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4 failed Wenger replacements: Klopp, Moyes, Martinez & de Boer

I have to start this mornings blog with some chat about Frank de Boer, sacked as manager of Crystal Palace after just 77 days.

Roll the clock back to 2013 and de Boer was top of many fans list as next Arsenal manager, alongside the likes of Jurgen Klopp, David Moyes and Roberto Martinez.

It is interesting to see how all 4 have performed in the last 4 years.

Klopp got his big move to Liverpool, where he has impressed a lot of people. But the impressive performances are more his own performances off the pitch, the way he deals with the press, the passion he shows, rather than Liverpool’s performances on it. They finished 4th in his first season, and trophyless. Fairly average.

And they have not started this season in sparkling form. Just 7 points from the opening 10 games.

Due to his relationship with the media, he seems to be able to live an easy life. Liverpool lose, he makes a joke, everything is right in the world. It will be the same if Liverpool do not win anything. He is able to create an illusion of success when there is none. He actually has a worse record than the much derided Brendan Rodgers.

It is also worth noting that Klopp has not lead a team to a trophy since the 2012 German Cup, and in his last season with Borussia Dortmund, he led them to 7th.

It will be interesting to see the response if he delivers a 2nd trophyless season, as Liverpool close in on 30 years without a league title.

Like Klopp, David Moyes also got a chance on the big stage with Manchester United where he was sacked before completing his first full season.

I actually feel sorry a bit for David Moyes as it is almost like he was set up to fail. He joined the side on the recommendation of Sir Alex Ferguson, who left him an ageing squad. They were champions in Fergie’s last year, but pretty much that summer the squad collapsed.

At the same time that Ferguson stepped down, Manchester United’s key negotiator in the transfer market – Chief Executive David Gill – also stood aside. This led Man U to have a new manager and new CEO in Ed Woodward.

A poor transfer window which saw the club miss out in a host of major targets, most famously Cesc Fabregas, Leighton Baines and Ander Herrera (who they signed the next year) and secure just one senior signing. Marouane Fellaini.

Moyes was sacked with a win percentage of 52.94%, which is favourable to the likes of Klopp (7001514000000000000♠51.4%) and Louis van Gaal (52.43%) and not too far of Jose Mourinho (57.97), who’s win %age is boosted through Europa League success.

Having been let go by Manchester United, Moyes tried his hand in Spain with Real Sociedad, before returning to England and being the man to finally get Sunderland relegated. You have to feel his reputation is now tarnished enough that he will struggle to get another Premier League job.

Replacing Moyes at Everton was Roberto Martinez. Another with a big reputation that was perhaps undeserved.

His reputation was built on playing free flowing football at Swansea City, and putting in a lot of the groundwork that saw Rodgers take them into the Premier League.

He then joined Wigan who he led to the FA Cup in 2013. Often praised for continually keeping Wigan in the Premier League against all odds, it was kind of forgotten that every time they found themselves 10 points adrift, he was manager. He was the arsonist who sets a fire and then puts it out so he can be praised as the hero.

A good first season at Everton saw them finish 5th. But they quickly slid down the table finishing 11th in the next two seasons and he was gone. It was not just the results but also the performances. Everton were trying to play like Barcelona with players who were more suited with being at Stoke.

Interestingly his replacement, Ronald Koeman has re-addressed the balance at Everton finished a solid 7uth last year.

Martinez is now manager of a very talented Belgium squad, who he has led to World Cup qualification – the first European side to be in the hat for Russia 2018 (bar the hosts). It will be interesting to see if he can complete his rehabilitation by taking Belgium’s Golden Generation all the way.

And lastly we get to Frank de Boer.

Many Arsenal fans wanted him when he was at Ajax. Partly to do with Dennis Bergkamp being involved as his assistant manager.

de Boer led Ajax to 4 consecutive Eredivisie titles, breaking a 7 year drought. Ajax have also failed to win the Dutch league title since he left. But it was a record in an inferior league. Like Brendan Rodgers in Scotland. Does it really count? Possibly not.

He went to Inter Milan in Italy, where he last 85 days before being sacked on 1st November 2016. At the time he claimed he “needed more time” in order to make a mark as manager.

A few months in the wilderness where he linked himself to many Premier League jobs, but ultimately failing to get beyond the interview stage, he eventually got himself a job at Crystal Palace.

His 85 days at Inter was beaten by his 77 days at Crystal Palace.

In hindsight, he was probably the wrong man for the Palace job.

They wanted him to change their style from a defensive, counter attacking to a possession based game. But the wish was to change tactics but without investment, using the same players who had been at the club for years. They wanted him to teach old dogs new tricks.

When Arsene Wenger came to Arsenal, he did not overly change the style of play of the club. It was still based on a solid defence, and pace upfront. It was not until his second generation of players, led by the likes of Theirry Henry and Robert Pires, when Arsenal started to play a more attacking style.

Palace seemed to demand change, but did not give him the resources for change.

He was further hampered by their two best players from last year – Sakho (unsigned) and Zaha 9injured) – being out.

After 4 games and 0 goals, Palace did the brave thing and realised that de Boer was the wrong appointment for them, Rather than battle through and risk being cut adrift before the clocks go back, de Boer was dumped.

In 2013, Arsenal had gone 8 years without a trophy. Arsene Wenger was entering the last year of his contract. Since that time, 4 of the names linked with replacing him have failed to win a trophy, have struggled at jobs big and small. In that time, Arsenal have added 3 FA Cups to the trophy cabinet.

Whilst Wenger’s time at the club is really up .The journeys of Klopp, Moyes, Martinez and de Boer over the last 4 years show just how hard it is to get your managerial appoint right.

Changing manager is no guarantee of success. And Arsenal fans need to realise that. The years of managers being in charge for 5 years, yet alone 25 years, have gone. When a man does come in to replace Wenger, it will feel like a breathe of fresh air. Until he loses that first game of the season.

I want a new manager at Arsenal .The majority of us do. But a change of manager will not guarantee a change of fortunes.

What started as a mini blog has ended up over 1,000 words as I babbled on. Sorry about that, and up The Arsenal.

Keenos

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Defending Wenger, Re-arranged Fixtures and Jurgen Klopp

Defending Wenger

Arsene Wenger’s time at Arsenal is coming to an end. I have felt he should have left a couple of years ago. Back to back FA Cups – a remarkable achievement – gave him a stay of execution; but now is the time for him to hang up the blazer, to call it a day.

The recent march’s have been supported well and highlight fans dissatisfaction with the situation. For the most part, they have been respectful whilst forceful. But then is always a minority that spoil it.

Over the last few days, there have been some despicable comments towards Arsene Wenger and the board.

Wenger has once more been compared to Robert Mugabe – a dictator who calls himself the “Hitler of the time…let me be Hitler tenfold”.

Mugabe has overseen a period of history where hundreds of thousands of his citizens have been slaughtered, and many more displaced. His actions have been sickening.

For fans to compare the likes of Mugabe (Kim Jong Il, Pol Pot and Adolf Hitler) to Arsene Wenger is nothing short of a disgrace.

These men have overseen the slaughter, torture and persecution of millions of innocent men, women and children. Arsene Wenger has led Arsenal to 4th 6 times…

One of the march organisers attempted to condone the Mugabe comments. To justify them. And they wonder why the majority of fans will not stand alongside them when calling for Wenger to go.

At a protest last season at Norwich, arsenal fans were caught on camera holding a banner singing how they wanted “Wenger to die in May”.

Add in the wishes of death board members, and the usual cancer comments by some kid trying to pretend he is the leader and organiser of the Wenger Out march’s, it all leaves a nasty little taste in your mouth.

There are fans out their who dedicate Facebook pages to abusing Arsene Wenger. Spend 24/7 tweeting bile.

These Arsenal fans have shown no class. They have forgotten who they are, who they represent. And it is the vile comments of this minority that lead to the majority of those who want Wenger to leave, like myself, to be unwilling to go on a march, to stand next to someone calling for an Arsenal legend to die of cancer.

Any Wenger Out movement loses its point, it’s relevance, when idiots involved compare Wenger to murderous dictators and wish cancer on people.

Want him out? Fair enough. But stay classy and your voice will be heard.

Re-arranged Fixtures

Arsenal now have 3 fixtures that need to be re-arranged.

Leicester and Sunderland at home, and an away game against Southampton, with once again UEFA interference delaying the process and making it that little bit more awkward.

A national association can not schedule a domestic top tier game on the same day as a European match without firstly gaining the permission of UEFA. A load of bollocks. That means Arsenal and the Premier League can not begin the re-arranging of the above games until the draw for the QF of the Champions League has taken place.

UEFA would not stand for it being Arsenal v Leicester at the same time as Manchester City (if they qualify) are playing in the Champions League. The Arsenal game would get a lot more viewers, leaving UEFA and it’s sponsors very unhappy.

The draw for the Champions League Quarter Finals is this Friday, with the first legs being played on 11 and 12 April, and the second legs will be played on 18 and 19 April 2017.

With the TV company scheduling deciding to give Arsenal back to back Monday night games, 2 weeks in mid-April are already written off as no-go’s.

The first available date for a reschedule will be the 25/26 of April. A game sandwiched between the FA Cup Semi Final and Spurs away. The hope is Arsenal play on the Saturday in the FA Cup, then have a re-arranged fixture on Wednesday 26th, before Spurs away on the Sunday.

The week after the Spurs game is a European week, so if Arsenal and the Premier League wish to schedule a game during that week, they will need the permission of UEFA. The week after is the same.

For Arsenal to fulfil their fixtures in time, UEFA’s hand will have to be forced, as if they deny the scheduling of a fixture the same day as a Champions League tie, it leaves just one more mid-week before Everton on the final day to schedule a game. And if you have been keeping up, Arsenal still need to reschedule 2 more games

This would all be solved if:

a) UEFA were not so greedy and let national associations schedule games when they wish
b) TV companies did not do stupid stuff like have Arsenal playing away to Middlesbrough on a Monday.

As always, the last people on anyone’s mind are the match day going fans.

Jurgen Klopp

Jurgen Klopp. The second coming. The greatest manager since King Kenny. Revitalising Liverpool. Resorting them to their former greatness. Or that is what the media would have you think.

In fact, as we sit here in the middle of March, Liverpool are the only side in the top 6 who have no realistic chance of a trophy.

With 4 of the top 5 in the semi final of the FA Cup (I thought the big sides did not take it seriously anymore?) and Man U still in European – and having already won the League Cup – Liverpool fans have no choice but to look on with jealous glances.

4th in the league, 11 points off top having played a game more, not in Europe and out of the cup, it will be the 5th year on the spin the Scousers have gone potless.

Not only is their season done and dusted in terms of trophies, Liverpool are also the only side in the top 6 who would not have had a trip to Wembley this season. Poor little things.

Of course, the press might decide that “4th place is a trophy” and will continue to point to their “progression” but when it comes down to it, Liverpool’s seasons is over once more before the clocks spring forward, and it is now 5 years without a trophy.

Klopp is doing a great job.

Keenos

Arsenal’s Spring Break, Klopp’s Liverpool Form & Transfer’s

Arsenal’s Spring Break

Last nights victory for Southampton against Liverpool results in the Premier League tie away to Southampton at St Mary’s on 25th February will be rearranged. This is great news for Arsenal.

As winter turns to spring, Arsenal will have around 14 days between the FA Cup 5th Round (if Arsenal beat Southampton this weekend) and an away trip to Liverpool. With 12 games to go in the Premier League season from that point, it will give the side a welcomed break before the title run in.

The break could be further extended to 17 days if Arsenal lose to Southampton this weekend. I am fine with just the 14 days off thanks!

Anyone who has taken a week holiday from work will know how much fresher you come back. Arsenal players will be able to down tools after the FA Cup match for at least 5 or 6 days, before having to return to full training. It also gives the side further time to prepare for Liverpool away.

The downside is the Southampton fixture now needs to be fitted in somewhere.

If Arsenal go on an FA Cup run to the Semi Final, a further 2 Premier League ties will have to be rearranged to mid week. Matters could be further muddied if we have to face any FA Cup replays.

The Premier League should apply to UEFA to host Southampton v Arsenal on the 14/15 March. With UEFA rules stating that no domestic top level game is played at the same time as their beloved Champions League, this date will be in doubt.

21/22 March is also free, although this is slated in for FA Cup 6th round replays.

The last possible date is the 28th February / 1st March. Just 3 days after the original fixture. Whilst this date would be advantageous for Arsenal, as we would have the weekend off and Southampton will be suffering from the fall out of whatever the League Cup result is, it would reduce that Spring Break and give us less time to prepare for the Liverpool away fixture. Suddenly Southampton’s victory is not such great news.

wenger-633473

Klopp’s Liverpool Form

In 2017, Liverpool have won just a single game, an FA Cup 3rd round replay victory over Plymouth Argyle of League two. Their form reads:

LLWDLDD

1 win in 7 since the New Year.

Even more interesting is Jurgen Klopp’s near identical record to that of Louis van Gaal. One has been considered as a great success since coming to the Premier League, the other was labelled as a massive flop. It just shows how media reporting can change your perception.

Now this is not an anti-Klopp, pro-Wenger rant. You are an idiot if you do not think Klopp is not a very good manager, and would have been an ideal candidate to replace Arsene at Arsenal. But what Klopp’s struggles show, like with Pep Guardiola’s highlighted last week, is just how hard the Premier League is.

If Liverpool end up 5th, or even 6th below Jose Mourinho’s much derided Manchester United team, will Klopp continue to get such an easy ride from the British press?

Media Perception

On the thought on media perception – and this is something I might write an expanded blog on this subject another time – something has caught my eye / brain / 6th sense recently.

The media made a big fuss over Arsenal going 9 years without a trophy. I knid of remember the press picking up on trophy-less run after the 5th year. Certainly before the Birmingham League Cup Final defeat the press were making a lot of noise about it. Arsenal had not yet gone 6 years without a trophy by that point.

Liverpool are now up to 5 years without a trophy. Their last being the League Cup in 2012. But there is no noise from the press. Maybe they are worried to upset the mentally fragile, reactionary Scousers? They have not won a major honour (FA Cup, League, European Trophy) since they beat West Ham in the 2006 FA Cup Final. That was near on 11 years ago. 1 trophy in 11 years. 0 trophies in 5 years. Interesting how the press pick and choose who to create a narrative about.

Then you have Tottenham. I always laugh when the media talk about a ‘big 6’. There is no big 6. How can a club which has not won a league title since 1961, not finished 2nd since 1963 and made the top 3 just once in 30 years be considered in any sort of elite class is a joke.

Since they last won the FA Cup in 1991, Spurs have been knocked out of the FA Cup as many times in the 3rd round as they have in the semi finals. Six times each.

Spurs last trophy was in 2008. Like Liverpool, it was the League Cup. 8 years without a trophy. But like Liverpool, there is not the media interest that there was when Arsenal were at 8 years. Maybe it shows that Spurs are just a small club of little to no interest?

We all know by now, it is 25 years since Spurs last won the FA Cup. 55 years since they last won the league. The media pretends their is a big 6, and people believe them. But the reality is they are not in any sort of elite.

Transfer’s

Has there ever been a transfer window where Arsenal have been so quiet. And not just the club’s own activity, but the fans.

Usually at this point of a January transfer window we are all going mental. 5 days until it closes, we still have not signed anyone of note, and yet social media is not awash with people demanding Arsene Wenger “Spend some f**king money”.

Why is this?

Are we content with the squad, realising there really isn’t much else better out there? That we will have to make do with what we have? It is interesting that no one in the Top 6 of the Premier League has made a move for anyone. The biggest signing this summer as been 19-year-old Ademola Lookman to Everton.

Maybe we are now seeing the death of the January transfer window. It is a market for the desperate, those so concerned about being relegated that they end up spending £15million on some bloke called Wilfred Ndidi.

Or are Arsenal fans just bored of it all. Have we accepted that the club will simply not do much business in January. Are we all suffering from Stockholm Syndrome? Just counting down the days until Arsene Wenger leaves. Why get angry about something not in your control. It will not change anything, just increase your blood pressure, leaving you purple face in anger as you scream and shout at your friends.

I would be very surprised if Arsenal signed anyone in January.

Keenos