the time, this confused me. For someone worth a reported £5.75 billion, £3m is pocket change. He probably has that in his back pocket.

To put how little it is in real terms, imagine you live in a house worth £575,000, the equivalent to £3m is you boring £300 from a mate. Yes, a decent chunk of money, but not exactly a loads. I would have no hesitation of lending that (and more) to a mate.

If you want to see an example of greed in action at a football club, look at the Glaziers over at Manchester United.

Manchester United recently paid out a dividend to the family worth £18.3m. Last year, the 6 siblings got paid £15m. All this whilst Manchester United’s debt rose. Remember the Glazers bought Manchester United by leveraging the loans needed to buy the club against the club. Basically using the clubs own money to buy itself. They are greedy. Kroenke not so much.

You then have the rumours of him owning Arsenal to use the club as collateral against debts in America. There is ZERO proof in this. A lot of fuss was made when he bought a $725m ranch in Texas. Rumours were he had leveraged the debt to buy this against Arsenal. But he had bought it using cash.

Unlike the Glazers who use assets to buy more assets, Kroenke seems to use his own money to buy everything, from Arsenal to Texas.

And anyway, the old saying is true, no one buys a football club to make money.

Last year Arsenal had a turn over of ~£350m. The average Walmart store in America turns over £850m a year.

Whilst players make a lot from football, clubs rarely show profit. Last year Arsenal shows a pre-tax profit of just £3m.The simple fact is, there is very little, often if any, profit to take out of football clubs once costs such as wages, tax and player transactions have been offset.

The last place to make money from football clubs is trading on the share price. If Kroenke accepted Usmanov’s recent offer of Arsenal.

According to Angry of Islington, Stan Kroenke has spent approximately £424m on buying shares. Usmanov’s offer works out at £1 billion. So that would be Kroenke doubling his money.

As a trader/investor, he makes his money on the share price. Buys low, sells high. So over 100% profit, half a billion pound made, on a 10 year investment. An investor in it for the money would sell. But Kroenke hasn’t. Does he think the price will continue to increase (Usmanov has already offered well over the recent trading price shares)? Or is he simply not in it to make money?

If he owned Arsenal purely to make money, he would have accepted the Usmanov offer.

Ego

Why does the man with a $1.1b yacht commission the build of a $1.4b yacht?

Because his mate moored up next door to him in the harbour has just turned up with a $1.25b yacht.

It is all about ego. All about being ahead of the jonesys. Football clubs, like NFL teams, NBA teams, F1 teams, houses on every continent, 10 houses in London, super cars, and everything else a billionaire buys is basically an ego boost.

I do a lot of work in the luxury housing market. Billions are always buying a new property. Expanding their current property. Putting in a new iceberg basement. Buying the Chelsea townhouse next door and knocking the doors through. They barely live in this property, so why spend the money? Because they can, and because it means their house is bigger, better, more luxurious then their friends from Siberia, Qatar or Texas.

It is all for ego, and own sports clubs is exactly that.

In America, owning an NFL team is a sign that you have made it. Add in an NBA and NBL team and even better. NHL on top and you can boast about it when at the super secret meetings these people have.

Premier League sides are in that category. There is little difference between having $7.5b worth and $8b worth. But if your Premier League side has beaten a friends, or your NFL side wins the Super Bowl, it allows you to boast.

It is rivalry that all of us face at work with our colleagues, but just on a bigger, more expensive, scale.

The thing is Kroenke’s teams do not win things. They are all average. So what does he boast about on the Freemason’s yacht with his fellow Illuminati? He does not run successful teams. They are all failures. So maybe he does not own Arsenal (and his other franchises) for an ego boast?

 

Kroenke is a dangerous investor. He is an investor that no one really understands why he owns the teams he owns. It is not love, it is not money, it is not ego.

Why does Kroenke own Arsenal Football Club?

Keenos

How will Sead Kolasinac fit in at Arsenal

So the deal for Bosnian left back Sead Kolasinac is complete. We are just waiting for it to be nnounced on arsenal.com. Our first signing of the season. Great news.

Kolasinac is a player who many know little about. Unless you watch regular Bundesliga football, you would never have seen him play. I will be honest, I have not seen him. Not one bit. No clips, no highlights, no YouTube. I have never used in on FIFA or signed him on Football Manager.

The majority of stuff you would have read on him so far is by people with a similar experience of him as me. They know nothing. They look at Wikipedia and write an article round that for hits. To try and show that they know about him. When in reality they know almost nothing. So lets try and build a profile as to where he fits in based on what we can research:

Kolasinac is German born but opted to play for Bosnia. It feels like Arsene Wenger’s choice of player at the moment is Central Europeans with Eastern European heritage.

Last seasons two major signings – Granit Xhaka & Shkodran Mustafi – both had Albanian heritage. Add in Mesut Ozil, German born to Turkish immigrants, there is something Wenger clearly likes of these players. It reminds me of the late 90s when Frenchmen with African or Caribbean roots were all the rage.

Having players of a similar background to Kolasinac will help him settle quick. There are players that share is natural tongue, share his religion and share his heritage already at the club. He certainly won’t struggle to fit into the squad. So where does he fit into the team?

Kolasinac has apparently impressed at left back this season for Schalke. We only really know this because he has been shortlisted for the Bundlesiga Team. For all we know, every other left back in Germany could be useless.

If Arsenal return to four at the back next season, he will surely be a shoe-in for left back. Or at the least be competing with Nacho Monreal. His signing would probably mean the end of Kieran Gibbs if we stick to 4 at the back.

If we were to move to 3 at the back, Kolasinac could give us a few options.

The first is he plays left wing back. Having not seen him play, I would have to question the following:

  1. Is he attacking – There is no point playing a wing back who’s natural inclination is defence over attack. We need them to provide width.
  2. Can he cross – The wing backs are the main source of balls into the box, as we have seen recently with both Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Hector Bellerin. If he crosses like Gael Clichy, he is pointless.
  3. Can he get up and down – At wing back you need to have stamina. You are expected to be the winger and the full back at the same time. Providing the width, as well as providing defensive cover. Does he have the stamina to go for 90 minutes, and the pace to get back when caught up the field?

I am sure there are some out there who know (and many others who will pretend to know) whether he has the attributes to play wing back.

If he plays wing back, we could see the continuation of Nacho Monreal on the left sided of the back 3. He has played well there recently and could give Kolasinac the natural cover when he bombs forward.

The alternative is to move Kolasinac inside and play him as part of the back 3. At 6ft (thanks Wikipedia) he does have the height to play there, but again, having not seen him play, Iwould also like to raise the following:

  1. Is he defensive – Playing centre back, you need to have good positions. You can make up for a lot of physical attributes if you actually know the role. He will be a liability if constantly out of position.
  2. Is he good in the air – If he cant jump, or head the ball, he will be exposed at the back post time and again.
  3. Is he physical enough – Strikers bully defenders in the Premier League. Rob Holding has shown recently that to excel, you have to ensure you are not bullied.

Personally, having never seen Kolasinac play, I like the idea of him moving into centre back. He looks a physical specimen (in his Wikipedia picture) and being naturally left footed, would bring some balance to the back 3.

The wide centre backs do need to be comfortable on the ball, comfortable at full back when they are pulled across in defence, and be happy getting forward in support of the full back on their side.

On the right hand side, Mustafi fulfils a lot of these requirements. A strong centre back who has played right back. The balance is there. At the moment whilst Nacho Monreal has played well, he does look like a bit of a round peg in a squad hole. Kolasinac could bring the balance to the left hand side with Koscielny marshalling the troops in the middle.

If we stick to a back 3, I would imagine it would be either Monreal or Kolasinac at centre back, with the other at full back. Luckily with no international tournament this summer, we have the time to work on different systems, and different players within those systems, so that we can start the season with the best players in the best positions.

I am just glad we have got a deal done early and strengthened the left hand side of our defence (whether it be at full back or centre back).

Keenos