Tag Archives: Dennis Bergkamp

As Arsenal are changing, some fans also need to change

A great man once said “do you like Arsenal? Or just Arsenal with trophies”.

I was reminded by what Dennis Bergkamp said as I scrolled through social media on Monday following Sunday’s disappointing draw with Wolverhampton Wanderers.

It was like suddenly we were transported back 12 months ago, with the fan complaining, moaning and criticism that defined the end of the end of the Arsene Wenger era.

One comment I saw that really resonated with was that this Arsenal was the Arsenal they fell in love with. That their Arsenal “were a winning Arsenal not just making up the numbers”. This was amongst many tweets that I read they made me realise that some of our fans will never be happy unless we are winning trophies.

But it is not just trophies that they want. It is these trophies. The Premier League, the Champions League.

These same people complained that winning the FA Cup was not good enough. So it is not that they only love Arsenal with trophies; they love Arsenal with league titles.

We all spent 6 months or more (I saw one idiot saying he has been Wenger Out since 2001!). That change has come.

Arsene Wenger. GONE. Ivan Gazidis GONE. Majority of the coaching staff. GONE. And in his come Unai Emery, with his own staff, alongside Raul Sanllehi and Sven Mislintat. Change has happened, and Arsenal have moved forward.

But some of these fans have seemingly not moved forward. They demanded “Time to Change” but they have not changed themselves.

They are on to the next one. Criticising the players, already on the managers back. Moaning that the club did not spend enough money, and demanding Stan Kroenke to put in his billions or leave.

And it is billions that Kroenke would have to put in.

We have all read the stories about Manchester City and the £2.7bn investment that Sheikh Mansoor has put into the club. It is with that huge investment that has enabled Manchester City to have one of the strongest 25 man squads seen in the game.

Yesterday Arsenal looked short on the bench. On game changers. Manchester City’s starting XI was without Kevin de Bruyne, Vincent Kompany, Leroy Sane, Gabriel Jesus & Ilkay Gundogan. These 5 players would start for every Premier League side. And City brushed aside Manchester United 3-1 without them starting.

These fans who are moaning will not be happy until we win the title. City is what we need to match, need to beat, to win the title. I think anyone who would expect an owner to put in £2.7bn, to write it off, are completely unreasonable. There are two sides in world football doing this at the moment. City and PSG.

The fact that fans also think Kroenke has the spending power to compete shows how naive they are when it comes to business, and net worth.

Forbes estimate Kroenke to be worth $8.5bn (£6.5m). But this is net worth, this is not how much spare cash he has under his sofa.

This worth is tied up in hundreds of investments. From personal homes and ranches, to various sports clubs around the world. The recent buy out of Arsenal shares valued the club at £1.8bn. That is 27% of Kroenke’s net worth.

For Kroenke to be able to put up the kind of money Manchester City have spent, he would have to take huge loans against his businesses. Against Arsenal.

Would you be happy Kroenke mortgaging Arsenal further to the hilt to win a league title? I certainly wouldn’t.

Imagine the outcry if it was announced Kroenke was taking a £1bn loan out against Arsenal to spend on transfers, salaries and more. It is that kind of action that could make Arsenal the next Leeds or Portsmouth. Where you are in debt up to your eyeballs.

Matching Manchester City’s spending power is just not realistic.

“but Liverpool are challenging”.

You are right, Liverpool are unbeaten and just 2 points behind Manchester City after 12 games. But last season they finished 25 points behind them in 4th place.

They were also in 4th place the year before, 17 points behind champions Chelsea (and just 1 point ahead of Arsenal). So how about we judge if Liverpool have put up a title challenge once we are in the business end of the season.

Also, by putting Liverpool as the example of a side competing makes it even more silly that fans are already getting on the back of Emery.

Jurgen Klopp is in his 4th season at Liverpool. He has had 6 transfer windows. Spent over £380m. It we are going to compare Emery to Klopp, should we not give the Spaniard the same time the German has had before becoming critical?

In his 3 completed seasons at Liverpool, Klopp has led them to 8th, 4th & 4th with no trophies won. It is odd that the fans who are moaning that we currently sit 5th. That Arsenal without trophies is not the Arsenal they love; yet they praise a Liverpool side that has not won anything in a decade.

Most sensible fans would have known that it would take Emery more than 6 months and one transfer window to fix Arsenal.

We are still a left back, a centre back and 2 wingers short of being a side that would compete for second (and another £2.5bn off a team that could be champions).

Klopp has had the time to build Liverpool in his vision. He has spent big on the likes of Allison, Virgil van Dijk & Mo Salah. Arsenal will make these signings as time goes on. But we can not expect us to go out and spend £250m in one transfer window to immediately close the gap.

A final thought is right now fans will say but what about Leicester.

It is about time the fans realised that Leicester was a one off. And one of the main reasons they won the league was because of Manchester City’s failure.

Leicester won the league with 81 points. City got just 66 points that season.

To put that into perspective, Arsenal got just 3 points less (63) last season than City did in Leicester’s title winning season.

I am of the feeling that for teams to finish above City, you firstly need them to have a poor season. You could have a brilliant season, get 85+ points, and City will be near or above the 90 point mark.

Emery needs time. The new Arsenal regime need time.

If you are not willing to give the new management team time; or demand that we replicate Manchester City style spending, then you clearly do not love Arsenal. You only love Arsenal with trophies.

Keenos

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The time Jamie Carragher threw a coin at a fan

With 20 minutes of an incredibly bad-tempered FA Cup fourth round tie at Highbury remaining, Dennis Bergkamp found himself red-carded for a decidedly ‘stampy’ challenge on Jamie Carragher out near the touchline.

Bergkamp’s dismissal proved to be an instant flashpoint, with one particularly incensed Arsenal fan pelting a coin at Carragher.

The Liverpool defender reacted badly, picking up the coin and hurling it back into the crowd in the general direction from whence it came. Referee Mike Riley wasted no time in sending him off down the tunnel too.

This all coming a matter of minutes after Riley had sent off Martin Keown for a professional foul on Michael Owen. Tempestuous doesn’t even begin to cover it.

Anyway, Carragher immediately apologised for his actions after the game, accepting it was wrong for him to react in the way he had.

I regret what happened at Highbury because I let the club, the fans, my team-mates and myself down. No matter what the physical or verbal provocation, I shouldn’t have reacted like that I would like to apologise for any offence caused.

I was frustrated and did it without thinking in the heat of the moment. Anyone who has seen me play regularly will realise it was completely out of character but I’m not going to make excuses.

I was wrong and as a professional football player I should have known better. It’s a mistake I won’t make again.

The full and frank apology saw Carragher escape a police charge though he was issued with a formal warning and fined £40,000 by Liverpool for his sins.

Two fans who allegedly received injuries when the coin was thrown back into the terraces both declined to make allegations, and Arsenal pledged to issue a lifetime ban to the supporter responsible for hurling the coin if the club’s security team managed to successfully identify them.

For the record, Arsenal won the game 1-0 on what was, all in all, a pretty manic old afternoon in North London.

Keenos

How do The Invincibles and Class of 2017 compare?

Yesterday Arsene Wenger cam out and claimed his current crop of forwards was the best options he has had in his 2 decades at the club, surpassing the invicibles:

“Certainly numbers-wise and quality-wise together [they are the best],” Wenger said ahead of today’s clash with struggling Watford.

“We had never so many players who could perform and score goals – certainly never.

“Dennis and Thierry had the quality but we did not have a large number. We had Sylvain Wiltord and Robert Pires as well so it was not bad.”

Many have used this of further proof that Arsene Wenger is a deluded old man who has gone senile. It is further quotes to prove that he now looks at the current set up through rose tinted glasses.

Arsenal’s current forward options are: Olivier Giroud, Danny Welbeck, Alexis Sanchez, Theo Walcott, Mesut Ozil & Lucas Perez. How can these compare to Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp, Freddie Ljungberg, Robert Pires, Kanu and Sylvain Wiltord. The invincibles.

Well the statistics do make for interesting reading:

Invincibles v Class of 2017

goals-in-order

So the Invincibles scored a goal every 2.96 games. Whilst the Class of 2017 are a goal every 3.01 games. Almost nothing in it. We are talking about a 5 minute difference. But of course, it disproves Arsene Wenger’s point. The Invincibles were superior goal scorers, but only just. And probably not by as much as people think.

For me there are main differences between the two groups of players is top end quality. The Invincibles had Thierry Henry.

Henry is by far and away the most clinical player out of the 12 players and the primary reason that the Invincibles scored more than the Class of 2017.

A minor reason is Dennis Bergkamp against Mesut Ozil. Bergkamp was much more of a striker than Mesut Ozil. Scored more goals.

Henry better than Giroud, Bergkamp better than Ozil. When you combine all 12 players into a single long list, it makes equally as interesting reading.

Long List

long-list

This list further proves that Henry was superior to every other player. Our greatest goal scorer of all time. But the next two on the list are interesting. Both from the Class of 2017. This shows that whilst the Invincibles were heavily reliant on goals from Henry, the Class of 2017 has two goal scoring options.

Lucas Perez has to kind of be disregarded as he has played so few games to make a true judgement.

You then have the next 5. Pires, Bergkamp, Wiltord, Welbeck & Walcott. Very similar games to goal ratio.

So the Invincibles had the best goal scorer, but the Class of 2017 had the better options.

Player v Player

side-by-sideA last comparison is just seeing players per their position.

Again, this highlights the importance of Henry and Bergkamp. Henry is vastly superior to Giroud. Bergkamp better than Ozil. This is not exactly ground breaking news.

On the left hand side, Sanchez out scores Pires, which again is not exactly surprising. Sanchez is better than Pires.

The right hand side of the midfield might surprise you. Walcott is more dangerous than Ljungberg.

Wiltord and Welbeck are both hardworking strikers who also cover the wide positions. Wiltord had played a lot more than Welbeck, but their record is identical.

Lastly we have Perez v Kanu. Not similar in style, but they are the lost ones left. Kanu on his day was a game changer, but was extremely inconsistent. A scorer of great goals, rather than a great goal scorer.

 

I think it is wrong to compare the Invincibles to the Class of 2017. The Invincibles won league titles, and went unbeaten. Add in a lot of FA Cups. Whilst the current crop have just those 2 FA Cups to show for their efforts. But the comparison does make interesting reading, and the difference is not as much as you would think.

The difference is Bergkamp and Henry.

Keenos

Note: I know I spelt Wiltord’s name wrong in the pretty pictures