Tag Archives: Bayern Munich

Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez, Jack Wilshere, Arsenal’s Defensive Crisis & More

So a week or so without blogging has done me well. I feel refreshed, I have learnt some new words, and I have actually got some proper work done. But I am back, and I thought a good way to start off would be a recap of stuff that I would have blogged on in the last few weeks…

Mesut Ozil & Alexis Sanchez

Speculation is increasing that both will leave on a free in the summer. I would have dumped them both last summer and got in some replacements. My opinion is the same for January. Take what we can, and get in some replacements (Thomas Lemar and Julian Draxler still getting talked about).

Harry Winks

Who? Was what I asked when he got called up for England.

It turns out he plays for Spurs, and has started 4 Premier League games in his career. Good job devaluing the shirt Gareth. Still baffles me as to how Theo Walcott fails to make the England squad whilst the links of Jesse Lingard and this Winks fella get in.

THAT Spurs Book

White Hart Lane: The Spurs Glory Years 1899-2017

  • 2 League titles
  • 8 FA Cups

Arsene Wenger: We Want You to Stay 1996-2017

  • 3 League titles
  • 7 FA Cups

Spurs really are a deluded bunch.

“Super Clubs”

A lot has been written in recent years about Super Clubs. The likes of Manchester United, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich. A lot of what has been written is positive, blue prints on how they got to where they are, and how others should attain to get there.

Whilst the likes of the 4 previously mentioned sides, alongside the likes of Juventus. Inter and AC Milan are at the top of the footballing hierarchy, the life of a football club is cyclical, and just because you eat from the top table, does not mean you will not have your struggles.

Man U, for example, have not been the same since Sir Alex Ferguson left. The other British Super Club, Liverpool, are 26 years without a title.

Bayern Munich, after years of everyone saying this is how you run a club seem to be intent in ripping themselves apart through internal politics. Whilst the famed Barcelona La Masia academy seems to be no longer producing world superstars.

Real Madrid sit 7 points off top and have won just 2 league titles in 10 years.

The two Milan clubs have also struggled since Juventus returned from the match fixing scandal.

These are all great clubs. They have the history, the success, the European trophies. Yet they are like every other club, they have good periods and bad periods.

Arsenal are not at that top table. We have never been, and whilst we wish we were at the top, the fact is we are the level below.

Every clubs have their troubles, no matter if they are a super club, the one we should all dream to become, the one which we all try and copy. No one is immune from a poor period, a period of turmoil.

Sean Dyche for Arsenal

So Ian Wright said Sean Dyche could be the next Arsenal manager. Whilst I agree that Arsenal legends should not be abused for their view, they are not free from criticism. And this view point is just a little bit silly from Ian Wright.

I have seen some fans backing him. “Anyone but that c**T Wenger” I saw one Facebook post from an admin of a page with 25,000 people. This is just stupidity.

The majority of us believe that Arsene Wenger’s time is over, but it should not be anyone but Wenger. This is just stupid.

When Wenger does go, we need to get an elite manager. A proven winner. Do not let your agenda lead you down a path of anyone but Wenger.

Jack Wilshere

After two poor England performances, where the side lacked creativity, plenty are calling for Jack Wilshere to be rushed back into the first team.

We all know that Wilshere is England’s best central midfielder, and if fit, starts. But let’s not rush him.

I would not play him in any international friendly until the World Cup preparation starts at the end of the season. Concentrate on letting him get fit, and stay fit. The 2 weeks off every few weeks will do him the world of good. Then at the World Cup, he will (hopefully) be fit and ready to go.

What is the point in playing him in meaningless friendlies?

Defensive Crisis

So Shkodran Mustafi pulled up with what looked like a hamstring problem for Germany against Azerbaijan. It has also been reported as a thigh strain.

With Laurent Koscielny plagued once more by his troublesome achilles, it is being reported that Arsenal face a defensive crisis ahead of the game against Watford.

The usual moaners are complaining that we did not buy a centre back in the summer.

If the above two are out, it still leaves us with Rob Holding, Per Mertesacker and Nacho Monreal as the back 3. That is the same back 3 that won us the FA Cup Final. And we still have Calum Chambers in reserve.

I would not be surprised if Koscielny is fit to start on Saturday. His withdrawal from the French squad is more of a precaution.

But if he is out, we are certainly not in a defensive crisis.

The International Break

Mixed results for Arsenal players, as Mohamed Elneny, Alex Iwobi, Olivier Giroud, Nacho Monreal and Alexandre Lacazette helped their countries qualify.

Meanwhile Aaron Ramsey Wales and Sead Kolasinac’s Serbia just missed out on a play off.

I did smile when I read the moody dog shagger Alexis Sanchez will not be at the World Cup. Call me petty, but whilst he (and Mesut Ozil) want out of Arsenal, I want as little success for the pair as possible – unless it is in an Arsenal shirt.



Doors close as Alexis Sanchez set for Arsenal stay

When one door closes, another door is supposed to open. That is according to Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone.

But for Alexis Sanchez, is seems as one door closes, another slams shut just as he starts to think about going through it.

A few weeks ago, Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness seemed to rule the German club out of signing the Chilean.

“If we want to win the Champions League we’ll have to invest but we can’t spend crazy money,” Hoeness told Fox Sports.

“We are not going to pay €100million [£87m] to get [Marco] Verratti or €25million [£22m] a year to get Sanchez.”

Hoeness’ claims come after he told German outlet Kicker the club would be unlikely to invest in older players this summer.

“You can’t build a new team with €100million transfers for 29 and 30-year-olds. That isn’t a policy,” he said.

“Either we go down this road with all these young players, all getting a chance to play, or we don’t go down this road.”

Having spent about £200m this summer – £120m of that on three full-backs, Pep Guardiola announced this weekend that “We don’t have too much more to spend but we are going to see.”

When asked if he was planning to bring in a central defender to the club, he responded that the club “will try”.

It is clear and obvious to all that, with the oil well nearly dry for the summer, that a new central defender is a priority for Guardiola, not Alexis Sanchez.

The final club who have shown some interest in the 28 year old are PSG. But it seems that Barcelona’s Brazilian forward Neymar is their number on target (and if Neymar does sign, it shows footballers only really care about the money).

All the doors seem to be closing for Sanchez.

He will remain at Arsenal.


Why did Arsenal tour Australia and China (and other pre-season stuff)

Since the 3-0 defeat to Chelsea, the fans which seem to over analyse every single thing the club do, those that act as if they are scouts, coaches, managers, doctors and players, have now over analysed our pre-season tour of Australia and China.

Going to China and Australia

A big question they have asked is Why have Arsenal gone to Australia and China? The simple answer is money.

It is fairly obvious why teams, and not just Arsenal, travel the globe on pre-season tours. Money and to build the global brand.

I am fully on the globalisation of the modern game has ruined it for local fans bandwagon, and I would rather the Chinese stuck to their Super League, Australian’s stuck to cricket, and American’s kept inventing sports that they win at because they do not let anyone else play.

But the modern game is what it is. The elastic has broken. There is no going back. I will not sit and accept it, but I will understand why clubs do what they do.

The actual pounds, shilling and pence sides get from these trips abroad is not grand, but the money flows down from the brand building exercise. The extra shirts sold, the extra fans who start following the club.

It creates a buzz in these countries as well. One look at Twitter to see how excited Sydney based fans were about Arsenal coming to town. These might not be die hard, week in week out fans that are the ‘norm’ but they are fans none the less. They get up at silly o’clock to watch a game. They save the price of a season ticket just to get a flight to the UK to watch us play Stoke.

Sides have even started doing post-season tours (although teams were doing these 2 decades ago as well). And trips to China are not a new thing. In the 90s, Arsenal had an infamous trip to Hong Kong.

And it is not just English sides.

Arsenal played Bayern Munich in China. Manchester United played Real Madrid in America.

I am not a fan of them, but if playing these sides means there is no 39th game, I can support them.

Why Chelsea? Why not Barnet?

When I used to play Football Manager, I used to organise a yearly tour of the UK, where I would pit my awesome Arsenal team against half a dozen non league teams. I would win every game 30-0 with Cherno Samba scoring 50-odd pre season goals. It was a bit of fan. And most importantly, it was a game.

I see Arsenal fans complaining that we are playing Chelsea in China rather than Barnet in Britain.

The simple answer once again is money, and brand building (I actually hate this, we are not a brand, we are a football club, but as I said above, the elastic is broken).

Arsenal v Chelsea was live on ITV on Saturday lunchtime. If Arsenal played Barnet, it would not have been shown anywhere.

Also, surely the more competitive a game, the better, in pre season.

When I used to do a tour of the lower leagues on Football Manager, it did not really matter the games were uncompetitive, as it was just a game.

If Arsenal did the same, players would be unprepared, under cooked. There is simply no value playing a lower league side and spanking them.

When Arsenal used to play the likes of Barnet, the side would often me a couple of senior players who were not yet fully fit, and a lot of youth.

Arsenal’s U23’s are set to play both Borhamwood and Leyton Orient. So Arsenal are not ignoring their local lower league sides, they are merely sending the youths out for games which will sell-out.

I would much rather see the team get a slightly more competitive run out against Bayern Munich and Chelsea, rather then see our senior players playing in Barnet or Leyton.

Why not play Lacazette 90 minutes, every game?

One laughable I comment I saw was a plonker saying “Why hasn’t Alexandre Lacazette played the full 90 minutes”. Well again, it is pre season.

Overplay a player, and he gets injured, the same attention seekers will probably be moaning that he has been over played.

Lacazette played 22 minutes against Sydney in the first pre-season game. He started against New South Wales, before being substituted with the rest of the starting XI after 66 minutes.

On the tour of Australia, every senior player got a full 90 minutes, spread over the two games. In the first the starting XI were taking off after 66 minutes, in the second, every player who didn’t start the first, started, and got subbed after 66 minutes.

Better to ease players in, giving them time split across a few games, then a full 90 minutes one game, then nothing the next. It reduces the chance of them going into the dreaded red zone.

Against Bayern Munich and Chelsea, Lacazette got 45 minutes in each game.

Pre-season is about getting the squad fit and ready, if Lacazette played 90 minutes, every game, like some want, it would mean the likes of Olivier Giroud and Danny Welbeck would miss out on game time.

It is important to get every player in the squad fit, and limit the injuries.

Why were we jaded?

The excuses came out from Arsene Wenger after the defeat that the players were jaded. This got everyone’s back up and got people demanding “why are we jaded in pre season”. Simple answer really. Training.

Anyone who has ever done any competitive sport to a high level (and I am talking about more than just playing Sunday League football) will understand what it means to truly train for a competition.

You have peaks and troughs in training. Times when you are training hard, other times when you take the foot off the pedal. You end up tapering for a certain competition.

For someone like Adam Peaty, the world record breaking British swimmer, he would have tapered his training and peaked for the weekends gold medal attempt.

Had he has the world’s at the weekend, but also been asked to compete a month ago, he would have said that he was tired, not fully prepared. And this is because he would have been at the height of his training.

At the minute, Arsenal are trying to get prepared for the new season. There is no point peaking for a pre-season game against Chelsea. The side would have been doing intensive double training sessions to get ready for the first game of the season. The players will be tired. Their muscles still filled with lactic acid from last nights training session.

A team like Arsenal do not want to peak for the first game of the season. They want to be peaking in about March, when hopefully we are in the title race still, the players will be in peak condition ready to run away with it. In theory.

In the past, the likes of David Moyes at Everton and numerous managers at Spurs got their teams to peak from the first day of the season. This meant that they accumulated a lot of points pre-Christmas, but ran out of steam at the business end of the season.

You also see a lot of the lower clubs aim to peak earlier in the season, to get the points on the board so that they are ahead of the relegation battle curve.

I have no issue with Arsenal being tired at the weekend, as it just means that they are training hard.

Why take youngsters?

Finally we come on to the youngsters who are out on tour.

The likes of Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Connor Bramall at times looked out of their depth against Chelsea. This lead many critics to moan that they should have been left at home with the U23s where they belong.

Well this is another key point. It is pre-season. It is a chance to take a handful of youngster to see if they are good enough, close to being ready, to perform with the first team.

People (probably the same people) moan that youngsters do not get the chance, then they moan that they should not be given that chance. Pre-season is the perfect time to blood a handful of youngsters into the first team squad.

With Arsenal set to have Europa League and League Cup games in the first half of the season, getting an early look at some of these youngsters is important.

Reiss Nelson looked good, looked sharp. He was a positive. And highlighted exactly why you take these young players in tour.

3 weeks ago, Reiss Nelson was just another Arsenal youngster. Now everyone is exited to see how he will develop in the lesser competitions. And this would not have happened if he did not get his chance at pre-season.

It is very easy to read too much into pre-season results, but the important thing is not the results, but that we are prepared. Not prepared for the Emirates Cup, or even the Community Shield, but prepared for Leicester at home on Friday 11th August.

Stop moaning.