Tag Archives: Arsène Wenger

When apathy turns to hope

Last season I wrote about anger turning to apathy. I had had enough.  I think I even stoped caring to a certain extent.  I didn’t look forward to going to games, I didn’t enjoy the wins as much as I should have and the defeats just became expected.

I sat in a half empty stadium and would became obsessed with watching Wenger do nothing. I would have got more enjoyment going to the casino and sticking my ticket money on red or black

I wasn’t one of those who wanted us to lose for the greater good, but I couldn’t argue with that sentiment either if I am honest. The defeats no longer hurt, I didn’t even walk out with any anger in the end, I went because it’s what I’ve always done.

But now, I’m actually really enjoying this. On Saturday when the first goal went in I felt that sense of relief that had been missing for so long. I really wanted to win that game.

Lets be honest, we aren’t watching the type of football where you are scared to take your eyes of the pitch. We aren’t talking about moments of pure class that we will remember forever. But we are talking about the game again. We are talking about the result and on the whole, most of us are fairly optimistic.

Unai inherited a legacy that runs deep. The frailties have been massively exposed this year. We know what needs to be done, we know what we need to address. A good manager gets the best out of his side, Emery is doing that right now. The fact that we are seeing a new and improved Iwobi, Welbeck and Rob Holding is something I’ve waited years for. English youngsters improving and becoming an integral part of our future.  Torreira has been the anchor we have been crying out for. He sprays the ball around and makes people move. He’s not afraid of a long ball up the park to mix things up.

There won’t be many teams who fancy playing us right now.  As it stands, we are the only team in the PL who have won their last 5 league games. An Arsenal who battle it out and win ugly is not want anyone wants at this stage.

A defeat will feel disappointing again, but not expected.  We are gathering that urgency now and making winning, a habit. Many will say ‘but we’ve only played, bar City and Chelsea, average sides’. That’s absolutely true, but beating average sides gets you 3 points.

Watford are a good side, bullies,  who won’t give you any time to play your own game. We aren’t retreating like we did in days gone by. We are battling and no longer easy to get off the ball. When Ozil is sticking his foot in you know there is an aggression back in the side.

It won’t be easy this season, we will get taught a few lessons along the way. But I’m smiling again. I’m watching Match of The Day and I’m looking forward to the press conferences. I’m back in love with The Arsenal.



Santi Cazorla opens up on “lack of belief” at Arsenal

Really interesting interview with Santi Cazorla on Football Focus last weekend

“We needed to believe in ourselves more,” he told Football Focus.

“To believe that we were capable of competing with the big sides in the Premier League and not just settling for third or fourth.”

“We needed to have made that leap to try and battle it out for the title. There were seasons where you felt like we were in with a shout but then through various circumstances it wasn’t to be,” he said.

“But I think it’s all about having that self-belief, that right mentality. To say ‘We believe in this team, we know we have a great squad and we can go toe to toe with the big English clubs.’

“I believe that they will do that and for sure they will keep on improving in the future. They are going to have a great season, they have a great team and I wish them all the best.”

Santi Cazorla opens up on “lack of belief” at ArsenalSanti Cazorla opens up on “lack of belief” at Arsenal

What he highlights is that Arsenal lacked the belief that they could compete with the best in England. Both during the 90 minutes and over the course of the season.

What this highlights is that Arsene Wenger became defeatist in the latter years. That he started to feel he could not build a team that could compete, and he projected this negative mindset onto the players.

It was poor man management.

Arsenal not being able to compete with Manchester City, Chelsea or Manchester United was a valid opinion. We had a lot less to spend both in the transfer market and on players wages then these teams. But from a managerial point of view, Wenger should have been protecting his thoughts from the players.

He should have been telling the players they are brilliant, that they can become champions. Not trying to soften the blow of a defeat by pointing out that we can not expect to compete with Man City / Chelsea / Man U as we can not spend as much as them (transfers & wages).

Imagine being told by your boss “we will never be as good as our competitor because we do not have similar financial clout”. It creates a defeatist attitude leaving staff to accept second best as an achievement A good manager shields his staff and coaches them to compete – regardless of industry.

This is not just about football, but about management in general.

Managing people is no different in football to a sales office, a hedge fund or any other industry.  A managers job is to motivate and coach to improvement. No matter the industry. Projecting your negative opinion into staff will not motivate them but lead them accepting the excuses.

If players “lacked belief”, then it was Wenger’s job to motivate the players, to install that belief. If Wenger was not motivating his staff, installing belief, then it is poor management.


Transfer fees set to become obsolete?

Twelve months ago a lot was being made in the press about the contract is Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez.

“1 year left, how have Arsenal got themselves into this position” were the cries at the time.

An interesting interview with Arsene Wenger gave a glimpse into what he believed was the future.

With dramatically increasing transfer fees, the former Arsenal boss was of the opinion that the future would see a lot more players winding down their contract and leaving for no transfer fee.

That clubs would offer shorter term deals to players 2 to 3 years, a player would do his time and move on.

It would provide security to the club – knowing that if a player signed a 3 year deal he was likely to see it out – and security to the player – knowing that if he fell out of favour, he could spend a year away on loan before moving on.

For those scoffing at the opinion, writing it off as a way Wenger justifies the clubs handling of the Ozil and Sanchez contract situations, let’s look at those contracts set to expire within the next 2 years:

Manchester United


David de Gea*, Anthony Martial*, Juan Mata, Ander Herrera, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Luke Shaw, Matteo Darmian*, Antonio Valencia*, Ashley Young, Andreas Pereira


Marcus Rashford*, Nemanja Matic*, Eric Bailly, Marouane Fellaini*, Lee Grant

*Contract contains option for a further year



Aaron Ramsey, Danny Welbeck, Nacho Monreal, Petr Cech, Stephan Lichtsteiner


Laurent Koscielny, Carl Jenkinson

Manchester City


Vincent Kompany, Eliaquim Mangala, Brahim Diaz


Raheem Sterling, Sergio Aguero, Ilkay Gundogan, David Silva, Fernandinho, Fabian Delph, Oleksandr Zinchenko, Phil Foden, Claudio Bravo



Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen, Mousa Dembele, Fernando Llorente, Michel Vorm


Christian Eriksen, Vincent Janssen



Cesc Fabregas, David Luiz, Olivier Giroud, Gary Cahill, Lucas Piazon, Willy Caballero, Robert Green


Eden Hazard, Willian, Cesar Azpilicueta, Pedro, Marco van Ginkel, Ethan Ampadu



James Milner, Daniel Sturridge, Alberto Moreno, Lazar Markovic


Adam Lallana, Joel Matip, Nathaniel Clyne, Divock Origi

If you disregard the guys expiring in. 2020, you could easily build a competitive team with players whose contract expires in 12 months.

De Gea

Alderweireld Kompany Vertonghen

Milner Herrera Fabregas Shaw

Martial Ramsey


I do not think transfer fees will become completely obsolete in the future. Teams will still want to sign players under contract. But what will happen is the majority of transfer will be free, or loan deals, and fees for players under contract will become astronomical.

The future could be upon us.