Tag Archives: UEFA Champions League

Tottenham at their best are equal to Arsenal at their worst

The greatest Tottenham Hotspur team in a generation. Their best start to a campaign in Premier League history. A manager who one media outlet declared had the best vision and impact in the Premier League.

Yet they sit 5th in the Premier League and are heading out of the Champions League.

Their best team in a generation is about to go trophyless for the first decade since World War II. Their last trophy was 10 years ago – soon to be 11.

Mauricio Pochettino is in his 5th season at the club, and over the summer failed to sign a single player.

Tottenham at their recent best are Arsenal at their recent worst.

Between 2006 and 2013, Arsenal went through a horrendous time.

8 years without a trophy, hardly signing any players, crippled by a huge stadium debt and viewing top 4 as a success as a trophy. These all led to fans turning on the manager, on the club, and on the owners.

But Tottenham are 10 years without a trophy, not signing any players, crippled by a huge stadium stadium debt (which is still unbuilt), and top 4 is being seen as a success by fans, the club and the media.

For so long, Arsenal were mocked for getting out of the group stages of the Champions League, and then knocked out at the first round of knock out games. But here we have Tottenham about to be knocked out at the group stages.

Coming up are Barcelona and Inter Milan. You could argue that the UEFA Champions League fixtures have not been kind to Spurs this season, but they are crashing out of the competition.

During the awful 8 years between 2006 & 2013, Arsenal got through the group stages, no matter how difficult the opponents were.

ENIC took over at Spurs in 2001. Since then it is just 1 trophy. A single League Cup.

You compare that to Arsenal’s horrendous period under the ownership of Stan Kroenke and Kroenke Sports Enterprises.

Kroenke bought his first shares in April 2007, at the beginning of Arsenal’s trophy drought. He has since overseen the club win 3 FA Cups.

SO Kroenke ownership (alongside Ivan Gazidis as CEO) is considered bad (3 FA Cups in 11 years) whilst Daniel Levy is considered a genius – despite having delivered just 1 League Cup in 18 years.

As a side note, 3 FA Cups in 11 years for s club the size of Arsenal is not good enough.

It does baffle me the praise Tottenham have got in recent years.

Words such as “success” have been labelled to the current team. But what success have they exactly have?

They finished above Arsenal twice, they finished 3rd in a 2 horse race, and they put the pressure on Chelsea. Then you have Harrry Kane’s goals and having the most players from any side in the World Cup semi-finals.

It really is not much success to shout about.

Lets go back to Arsenal.

Between 2006 & 2013, Arsenal finished above Spurs 8 out of 8 times. We made the Champions League 8 out of 8 times. We made the Champions League knock out stages 8 out of 8 times. But this was (rightly) not seen as a success.

It was a period of failure.

2006 – 2013 was the worst period in Arsenal’s recent history. You have to go back to the pre-Graham period between 1980 – 1988 for a similar period of no success.

Just the 8 years. That is how long Arsenal went between trophies under Arsene Wenger. That was Arsenal at their worst.

Tottenham at their best are 10 years without a trophy, and Pochettino is creeping up on 5 years with no silverware himself.

At their best, they are the equal of Arsenal at their worst under Arsene Wenger.

A final thought.

If Arsenal finish above Spurs in the 2018/19 season, and Spurs do not win a trophy the 10’s decade will read:

Arsenal: 3 trophies; finished above Spurs 8 times

Tottenham: 0 trophies, finished above Arsenal twice

Yet the 10’s will go down in history as a tough decade for Arsenal. Whilst for the greatest Spurs team in a generation, it is seen as a hugely successful generation.

Let’s actually change the title of the blog.

Tottenham at the recent best are less successful than Arsenal at their recent worst.

Keenos

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The Arsenal and Me – Shane’s Story

I was born in Hampstead to Irish parents, spent toddler years in Willesden & grew up in Northolt. My parents never watched or had interest in football. I myself only took an interest in secondary school when everyone’s’ question was who do you support. Lucky for me I had three sets of different cousins living in London who all supported Arsenal, Therefore I knew the name & regularly saw the cannon (probably because of players like Brady, Quinn & O’Leary may have been their reason). So my answer became I support Arsenal, but to be honest I didn’t take much interest for a while.

My first real Arsenal memory was watching the cup final in 1993 with my Mum & Dad, I can’t even remember which but I watched both & the replays. Funny thing is my first Arsenal shirt is from the 91/92 season (Adidas with ‘League Champions’ under the crest), Don’t remember how or who I got it from (probably Christmas). I also have a vague memory of disappointment when ‘Gazza’ scored a winner against us in a cup, don’t know which year.

My first match was when I was Fourteen, 6th November 1993 vs Aston Villa, I sat at the back on the top of the North Bank with a man I barely knew (my cousins’ girlfriends brother, but he loved the Arsenal & offered to bring me). I don’t remember the actual match but I remember how beautiful Highbury was from the North Bank to the tiles in the toilet. I was awe-struck with a feeling of amazement & a sense of belonging, A true love developed that day & has got stronger ever since. I’ve seen Arsenal live only about 35 times in 20 yrs. League, Champions League, Cup Winners Cup & Charity/Community Shield at Highbury, Emirates, Wembley, millenium Stadium, The Valley, Villa Park & The Riverside. Each match is very special to me whether we win, lose or draw.

I now reside in Ireland the last twelve years, but for the last four I see the Arsenal annually through my Red Membership (of 9yrs) with my nephew who loves Arsenal because of me (even though his uncles are Man Utd).

I have two boys & from the day they were born I am ensuring they are Arsenal too as it would literally break my heart if they were anything else. As soon as they are old enough they will be travelling with me to The Arsenal no matter where we are in the league, who our manager is or the cost.

To me Arsenal is the Fourth Most Important thing in my life & Generally my mood revolves around our results, Thanks to Mr. Wenger, I’m generally in a Good one.

‘Arsenal Forever in My Heart’

Thank You to anyone who reads this & Thanks to She Wore for the opportunity to express My Story.

Shane

 

Wenger’s tactics, Facing Madrid et al, Throwing the CL, Coefficients, Cazorla/Draxler swap and more…

Did Wenger get the tactics wrong?

Last night, Arsenal played if they had to lose by 3 goal to be knocked out. They set out defensively to do this. Was this wrong, or should Arsenal have set up more attacking to top the group? What is clear as the game went on was that we were more concerned with qualifying than topping the group. The Ramsey substitution over Theo Walcott is a perfect example. The game was opening up, Walcott’s pace could have been a game changer, yet Wenger chose the safer option of keeping the middle strong, and retaining possession. Would Arsenal fans have moaned had Wenger stuck Walcott on, he lost the ball in the build up to a goal and Napoli won 3-0? We probably would have.

From the defensive line up, to defensive substitutions to running down the clock when 1-0, Arsenal players a management succeeded in their goal of losing by 3 goals or more. We set up cautiously to ensure we went through. We got out of a tough group, but should the goal have been to top the group?

Facing Madrid, Barca et al

So finishing 2nd means we have to play one of; Real Madrid, PSG, Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid or Barcelona. It is no easy task, and leaves many a fan frustrated, especially when you look at the list of those sides we’d have faced if we topped the group (Leverkuson, Galatasary, Olympiakos, Zenith, AC Milan, Schalke). I am however, a firm believer that you have to play the best to win the best. At its kindest, you could possibly avoid Europe’s top teams up to the Semi Final stage, but this would still leave us facing 2 of them. We would have to beat them anyway, so playing them in the 2nd round does not matter.

People running round saying ‘We finished 2nd, so we are out” are basically admitting that as soon as we face a big side in Europe, we will get knocked out, so surely then they are happy we finished 2nd, as in their eyes, we can not win the competition, so we are better off out early so that we can concentrate on the league?

Personally, I am rooting for either Real Madrid or PSG. For the former it is because the Bernabeu is one of the few major European stadium I have yet to visit, for PSG, the EuroStar will be messy.

Should we ‘throw’ the Champions League

Arsenal have now been in the Champions League for 16 years on the trot. Only twice have we come close to winning it. The final defeat to Barcelona in 2005/06 and the QF defeat to Chelsea in 2003/04. No other season have we had the starting 11 or the squad which is good enough to win. Therefore, it makes me wonder, what is the point of the Champions League if you go into it not expecting to win it?

The point is money, and lots of it. That money allows you to buy better players, pay higher wages, and build a team which gives you an advantage on a domestic level. Last years winners got €55m from the competition. Arsenal made €32m. That is a difference of €23m or £19m. A big difference, yes, but it is not too disastrous. It is clear that financial wise, it is just as important to qualify for the Champions League (Chelsea & City, both knocked out in the groups, got around €30m) as win it. It makes me wonder then, why do we bother? Why not just qualify, then put out or kids. Rest the 1st team for the Premier League battle. Take the €30m and run. It might be defeatest, but as we saw with Everton, freshness is a factor in the Premier League.

Coefficients

A discussion yesterday with @simonrichardafc about the effect that continually getting knocked out of the Champions League 2nd round could have on our European Coefficient. After studying the UEFA website, it is clear you need around 100,000 coefficient points to remain in the Top 8 of Europe. Our recent history shows that by making, and getting knocked out in, the 2nd round gets you around 22,000 points. Consistently getting through the knock-out stages is enough.

Yes, if 8 teams continually start making the QF, this will change, but that is unlikely. A look at Dortmund’s current ranking, as a team on the way up, highlights the safety Arsenal have. They currently sit on 69,000 points. If they win the Champions League this year, they will not be in the Top 8. They will have to win it this year, and get through to the 2nd round next year to make the Top 8. PSG would have to do the same. But obviously only 1 can win.

And if you agree with my ‘take the money and run’ mantra of earlier, our coefficient does not matter, as the importance, money wise, is qualifying for the Champions League, not progressing.

Cazorla/Draxler swap

Santi Cazorla is looking a frustrated man at Arsenal. He has gone from main man last year, to now slipping behind Ozil, Ramsey & Mertesacker in importance. He is continually the ‘1st sub’ and his performances this year have been poor. Yes, he has suffered from injury, and has had to re-adapt to playing left wing (although he played out there a lot), but you have to wonder, if he, due to turn 29 tomorrow, has peaked and is starting a downward spiral in performances. With the interest in Draxler, who looks most comfortable on the left wing, you have to wonder if this could be Cazorla’s last at Arsenal. With a man 9 years his junior coming in.

At best, if we sign Draxler, Cazorla will become a squad, and a bloody good one. At worse, we will get our money back on him moving him to Spain. What I do not want to see is an Arshavin type decline.

Downward Spiral

No wins in 2 games. Some Arsenal fan’s are starting to talk of a downward spiral. Hopefully it is the same downward spiral that followed defeat at home to Munich earlier this year.

Keenos