Tag Archives: She Wore

Sacking managers is something Arsenal fans will have to get used to

It is time Arsenal fans are realistic with their expectations.

We have had a long period of stability and success. From the day George Graham took over the club in 1986 to Arsene Wenger’s departure in 2018. 32 years, 3 managers (with Bruce Ricoh splitting the 2 with a year in charge) and consistent success.

During that 32 years we won:
5 league titles
8 FA Cups
2 League Cups
1 ECWC

Add in the memories of 1989 and the 2004 unbeaten season, it was a glory period where we averaged a major trophy every other season.

16 of Arsenal’s 30 major honours came during that 32 years.

Arsenal fans, like myself, born in the late 70s / early 80s have been spoilt by only ever knowing success, and never really seeing a turnover of managers.

What is the worst season under Graham or Wenger? 1995 when we made a European final? Finishing 6th under Arsene Wenger? These are not huge failures. Many teams would take these as a sign of a successful season.

We had a period of success and consistency, and not we are on a downward curve and those fans who grew up only knowing success will have to re-adjust their mind set.

When you speak to older fans, they talk about the 70s and 80s when Arsenal barely had a sniff- a single FA cup win in 1979 from the 1971 double to when Graham took over. 15 long seasons.

During that 15 years there was not a huge turnover in managers.

Terry Neill and Don Howe the only two appointments between Bertie Mee’s departure and George Graham’s appointment.

Football has changed dramatically since those days, and with the increased money and accountability, it is now a “fast food” game where fans demand instant success or changes.

In a recent interview, Jose Mourinho was asked whether long-term managers like Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson are now a thing of the past, Mourinho said: “Twenty years in a club? I don’t think it is possible.

“Modern life, new technology, social media – I think everything has an influence.

“Even people’s mentality, faster relations, getting tired more easily, so many things that are changing. Not just football, but changing the world and the perception of things.

“I think Wenger was the last one.”

Mourinho is absolutely spot on.

In the Premier League, just 2 managers have bene in their job for longer than 5 years – Eddie Howe at Bournemouth and Sean Dyche at Burnley. Jurgen Klopp has now been at Liverpool for over 4 years. Just two more have spent more than 3 years at their respective clubs: Pep Guardiola and Chris Wilder at Sheffield United.

At the other end of the scale, 9 Premier League sides have had their current manager for less than a year (including Watford who currently have a vacancy for their 3rd manager this season.

The average life span of current Premier League managers is just 2 years, 14 days.

Manchester United are now onto their 4th manager since Sit Alex Ferguson retired.
Liverpool have had 9 managers since King Kenny left – including Dalglish returning for a 2nd stint.
Tottenham have had 21 since Bill Nicholson
Chelsea are on to their 2nd new manager since their last league title – just 2 seasons ago.

Chelsea sum up how the world of football has changed.

Since Jose Mourinho left for the 1st time back in 2007, they have changed manager 13 times. They have won 11 trophies in that time.

Tottenham and Liverpool aside, no other “big 6” side has kept a manager for 2 consecutive trophyless seasons since Sir Alex Ferguson retired.

Jurgen Klopp has shown the benefit of keeping with a manager who you think is the right man even when not winning trophies. It was 3 and a half seasons until he finally lifted a trophy – and he is on to win the Premier League in his 4th full season. But Klopp was Liverpool’s 5th different manager this decade!

The fact is that a new manager at Arsenal will not guarantee an instant change of fortunes on the pitch. And chances are unless we lift a trophy come 2021, Emery’s full-time replacement will be sacked.

Football has changed a lot since George Graham was appointed in 1986. Arsenal fans are going to have to get used to a new man coming in, it not working out and change.

With the state of our team at the moment, it could take 2 or 3 more manager changes and a huge playing turnover in playing personnel until we have a competitive team once more.

We as fans need to realise that football is now a volatile place where instant success is demanded but not realistic.

Keenos

New (interim) Head Coach – Same Old Performance

Anyone that thought that by simply sacking Unai Emery Arsenal would begin to turn in world beating performances were clearly very naïve.

Freddie Ljungberg had been in temporary charge of the squad for just 2 training sessions prior to the game against Norwich. We saw a few tweets (Shkodran Mustafi and Granit Xhaka returning) but overall it was the same players playing the same way under Unai Emery.

What yesterday exposed was the it is not just Emery and his inconsistent tactics and formation that was the problem. The players themselves need to look at their own performances.

For too long many of the players have escaped criticism, with firstly Arsene Wenger and then Unai Emery taking the brunt of fans anger.

Individual players, such as Mesut Ozil and Granit Xhaka have taken abuse from the fans; but many players have escaped such criticism.

The likes of Alexandre Lacazette have been distinctly average for some time.

Oddly named Arsenal Player of the Season last year following 134 league goals, Lacazette has been extremely inconsistent during his time at the club – 40 goals in 103 games is not a great record. Lacazette is certainly one player who has escaped any sort of criticism.

What is becoming very clear and obvious is that our squad is made up of a lot of players who are either:

  1. Not good enough or;
  2. Not mentally strong enough

In defence we make too many mistakes. This is highlighted by how many penalties we give away.

David Luiz, Mustafi and Sokratis all have a mistake in them. They are all senior internationals. A new manager is not going to suddenly improve them; cut out their error ridden games.

It is the same in midfield.

The centre of the park has been a huge problem for Arsenal in recent years.

Unbalanced with players who can not defend, can not pass, can not drive the ball forward. The fact is if Francis Coquelin was still at the club, he would probably be our best midfielder.

Not in recent memory have we had a midfield that passes the ball so poorly.

Like with the defenders making individual errors, the feeling is the sloppiness of the likes of Granit Xhaka is now ingrained into his game. He is beyond the point where it can be coached out of him.

Simply put, we have too many players who make too many mistakes and no change of manager will make a difference.

These are not young kids who can be coached to improvement – these are senior internationals who are not taking responsibility over their own performances.

When Chelsea won the Champions League, they had a weak coach in Roberto Di Matteo. But they have the likes of Petr Cech, John Terry, Ashley Cole, Frank Lampard and John Terry on the pitch. They had a team of leaders similar to what Arsenal had during the unbeaten season.

The England rugby team had similar in 2007.

Andy Robinson was a poor coach, out of his depth. The senior players got their heads together and drove the team to the final.

Arsenal lack any leaders on the pitch.

Emery’s policy of having multiple leaders makes sense (it is used throughout Europe as well as in cricket and rugby) but it only works it you have actual leaders on the pitch.

There is no point having a senior leadership team if its members are merely members because they are senior, and not because they have any leadership skills.

Regardless of who replaces Unai Emery, things will not change at Arsenal until the players attitudes change.

They either need to step up and take responsibility for their own poor performances or be moved on.

Keenos

Match Report: Norwich 2 – 2 Arsenal

Norwich City (2) 2 Arsenal (1) 2
Premier League
Carrow Road, Norwich NR1 3JE
Sunday, 1st December 2019. Kick-off time: 2.00pm

(4-3-1-2) Bernd Leno; Calum Chambers, Shkodran Mustafi, David Luiz, Sead Kolašinac; Mattéo Guendouzi, Granit Xhaka, Joe Willock; Mesut Özil; Alexandre Lacazette, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Substitutes: Kieran Tierney, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Lucas Torreira, Nicolas Pépé, Emiliano Martínez, Gabriel Martinelli, Bukayo Saka.
Scorers: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (28 mins, 57 mins)
Yellow Cards: Calum Chambers
Arsenal Possession Percentage: 61%
Referee: Paul Tierney
Attendance: 27,067

And so, on a cold and brisk afternoon in Norfolk, a new beginning unfolds for us all. So much has been said and done in the past forty-eight hours, it would seem almost churlish to repeat things that we all already know and have opinions about; except to say that we now have a caretaker manager in the form of the popular ex-player Freddie Ljungberg, and not only is it our duty to support him and the players through this period of transition, but ourselves too. Make no mistake, in a very short while, we will discover just who the chosen one is to take over the manager’s role permanently from Unai Emery; all we can hope is that the recommendation of Raul Sanllehi, Edu and Vinai Venkatesham in their report to various Kroenkes is the correct one for everyone involved. After all, in the impatient world that modern football inhabits, Arsenal Football Club surely cannot afford to make the same mistakes in their managerial choice again.

We started the match brightly enough, and as early as the fourth minute Alexandre Lacazette was unlucky not to score with a good effort that went wide of the post. Arsenal appeared to find confidence in their movement, both on and off the ball, with most of the action being in the Norwich half; Shkodran Mustafi’s header was cleared off the line, and despite the odd breakout by the home side, the first quarter of an hour showed our dominance. Calum Chambers was also desperately unlucky not to score with a glancing header from a Mesut Özil corner, and it became clear that Norwich City’s zonal marking system was not exactly working in their favour. However, totally against the run of play, Teemu Pukki ran onto a through ball, and his shot went past Bernd Leno (via a deflection from Shkodran Mustafi) to give the home side the lead after twenty minutes.

In a controversial period of the match, just a couple of minutes later, a wicked cross from the right caught defender Christoph Zimmerman’s carelessly positioned upright arm and a penalty was given to us; subsequently goalkeeper Tim Krul saved Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s initial strike, but because of encroachment, VAR was consulted again and this time our captain made no mistake in equalising the scores. This incident merely served to fire both sides up, and by now some careless tackles from both teams were flying around, in which it was a miracle no-one was booked. Despite all of our considerable efforts, the home side took the lead through a strike from Todd Cantwell in injury time when we were caught by a counter-attack, which meant that we went into the break 1-2 down, quite undeservedly it has to be said.

The second half started more doggedly with Arsenal constantly attempting to break down a stoic Norwich City defence; again we were caught by a counter attack by the home side in which we were fortunate to address the situation adequately. Twelve minutes after the restart, we drew level with a superb opportunist goal from our captain, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang when he was hovering, unmarked on the edge of the Norwich six-yard box; when the ball came to him from a corner (via a Calum Chambers header), he made no mistake. The home side came back at us in earnest, and poor marking from our defenders almost led to a third Norwich City goal on three occasions; thankfully Bernd Leno was more attentive than the Arsenal defence.

Entering the last twenty minutes of the match, it seemed as if every time the home side came forward, they looked like they were going to score, and so, recognising this, Joe Willock was substituted for Lucas Torreira, in an attempt to shore up the midfield; now we had serious work to do here. More pressure was put on us, so with fourteen minutes left, Bukayo Saka replaced Mattéo Guendouzi, thus giving us more width. It certainly worked, as were able to apply more pressure in vital areas of the pitch. And so the battle continued with no quarter given nor taken. Gabriel Martinelli took the place of Mesut Özil with two minutes of the match remaining. Bernd Leno was absolutely immense in this game, and the saves that he made in injury time kept us in the match. In the dying moments, Lucas Torreira was desperately unlucky not to score, but sadly it was not to be, and we went home with a draw.

Overall, it was certainly better than we had any right to expect, given our recent run of results. We moved quicker around the pitch than previously and we certainly played with more purpose. But the same old problems arise, particularly with regards to the defence, which is still porous, and has a serious absence of leadership. The marking isn’t tight enough, and the defence has the annoying habit of going to sleep at crucial points in the match. Having said that, we came back twice to earn this draw, and a point is certainly better than nothing. No doubt about it, Freddie Ljungberg has a lot of work to do here, and only time will tell how many of these players will still be at the club this time next year.

Remember everyone, keep the faith, get behind the team and the manager, as this season is going to be crucial for our future success in all competitions. Stick with the winners. Our next match: Brighton and Hove Albion at The Emirates on Thursday, 5th December at 8.15pm (Premier League). Be there, if you can. Victoria Concordia Crescit.

Steve

Too Dearly Loved To Be Forgotten: Arsenal v Racing Club de Paris 1930-1962 by Steve Ingless (Rangemore Publications, ISBN 978-1-5272-0135-4) is now available on Amazon.