Tag Archives: Arsène Wenger

Wenger set for Arsenal summer exit

Last season, we were promised a “big shake up” at Arsenal by Ivan Gazidis.

There was talk of a Director of Football coming in and a host of back room changes.

What materialised was Arsene Wenger signed a new two year deal and not much really changes bar a fitness and some dude from Sky coming in.

More recently, we also saw Dick Law, the man who could not negotiate, leave the club. I imagine he didn’t negotiate his own severance package.

So two more years of same old rubbish with Arsene Wenger, it seemed.

Well maybe not. The moves being made over the last week or so could lead to Arsene Wenger’s exit as early as the end of the season, leaving his role a year before his contract is due to expire.

Just yesterday it was announced that Arsenal had hired Borussia Dortmund’s highly-rated chief scout Sven Mislintat as their new head of recruitment.

The 45-year-old German has been brought in to oversee the club’s scouting and recruitment alongside manager Arsene Wenger and chief executive Ivan Gazidis.

Chief scout Steve Rowley has stepped down from his role but will continue working with the club on a consultancy basis during a phase.

The news of Arsene Wenger’s loyal eyes Steve Rowley leaving is as big as Mislintat coming in.

Rowley, 58, who pre-dates Wenger’s 1996 arrival, will step down as chief scout. He was with Wenger through his successful first decade at Arsenal and beyond, elevated to the position of chief scout by the current Arsenal manager having worked his way up the hierarchy.

He is most certainly one of Wenger’s men.

On the heels of this news is the continual gossip of a new Director of Football coming in.

Despite Wenger previously dismissing the idea, and Gazidis being voted down, the CEO has pressed with his search and seems close to making a decision.

Reports from Germany indicate that Arsenal are ‘set to pay £1.75m’ to buy Michael Zorc out of Borussia Dortmund contract and appoint him in new sporting director role.

There has also been continual talk out of Spain that Gazidis is preparing for Wengers exit and wants to hire Barcelona’s Director of Football Raul Sanllehi.

These big moves will loosen the grip of Arsene Wenger, as scouting of players and the overall running of the club look to be taken away from him.

The only logical conclusion of all this is that Wenger is likely to leave Arsenal this summer, with the new management structure having bedded down and appoint their own man.

This could be the last season Wenger has at Arsenal.

Keenos

Advertisements

Wenger facing selection headaches ahead of North London Derby

Giroud v Lacazette

The £50m man against the old trusty horse. A friend of mine message me on Wednesday;

Lacazette scores two goals against Germany last night. Back on the bench on Saturday though I bet.

I responded;

Giroud scored against Wales last Thursday. Back on the bench on Saturday I bet.

My point being that Olivier Giroud usually starts ahead of Alexandre Lacazette for his country.

Giroud and Lacazette are both very good strikers. But also both very different strikers.

Each players brings something different to the table. Giroud is class with his back to call, can hold the ball up, and is powerful in the box. He is not going to run clean through. He benefits when defences play deep,

Lacazette, meanwhile, is quicker, can spin in behind, and finds space in the box like the fox he is. His build up play is not the best, and he does struggle when teams defend deeper.

The key is playing the right man against the right team.

There is no point playing Olivier Giroud against Manchester City, who defend on the half way line. He would be more suited than Lacazette, however, playing against a side like Leicester, who tend to defend deep.

Against City, Wenger decided neither was his preferred striker and went for Alexis Sanchez instead. I understood the decision, that Wenger felt it would take individual magic to score a goal and Lacazette was his man. But we only started to look a threat when Lacazette came on.

So who is the best man to play against Spurs? Giroud or Lacazette?

Then thrown Danny Welbeck into the mix.

Sanchez and Ozil

Does Wenger stick with the contract rebels, the two best players in the team, or does he say to Mesut Ozil and/or Alexis Sanchez “lads, time for you to F off”.

It would be pretty pointless to do the latter. I see some on social media saying if they are not prepared to be part of our future, they should not be part of our present. In theory, I do understand this, but then we should have sold both in the summer.

If we are going to drop the pair now, we should have shipped them both out in August no matter if we had replacements lined up.

Not playing them now is denying ourselves of our best players and not getting a transfer fee for them.

Both seem to be going up and down with their moods. The pair were brilliant against Everton, but have then been awful against other sides.

Do you maybe go the mid-ground and only play one at a time?

Solve the Lacazette / Giroud conundrum by dropping Sanchez or Ozil and go 2 up top? Or push Ramsey higher up the field alongside one of them. Or even Wilshere.

Sanchez seems to have overtaken Ozil as peoples favourite to not play at the moment. His sulking at team mates is annoying people. But then he never went on international duty over the last two weeks, whilst Ozil played (and assisted brilliantly) in the 2-2 draw with France.

Alexis will be fresh.

Play the pair and they are in the mood, we win comfortably. If they are not in the mood, we might as well be playing with 9 men.

Jack Wilshere

Another 2 weeks training under his belt, Jack Wilshere is getting stronger.

Against someone like Spurs, we need pride and passion. And he has that. But is he ready to be thrown in at the deep end in what is one of our biggest games of the season?

Tottenham’s strength is in the two men behind Harry Kane.

Dele Alli and Cristian Erickson run the show. They have goals and assists in them aplenty and, if given the freedom to operate between the defence and midfield, they are deadly – as Erickson showed midweek against Southern Ireland.

Aaron Ramsey and Granit Xhaka have looked average defensively this season. Defending is not Jack’s strength, so would it really be improving things by playing him?

Maybe the better bet would be to play Francis Coquelin? Put him on a man marking job on Alli. Get him under Alli’s skin?

Or do we fight fire with fire, play Wilshere, and try and exploit the space Spurs leave between defence and midfield. The best form of defence is often attack.

Another option could be to go for a solid 3.

That would mean sacrificing one of Ozil and Sanchez, but is certainly an option.

 

Wenger certainly has a few selection headaches coming up for tomorrows game.

Get it right, and we win, get it wrong, and the pressure will increase further.

Keenos

 

When Arsenal’s anger turns to apathy


The morning after the night before. Another morning after another night before. We’ve been here a few times in recent years but something is different.

The anger is subsiding and the apathy is creeping in. I’ve noticed it all season, Liverpool was a great example. Another humiliating display of football and very little reaction from the travelling supporters. We trudged out of Anfield as we did Stoke with no real feeling.  

Friday morning I woke up to various social media statuses that were simply accepting. Few rants, but no real feeling behind it. Let’s face it, it was another very typical Arsenal performance. I’ve said it so many times, it really doesn’t matter who our starting 11 are we, we are average, boring and predictable. We are playing football Wengers way. Loads of possession, poor finishing, dubious defending……it’s now just the norm.

To get us to this level has cost millions in investment to the training facilities and academies, we were told they were amongst the best in the world.

What we saw Thursday was supposed to be our future. Let that sink in. That is our future. That was a result of all that investment. That is solely on Wengers shoulders, not the board, Wengers.

We had one player in the under 17’s World Cup squad. How? What’s happening to these promising youngsters with big hopes and dreams? 

But this was all predicted by many years ago. Be careful what you wish for. We were, that’s why we fought against it. That’s why we held banners and protested. 

In my last article I wrote about the fans. I liken what is happening to the grief cycle. First the denial, some are still there. ‘He’s the greatest manager we’ve ever had’, ‘he revolutionised football’. Then the anger kicks in, ‘This can’t be happening, let’s fight against it’. We will protest, we will sing, we will hold banners. Problem is no one listened and too few of us did it.

Then we get into bargaining, if only we had different personnel things may be different. Then the depression follows, we are nearly there, nearly ready to accept the inevitable and finally the acceptance. This is where we are now. The apathy is at every game, on every social media group and page. The ground is full of no feeling at all. 

Thursday night saw another low attendance. People aren’t staying away because it’s too expensive, they are staying away because the football is absolutely diabolical. 

It may be different if we had something to look forward to. We were all getting a little bit more excited at the prospect of young Eddie coming through and the return of Jack. But we are putting a robin reliant engine into a Porsche shell. I feel I can confidently say that young Eddie will either not be at the club in two years or he will be a shadow of the player that we have seen so far. None of us will have to look back too far to give examples of this being the norm for us. 

When we have a manger who is as silent as his boss upstairs it’s no surprise really is it? He sits there looking as disinterested as us. No passion, no leadership, no class. Slowly this has been creeping into the seats where we sit, where we used to sing and we used to support. Every so often we are thrown a crumb. 1 decent performance in 6 and a little hope is restored.

What we have now, and have had for a long time, is a club in crisis. Even Ivan said when the manager has lost the fans there is no going back. We have no football strategy from what I can see. We fall into each season sticking a few plasters on, plugging a few gaps, only to spring a leak somewhere else. 

I don’t think Wenger could tell you where he sees the club in two years. I am very confident that he couldn’t tell you how he was going to get there. 

Sunday sees us travelling to Manchester.

I asked my son if he wanted to come. He didn’t have to think about it, he’s going to watch Leatherhead v Billericay instead. He will have a great day whatever the outcome, be amongst fans with hope and belief and pride. I will be in Manchester, I suspect having the same conversations with the same people that I have had over ten years or more. 

One final word, should we be given another crumb on Sunday, remember it is a crumb, another token gesture, it’s all part of the successful brainwashing that is taking place from within the walls of Wengers castle. 

Poor regular football is one thing, accepting it is far worse. Making excuses and blaming those who don’t pick and motivate the team is extraordinary.  
JD