Van Gaal – Klopp – Wenger: The good guys haven’t lost yet!

theformation

Call me a romantic fool as much as you like, but football should never be totally ruled by money. It saddens me that clubs like Everton, Villa, Newcastle United, West Ham, Leeds, Sheffield Wednesday and many, many more will probably not win the title in the next twenty to thirty years; they have not got a snowball’s chance in hell, unless they find an oligarch or other rich benefactor.

It makes me think of Leonard Cohen’s song ‘Everybody Knows’:

Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
Everybody knows that the war is over
Everybody knows the good guys lost
Everybody knows the fight was fixed
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich
That’s how it goes
Everybody knows
Everybody knows that the boat is leaking
Everybody knows that the captain lied
Everybody got this broken feeling
Like their father or their dog just died

You could argue, as a Gooner, I should not be too upset about this at all. We are in a very good position, financially as well as from a sporting point of view, as a next round of CL-participation is once again within our reach. The stadium debt is under control and the club generates the fourth highest turnover in Europe: all ingredients are there to compete sensibly and yet effectively with the old fellow giants, MU and Liverpool, as well as the oil-funded nouveau riche, in the foreseeable future.

But I would much rather prefer proper competition, and as per Red Arse’s recent fantastic posts, there is little reason to be hopeful that FFP will increase the chances of other English clubs winning the EPL or CL in future.

It does indeed feel that the war is over and the good guys have lost. Unless, another English/Welsh club can find itself a very rich, money-no-object, benefactor, or the Oilers get bored with their plaything, the top-four over the next ten to twenty years will almost constantly be occupied by Arsenal, Chelsea, MU and MC.

But even within the top-four there is a battle raging and it is all to do with the meaning of money. And Arsenal run a considerable risk of coming close, but seldom or never be able to put their well deserving hands on meaningful silverware, whilst still remaining in the elite group of four (or maybe five, if Liverpool can work themselves back up again).

A similar battle is taking place in other European countries.

In Spain the war is definitely over as Barcelona and Real Madrid have managed to get the lion-share of all the TV money that is generated by La Liga, and these two clubs will simply continue to cream off any talents that might develop at all the other Spanish clubs. It looked for a while that Malaga, funded by oil-money, might be able to join them in the fight for Spanish silverware, but that ship seems to have sailed now as well.

In Germany, the competition appears to be fairer with five different Bundesliga winners over the last ten years, even though Bayern Munich are the most powerful club, both historically and financially. But this might all change now, as only Bayern seem to be able to keep hold of their top players, whilst all other German clubs watch their top talents being creamed off by the Spanish, Italian and English top-clubs or, even worse for local competition, by FC Hollywood themselves. The purchase of Gotze (and possibly Lewandowski) by Bayern from Dortmund is clear evidence of this. Although, it is fair to say that Dortmund do the same to their domestic rivals to some extent as well.

And let’s not talk about the Italian competition: a total shambles in recent years.

Nous versus the power of money: Ajax vs PSV Eindhoven

I grew up in The Netherlands were the competition was mainly dominated for a long time by just two clubs: Ajax and PSV, with Feyenoord now and again winning a title as well. The former was, and still is, almost always looking to play a form of total football and build teams predominantly on the best ‘outputs’ of their youth development scheme, whilst the Philips sponsored and, until recently, generally richer ‘Eindhovenaren’ preferred to buy the best from the Dutch league and whoever they could afford and attract from abroad.

Although I have never supported either Ajax or PSV – Roda JC is my boyhood club – I always felt more affinity with the Ajax model of managing a club and wanting to be successful. It has led to better, more attractive football, more success/silverware, and also more respect across the world. Ajax played some of the best football ever seen and produced an incredible number of phenomenally good footballers over the decades. And nothing is more attractive and laudable than beautiful winning football.

And I believe, it’s me growing up with both models of football which has made me divide most, if not all, successful football in either the Ajax-model: total football, home-grown players, and based around sensible club management; or the PSV-model: classic football – either more attack focussed or defence focussed – mainly externally purchased players, and based around financial power/dominance within the local league.

With the arrival of oligarchs in the UK and across Europe, the ‘PSV-model’ has become more dominant recently. Chelsea and ManCity have forced themselves into the top four and onto silverware by buying the best players and paying through the nose for them, and the same is happening now in France and Russia. And I am sure more is to come.

Add to those, the might of the traditionally rich and powerful, and ‘PSV-alike’, clubs: Manchester United in the UK, Bayern in Germany, and Real Madrid in Spain, and you can see that the clubs who are less rich but try to win things with football nous and bottom-up development of talents are suffering at the moment.

There is a growing unease, especially here in the UK, that the ‘Ajax-modelled’ clubs are fighting a losing battle, and that the only way to compete is by (out) spending big: fighting fire with fire. For that we would need our existing two main shareholders to dig deep into their considerable pockets or get somebody else in who is prepared to bring in the big guns and knock the arrogant Mancs of their throne.

I personally hope it will not come to that, and there is good reason to remain optimistic. Just like Van Gaal did with Ajax in the nineties, and to some extent Arsene did with Arsenal in the last decade, Jurgen Klopp is showing us all again that with real football nous, the (financial) Giants – old or new – can still be beaten. And this should give hope to Arsenal, and the likes of Swansea and Liverpool who are going down a similar path as us.

The key principle here is to play a form of total football that can conquer all, and in which individual players become less important than the system of football and the team as a whole. Everybody knows their role(s) within the team and can be replaced without much or any loss in quality. The system of (total) football is so good that the whole of the team becomes a lot more than the sum of all individual players.

Van Gaal mastered this principle as no other in the mid-nineties, when his Ajax won the CL with a team of youngsters and good but definitely not established, great players (except for veteran Rijkaard). This was the team that beat start-studded Milan twice on the way to CL glory in ‘95: Van de Sar, Reiziger, Blind, Rijkaard, F. de Boer, Seedorf, George, Davids, R. de Boer, Litmanen and Overmars. Overmars and Davids were 22, and Seedorf and Kluivert (who came on as a substitute and scored the only goal of the final) were both under 20. Van Gaal almost did it again the year after but Ajax lost against Juventus in the CL final on penalties (the nemesis of Dutch football).

We all know how Arsene slowly but steadily build and bought together the Invincilbes, and how he has been investing a lot in developing his teams bottom-upwards, through focussing on young and promising players and developing them into top players, over the last eight years or so. He showed the rest of the UK, and to some extent Europe, that you do not need to buy established top quality players in order to compete. However, he was not able to hold on to his best home-grown players in recent years, and this has cost us dearly. And the desperation for Silverware is increasing rapidly year on year…

And then finally, there is Dortmund who under Klopp’s expert guidance are playing a new and exciting brand of total football and who, until now, appear to be immune to losing a quality player every season. For Klopp, individual players are not above the club or the system of his football, and if a player really wants to leave, he can do so. Klopp seems to find like-for-like, or sometimes even better, replacements with relative ease. Two Bundesliga titles in three year, one cup (and one double), and now in the final of the CL after beaten the Galacticos in style: some achievement!

And we can draw hope from Die Schwarzgelben recent successes. 

Now that we appear to be over the financial restraints of building the new football ground, Arsene, although in a more challenging domestic set-up than Klopp in terms of competition, should be able to hold on better to his players and start adding quality rather than having to find replacements with a limited budget.

Let’s hold on a bit longer and keep the Oligarchs away from our fine club: the home of football. The good guys have not lost, yet!

Written by: TotalArsenal.

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113 Responses to Van Gaal – Klopp – Wenger: The good guys haven’t lost yet!

  1. TotalArsenal says:

    From previous post (VCC):

    Good Morning Ugly Muvver F**Kers.
    Things are hotting up at the sharp end of the table.
    Wooden Spoon has already been presented at the Insane Clinic at Launcestern, Cornwall. His carers have assured me it has pride of place on his bedside table. AH bless.
    There’s two week ends left, so realistically it’s a 5 horse race for the much coveted UMF Crown.
    Such high scores this week, consistency and accurate predictions (apart from one doughnut) are becoming commonplace. Well done guys.
    Overall leader board =
    VCC………112
    Henry…….106
    Red Arse…96
    HH………….95
    Oz…………..92
    TMHT………88
    Total………..87
    Prince………87
    Alex…………81
    Rocky………75
    GLiC………..60
    Weekly scores =
    Boomerang, ………….Wizard ………………11
    Almanac Dic, …………Dear Ser………10
    Anti post , ……………..Can……………..9
    Von Cloggenstein, …Sum……………….8
    Handsome F**ker, …Toupee…………..7
    ABC EU footie,……… Harmonious…….6
    Laughable, ……………Chuckle…………..5
    Zimmerdine, …………Vicky……………….5
    Nuts,…………………… Brazil………………4
    12″, ……………………..Hampton………….4
    Unstable,…………….. Corky………………2
    Volatile,……………….. Pincer…………….No show (2nd week)
    Well done to Oz and Red Arse for achieving double figures this week.
    Hopefully we will have 5 centurions by the end of play next week end.
    Great stuff guys. Take it easy, and take care.
    Last but not least, please read Alexgunner post from the week end. A big pat on the back and a huge thank you is in order. Top Man.

  2. TotalArsenal says:

    Thanks for update VCC 🙂

  3. VCC says:

    cheers Total. You have post

  4. TotalArsenal says:

    VCC, I have just replied. 🙂

  5. BP says:

    Great Ajax team but of all those great names, how can you leave out Kanuuuuuu!!!!

  6. 'mair says:

    Great article again TA! I guess this also tells us the value of patience and time in building a team, rather then the brand of instant success that we crave for these days!

  7. TotalArsenal says:

    Good point BP 🙂

    The 18 (!) year old Kanu started on the bench, but came on to replace Seedorf in the second half!

  8. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers ‘Mair 🙂

    Yes, I reckon it does. It takes time to build a team and it is an absolute must to hold on to our players for a while now, whilst growing them into something special again (helped by added quality this summer).

  9. alexgunners says:

    TA,

    Good article. The good guys will win again. We are a few good players away from mounting a challenge. There is consistency there in the second half of the season. The last loss was against the spuds. 1 loss in the last 14 games. I am quite sure that we need to rectify the mental strength of the team and this will allow us to play the Arsenal Way. A couple of astute signings, increased self belief that lasts the whole 90 minutes not just the second half of games.

    We have drawn too many games and failed to put away teams. This is what needs to change. Yes on paper we are so far behind the Mancs but reality is that this season to me was a rather weak one and Manure won the PL by the other top 3 failing to show up to games.

    Lets play the Arsenal Way and we have to win against the other top teams in order to compete. This has not happened this season

  10. alexgunners says:

    TA,

    Thought you might be interested to know that Seedorf has guided Botafogo to the State championship once again (There are 2 rounds similar to the Argentinian league and Botafogo has won both). What a difference he has made. Still a class player

  11. Mak says:

    I like it a lot. Yes. Arsene can do it again if he adds some players into this squad and keeps his own from the vaulters.

  12. TotalArsenal says:

    All agreed Alex. 🙂

    We have taken a lot of points recently by shere grid and determination, but we still need to step it up next season, especially against the bigger teams.

    Seedorf is phenomenal: three decades of winning silverware and all with a smile on his face! 🙂

  13. TotalArsenal says:

    Out for a while – catch you later.

  14. JM says:

    On Dortmund and Klopp:

    They are going through a dossier containing the following to refresh the players in Goetze, (Lewandowski – wantaway) and (Santana – wantaway):

    (1) Kevin de Bruyne/Cristian Eriksen for Goetze
    (2) Heung-Min Son/Edin Dzeko for Lewandowski
    (3) Sokratis Papastathopoulos for Santana

    They will always find ways to refresh their squad.

    ====================================================

    Keeping tabs for the club, on a couple of players who have done well are part of the PFA Championship Team of the Year:

    (1) Matej Vydra (21yrs, 1.80m) on loan @Watford from Udinese, Czech international, Playing position: CF/RW/SS
    20 goals and 10 assists in 44 league and cup games
    2 goals in 7 international appearances
    Football League Championship Player of the Year: 2013

    Current contract with Udinese till 30 June 2014

    Video:

    (2) Thomas Ince (21 yrs, 1.78m) Blackpool, England U-21 international, Playing position: LW/AM/RW
    18 goals and 14 assists in 44 league and cup games (better stats than Wilfried Zaha)
    2 goals in 6 U-21 international appearances
    The Football League Young Player of the Year: 2013

    Current contract with Blackpool till 30 June 2013. (Free transfer available)

    Video:

  15. Red Arse says:

    TA,

    You have surpassed yourself!! That was an absolute pleasure to read.

    If anyone wanted a model of how to write an essay this would be it.

    Cleverly marshalled thoughts combining past endeavours of the famous Dutch clubs, and the footballing systems that produced different but very effective ways of playing productive and entertaining football, mixed with the modern era, and its portents.

    Loved it! 😀

  16. Red Arse says:

    Hi JM, 🙂

    You are a little genius with the most wonderfully informative facts and figures always to hand.

    There does not seem to be any area of football that you cannot give data or relevant information on, and we are lucky to have you enlightening us. Thank you! 😀

  17. Admir says:

    You’re so right, TA.

    A brief look at Primera tables in recent years say more than a million words. Real Madrid won La Liga in 2011-12 with 100 points. Barcelona won 91 while 3rd-placed Valencia were 30 points and 4th-placed Malaga 33 points behind Barcelona respectively. In 2010-11 Barcelona won with 96 points, Real collected 92, Valencia 71 and Cazorla’s Villarreal (now in Segunda) 62. In 2009-10 Barcelona won with 99 points, Real had three points less than Barcelona while the gap between Barcelona and 3rd placed Valencia was 28 points.

    That means that in previous three seasons an average gap between first-placed and third-placed team was 30,6 points. If you compare it with English Premier League in respective period, the difference was huge. An average gap between 1st-placed and 3rd-placed team in England in aforementioned seasons was 13 points.

    In Germany, Bayern lost just one game this season and it happened against Bayer Leverkusen at Allianz Arena thanks to an unfortunate own goal from Boateng. They signed Goetze and probably Lewandowski with Mario Gomez apparently joining Napoli. Bayer are about to lose Schurrle and Kiessling with high possibility that both of them will join Borussia Dortmund as well as Edin Džeko from City although there are some rumours that Džeko and Borussia still haven’t found agreement over his wages. (I have to stop here and ask: if Borussia are doing to other clubs in Germany what Bayern are doing to them, does it make them one of the bad boys? They signed Reus from Borussia Moenchengladbach last summer and now they are about to sign two best players from closest rival for second spot.)

    In Italy, Juventus have been the best side ever since they snapped Andrea Pirlo on a free transfer but their encounters with Bayern proved that they are still at least one world-class striker far away from being competitive with the big European guns.

    In France, PSG could get some competition when Monaco returns to Ligue 1. Now, if I remember correctly, Monaco had an upper hand in the past regarding other French clubs to tax rules in Monte Carlo. If there are anyone who can confirm that is still their advantage, I would be grateful for that. 🙂

  18. AFC says:

    Great article TA. 🙂

    I feel that performing a City (buying top players, sometimes for absurd amounts of money) will only give you temporary success. However I do feel a mixture of the two styles you mentioned in your post is the best way to get success. At the moment we have the foundations set to be a dominant force in world football but we are short of a few world class players meanwhile City have the world class players to be a dominant force in world football but do not have the foundations set to sustain any success, so for me the good guys i.e. Wenger, Klopp are ahead in the chase for future success, that can be sustained for a number of years.

    Wenger would be the perfect manager to build City, as he would be someone who could give City the foundations they really need to succeed.

  19. AFC says:

    HH, nice to read your very interesting comments where you compared bloggers on BK to Arsenal players.

    Not sure the speed of which I write posts for BK can be compared to Walcott’s speed. Nobody is faster than Walcott. 🙂 However I will not be writing another article for BK in the immediate future as I am really busy. The real reason is that I am in the final year of my contract, I want higher wages and want to be played as the main striker. 😀

  20. AFC says:

    HH, also what makes me ambitious if you do not mind me asking.

  21. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC, what makes you ambitious? Your goal to write 10 posts in the span of one month!

  22. Admir says:

    @HH, I like being Nacho. We share the same Peter-Crouch-face-appeal that makes ladies mad about us so they all have to apply at Dr Glic for therapy. 😀

  23. AFC says:

    HH, I have written 7 but I do not think I will be able to write the other 3 before the end of this season because I am really busy.

  24. AFC says:

    HH, that goal probably was a bit too ambitious but without that target I would have never got to 7 posts. 😀

  25. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA, I reiterate what has already been stated by numerous posters, just an absolutely brilliant and educational article! We’ve been spoiled the last two days by masterpieces by yourself and RA.

    I was not as attuned to the Ajax teams in the 90’s as I often do not watch Dutch football but their model and emphasis on youth and total football has always been a fascination. Whether or not such a model can be fully achieved in the EPL remains to be seen, especially as our home grown top talents continue to get plucked.

    We’ve already started to see a shift in AW’s philosophy and project youth has begun to take a back seat to winning in the more immediate future. There is still an emphasis on the youth and our academy, but the promotion of players has loss pace in the last year or two and AW appears to finally be given the flexibility to spend resources on established talent. I believe this is a necessity in order to not only please the current group of players in the squad, but also to keep up with the oligarchs and Manure. Unfortunately, with so many other top clubs in the EPL, it’s difficult to solely rely on youth and the perfect balance of staying injury-free and all the youth being ready to contribute all at the same time.

    The only thing I would like to challenge about your article is whether or not AW truly has the same system in place as Van Gaal did or Klopp has. You could view it in 1 of 2 ways: either AW’s system has largely not been successful the past 7-8 years or AW has not been given the resources or has lost his touch in scouting when replacing like-for-like.

    From my perspective, it is a combination of both. AW’s system still needs to evolve and he is still in early stages of replacing top quality players that have departed. The players currently slotted into the system are not quite there yet and the system itself has not bred success for some time.

    During the Invincibles days, there was more of an emphasis on forward football, opposed to the sideways and backwards passing that has become a staple of Arsenal. In no way do I consider that to be proper football either. Retaining possession and playing the ball along the ground is one thing, but playing with little to no attacking intent to neutralize opposition attacks or fear of playing risky balls in the final third is simply a form of time wasting.

  26. Highbury Harmony says:

    In no way do I consider our current brand of football to be proper football either*

  27. Highbury Harmony says:

    Where are some of the regulars today? VCC, Terry, Glic, Oz, BJ, 17ht etc. Also, AFC when will things die down for you? I can’t fuel the discussion without the likes of you and BJ around!

  28. AFC says:

    HH, unfortunately I am not sure yet. I will certainly be around more in the summer months.

  29. Glic says:

    Evening Rima pudendi 😆

    Total Class.
    You see HH, that`s why I don`t do posts, how can I compete with you gays….sorry guys !. Remember, the cream goes in one end with you lot and I deal more with the stuff that comes out the other end !. hahaha

    UMF predictions:

    The Orcs

    West Hampton

    Tea Baggies

    Erectile Dysfunctionals

    Queens Poof Rodgerers

    All to win !.

  30. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC, is it a coincidence that you’ll be back during the busy transfer season ;). I know you are amongst the most excitable when transfer talk begins! Hopefully, AW will give us a lot to discuss then too…

  31. AFC says:

    HH, the transfer window did not even come into our mind. But you are right in saying there will be plenty discuss. 🙂

  32. 17highburyterrace says:

    Here to do my part….But I feel it’s very hard for me as I watch absolutely zero Dutch football!….I really appreciate the article. New information and new perspectives are flying out of this place–very impressive!

    Sometimes I’m able to feel a little bit better about Arsenal’s (shorter term) hopes, but today isn’t one of those days. Maybe it’s because it’s still raining here….Mostly, however, I think we’re just a little too stacked with decent–but unlikely to improve–older talent and then this British core of guys who need to either take a big step up (Ox, Theo, Jenks, Jack) plus the one guy who seems to be maxed out right now (Ramsey). The back and forth yesterday about the youth ranks made me feel there’s a bit of promise coming along, but I have to hold off judgement until I see them get a run in the first team–if they get one at all….

    The real problem is that I don’t see a solid core to the team forming for at least a few years. SCSZ and Kos look very promising but the remainder of the spine of the team seems in complete transition. We all see the potential in Jack Wilshere but he needs a season of 10+goals, 10+ assists and 40+ matches where he plays over an hour. With surgery already scheduled for the Summer, it won’t be next season…. Transfers in can help and will certainly light a fire under some players, but much as we’d like to pretend we can, we cannot remake a “core” with outsiders.

    And this is why it seems so extremely important that we win these next two and then do our business early and have a reasonable pre-season. Yes, a CL qualifier is nerve-jangling, but the only thing we have to hang our hats upon (IMO) is that we’re holding our nerve and getting the results we need during this run-in. If we can start up in August in the same manner we might be able to build a platform which causes the better teams, maybe, to blink. Teamwork and collective nerve are precious commodities. Our ability to step onto the pitch knowing we’re going to play the better football seems gone. We’re getting closer, however, to suggesting that there’s a belief that we’ll do whatever is required to get needed results. And that’s gold….

    Sorry…. Keep writing and maybe you guys can bring me around….

  33. AFC says:

    * my mind

  34. AFC says:

    17ht, I totally agree with you regarding Jack. If he continues to be played as an AM I also would like to see him get into double figures with his goals. I personally think he play better in the DM/box to box role. His shooting and final ball is not yet good enough to play as our AM.

  35. AFC says:

    * are not yet

  36. Highbury Harmony says:

    All great points 17ht, especially this part, “If we can start up in August in the same manner we might be able to build a platform which causes the better teams, maybe, to blink. Teamwork and collective nerve are precious commodities. Our ability to step onto the pitch knowing we’re going to play the better football seems gone. We’re getting closer, however, to suggesting that there’s a belief that we’ll do whatever is required to get needed results. And that’s gold….” When are you going to write a post?!

    In regards to the spine/core of our team, it’s not completely set but there’s definitely potential. If the potential can be realized, it will be quite formidable with a couple more top quality additions. Ches, Jack, Ox flash great potential and Santi and Kos have established themselves as good to great EPL players. You are correct that we have plenty of good complementary players (Ramsey, Theo, Giroud, Podolski, Arteta, Mertesacker, Rosicky, Gibbs, Monreal, Jenkinson etc.) and it’s just a matter of adding one or two high quality players to the core. Not sure where Vermaelen slots in anymore since him and Kos have not worked as a CB partnership. However, he was once considered to be the next great Arsenal CB, so it’s rather unfortunate to see him dip in form so much.

  37. Bond James says:

    AFC
    May 7, 2013 16:08 @

    we feel that for now it’s futile to offer you a contract extension since we feel you spend more time out injured due to you trying to put on Henry’s gear, as soon as we feel that you’ve stopped trying to fit in his big boots and work on your fitness levels a tad better with more work back tracking , supporting the defence we may offer you an extension but we also fear that you might end up firing blanks for the next 3 months or so.

    it’s tough with the likes of Pele , Maradona , Ronaldo (original) aka Gervinho, Bendtener and Chamakh in our rans vying for that strikers role as well, we feel you have enormous amount of talents running shitless but we also feel at times that you run like a headless chicken bumping right into the full backs.

    in the end , we will let our prime negotiator Mr.Dick sit down with your boys to sort it all out.

    for now let’s send you to the England National team so you can return to us on the treatment table, as usual.

    over and out.

  38. Bond James says:

    nice one, TA

    yes, the good guys haven’t lost and continue to fight the good fight as you say it, also in France you had the likes of Montpellier out doing the mega riches of PSG, so that was another one.

    HH,

    that was one fantastic kit , even if it was created by one of the fans, i do hope our kit designing guys take a good long look at it and come up with something similar for next season, very orgasmic indeed.

    our main problem in the recent years in particular has been our slow starts, which reflected in our first half performances as well, we’ve sort of had slow 6-7 months of the season and then towards the end , we have accelerated as past trend goes.

    if we can manage to come out of the blocks quicker come this august for the next season then i reckon we will be right up there, we just have to maintain this current intensity and not switch off .

  39. AFC says:

    BJ @ 18:44,

    that’s a good one. 😀

  40. AFC says:

    BJ, have you thought about writing a post for BK?

  41. Bond James says:

    another one jumps on the bandwagon 😀 and the crowd goes wild

    i says, thinking is hard work, AFC

    but never say never 😉

    Wigan, Get in there, that was the goal that brings Norwich to one step closer to relegation.

    if only Wigan can go on and win this game, plenty of effort against a very flat Swansea team.

  42. Highbury Harmony says:

    BJ, it is awfully close to that of Bayern’s this season but one cannot deny that theirs is not an outstanding kit as well. In all likelihood, that would be an alternate kit, however with red and white on the home kit and blue/purple on the away kit, I’d imagine the new alternate next year will either be a brighter yellow compared to the current alternate, white or bright blue.

    Also @ 18:44, well done mate :).

  43. TotalArsenal says:

    Evening guys

    Thanks for the fine comments and the kind words. 🙂

  44. TotalArsenal says:

    JM, as always thanks for the videos and insights – we hope to see you a lot on BK during the crazy and football-barren summer months! 😀

  45. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers RA 🙂

    The post was written over the last two weeks but was meant to come out soon after Dortmund’s victory over the Special One.

  46. TotalArsenal says:

    Admir 🙂

    You are quickly becoming one of my favourite bloggers on BK, with your insightful and fresh-angle comments. Your in-depth knowledge of the past and present of the European competitions adds real value to the blog: hvala puno! 😛

  47. TotalArsenal says:

    AFC – very good comment and agreed: a mixture of the two approaches for Arsenal would make sense, especially at this stage.

    Hope your career plans will come to fruition! 🙂

  48. TotalArsenal says:

    HH 🙂

    You might have a point there. Wenger is more reliant on quality of players, whereas Van Gaal makes players play exactly within his system of football, and they really do not need to be top class to become successful in his team(s). Klopp seems to focus on hard on the system as well, and seems to be able to replace players relatively easily.

    I reckon if Wenger is able to keep his first 11-16 players for a few years he will gradually produce another fine and competitive total football team, especially if he can add a bit of quality to it. Wenger had to put up with disproportionate departures of players over the last few years, but I also believe he is less able to deal with this adequately compared to Klopp and Van Gaal.

  49. TotalArsenal says:

    mmmm Wigan lose and Stoke are as good as safe now…. Spuds might get an easy right there… 😦

  50. TotalArsenal says:

    Evening and cheers Glic 🙂

    Have you seen anything new and award winning in Cornwall lately? 😆

  51. TotalArsenal says:

    17

    The core is solid enough, in fact it is very solid as our recent record of good results and mean defending show. Szczesny – Koz – BFG – Arteta – Ramsey – Rosicky/Jack – Giroud is pretty solid. What is lacking is a bit of flair/top quality….. which can grow from within and/or added this summer. Cheer up buddy! 😛

  52. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA @21:52 all agreed :). Wenger relies more on the quality of his players and allows them to play more expressive football than on a hard system. It is the main reason why we have failed to deliver silverware these past 8 years and the stadium debt/stingy owner/poor transfer purchases are largely to blame for this.

    He is slowly rebuilding what he once built and I reckon two top quality additions this summer will go a long way in making us competitive again with Europe’s elite. It’s important to secure our own players and also bring in more quality in order to promote more forward thinking football, opposed to the conservative, lack of confidence football we are currently displaying in the final third. Surely, more quality up front will lead to more attacking, forward intent.

    What I am impressed with right now is our ability to scrape out wins by any means possible. This is a very valuable mentality to have within the team going forward. Even AW acknowledges in his most recent newsletter that it’s great to have a grinding out win philosophy but that it’s unfortunate this mentality has come at the cost of more freedom and typical Arsenal football. He doesn’t believe that we’ll sacrifice our free flowing style in the future, just that it’s a necessity right now.

  53. Bond James says:

    that’s Wigan relegated then unless Norwich lose their remaining 2 games (very likely) and Wigan win vs Aston Villa – their only chance of surviving realistically.

    Wigan going down for us might not be such a bad thing in all honesty, this means new castle will be safe and won’t be giving us a hard time in our last game.

    Stoke will get a result Against Spuds (gut feeling), i have not seen Tony Pulis this animated from a very long time, his emotions especially from yesterday’s game were of a man on a mission.

    Spuds also have to play Sunderland, suffice to say if spuds fail to win tomorrow, i reckon there is very little way back for them unless we fail to win our next 2 games or if Chelsea choke (a possibility , as i fancy Aston Villa giving them a very tough game and after that it’s Everton and Moyes would want to showcase his skills and perhaps push for the 5th spot ?

  54. Bond James says:

    HH,

    we could do with a dynamic kit , the yellow and purple one wasn’t as good for me really…mind you i have a lovely tailor made kit on my fantasty footy team 😀 (that’s as far as my designing skills go).

    cheers mate.@21:25

  55. TotalArsenal says:

    All agreed HH, no graceful swanning without peddling vigorously below the surface. in sport there’s something quite attractive about grinding it out, and yes, it is good to see us have this quality in large amounts. 🙂

  56. TotalArsenal says:

    I hope you are right BJ – Arsenal/Arsene are quite hated in the land of Orcs and I would not be suprirsed if Spuds win with ease there…

  57. TotalArsenal says:

    BJ very funny at 18.44 and the Montpellier example is a very good one. Unfortunately, they have been plucked bear in the last six months..

  58. Highbury Harmony says:

    BJ, my favourite Arsenal alternate kit is still the white one from the 08/09 season (was the away kit in 06/07). I own this kit and it is still one of my favourites to this day, the Herb Chapman recognition on the inside and all across the kit is a nice touch of class too.

    I would prefer to see a white top, burgundy shorts and white/burgundy striped socks kit again as our alternate since there is an element of class that resonates from the colour white (re: Real Madrid’s all-white kits).

  59. Bond James says:

    TA,

    no matter how much they hate us, they would still want to finish in their usual mid table (upper half instead of the lower end of the table), besides the higher you finish in the league the bigger the pay cheques, that is incentive enough.

    we don’t need favours from stoke, they need to do themselves a favour and keep playing rugby on saturday i reckon 😀

    it’s understandable re- Montpellier, they had to sell their best players to make ends meet but even though they were a one season wonder, they still did their job in not being out muscled on the football pitch by the riches of PSG.

    HH,

    those were good kits, no doubt but i’m not sure about White tops , maybe because i just watched Swansea 😀

  60. Bond James says:

    Right, breaking news – (not entirely confirmed but is good enough i reckon)

    SAF is considering retirement from football – if it happens, i won’t be surprised as he always wanted to overtake Liverpool and knock them off their perch, with utd on 20 titles, i reckon jobs done and dusted.

    Jose . M may well be coming to England but i feel it might be towards north of england instead of down south.

  61. Bond James says:

    now this is what i am talking about, Hello to all those world class players out there, we’re going to get you, oh yes we are oh yes we are.

    http://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/news/arsenal-agree-puma-kit-deal-1874661?

  62. Highbury Harmony says:

    Oh no BJ, Puma have some of the worst kits around…the money in funds is nice though.

  63. TotalArsenal says:

    all good news BJ 😛

    Hope you are right re Rednose

  64. Bond James says:

    HH,

    what a coincidence we were discussing kits and voila, it’s the money that matters at the end, even if it’s 5 million more than what every other team in england gets minus mancs.

    but hey, you also wanted a white top, spuds also have a white one with puma on it and agreed it’s horrible but let’s hope it’s not as bad.

    it comes into affect next year, so i’ll probably wait till next year to get the new one.

    TA,

    it’s reported by one of the reporters from the telegraph, telegraph is sumwat reliable.

  65. Highbury Harmony says:

    Spuds are sponsored by Under Armour mate 🙂

  66. Highbury Harmony says:

    Speaking of which, I actually like the Spuds’ black/grey kit this year for some odd reason. Man City’s burgundy kit and blue/black striped kit are also class.

  67. Highbury Harmony says:

    BJ, you might even be fortunate enough to win a free kit with the FPL league we’re putting together next year ;). TA, are you on board with the BK FPL idea?

  68. TotalArsenal says:

    Wash your mouth out with salt water, HH!

  69. Bond James says:

    the panther spoils it, http://www.footballshirtculture.com/11/12-kits/tottenham-hotspur-11-12-puma-home-away-third-kits.html

    yes, everyone, you can shoot me now, i just posted the spuds kit – i’m guilty as charged.

    sounds good to me @ 23:02 – i’m all in on one condition , i would like my digits 007 printed on there 😀

  70. Highbury Harmony says:

    BJ, pretty sure you can design the kit in any way you like if you do the custom option (name and number), though I don’t think you can have 3 digits on the back, despite how fitting it is to your name ;).

  71. TotalArsenal says:

    HH, it would be great to have a FPL on BK. It is not for me though, as I don’t like to pick players from our direct competitors and that is the only way of having a bit of a chance to do well.

  72. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA, it all depends really. I’ve seen some of the top 10,000 teams in the world operate on an anti-top 4 basis (no Manure, $hitty, Arsenal or Spuds players) or ones that only select players from the mid and lower table clubs and their favourite one. Not taking point hits for multiple transfers seems to be crucial to doing well, in addition to having in-form players.

    For example, having Theo since he started receiving playing time would have been massive in FPL, not to mention OG, Poldi and Santi during their hot patches. Kos and Mert offer great value as clean sheet possibilities too. Everton and WHU defenders are excellent, as are Liverpool forwards etc. What I’m trying to say is for a nominal fee of around $10 there is a lot of fun to be had over the course of a FPL season with fellow BK’ers! It’s unpredictable as having the best players is not always the best strategy.

  73. jgc says:

    TA,

    On article, totally agreed. I think personally the big money wrecks some of the fun for all fans.

    That said, a good example to look at is American Baseball, where revenues have been unequal for many years. My boyhood team (Pittsburgh Pirates) have not been able to keep up despite a perennial strength prior to TV dollars. However, these days the big money (Yankees, Red Sox at times and many others) dont always win either. To support your argument, baseball is weirdly a game where the team as a whole dominates the outcome more than individuals, especially over a long season (where football now has longer seasons including CL etc).

    Thus, looking at that, I would say there is hope for the “total football” approach, which I too personally like anyway, but it requires that ability to hold the basic elements “in play” long enough. That to me includes CL football and players… More succinctly, if you go down the total football path you have to then say that AWs success in staying in the CL is a big differentiator (perhaps) between us and Spuds, ‘Pool et al, in our future potential…

    Regarding, I think it was HH or you TA, the note about Stoke being less inclined vs Spuds now. I dont think so, as I believe their leg breaking brand of total football doesnt really have an “off” button to it… Here’s hoping anyway! 🙂

    cheers — jgc

  74. TotalArsenal says:

    hahaha HH, you are a fine salesman! 😛

  75. TotalArsenal says:

    Am watching Fiorentina v Roma (recorded). Great game and Jovetic looking good. I am liking the look of Ljajic,Cuadrado and Pizzaro as well. Fiorentina are a good team.

  76. Bond James says:

    TA,

    don’t worry regardless of the amount of excuses you make, you’ll never finish last as that place belongs to moi 😀

    it will be fun, let’s get it started – all in favour say aye aye

    HH,

    what do you make of the comments made by our young arrogant pole ?

    i reckon he needs to keep his mouth shut and not act as their motivator, the guy has a big mouth and unnecessarily attracts attention, he only just got back his place due to Fab’s injury and is right back in the spot light – Wenger needs to control him better even though he only stated the obvious but it was the wrong time to do so.

  77. Bond James says:

    TA,

    Jovetic came close to scoring hit the bar 😉 oppps sorry.

  78. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers jgc – always good to read your comments. 🙂

    What do you mean with holding the basic elements ‘in play’, if I may ask?

    Night all.

  79. TotalArsenal says:

    Fiorentina play him as a striker but I have said it many times, he is wasted there. Let him drive attacks in the hole with Giroud in front of him.

    Anyway, really off to bed now. Bon nuit!

  80. Highbury Harmony says:

    Jgc, how dare you! I would never make such a comment about Stoke being less inclined against Spuds now hahaha. That was definitely TA mate ;).

  81. Highbury Harmony says:

    BJ, while I appreciate his passion in finishing above the Spuds, it’d be better to just show the results in the table opposed to taking public jabs at the opposition. Now, if we somehow finish below them, he will look incredible stupid and I’m sure there will be some unnecessary jabs coming our way (if there were not any already coming our way, which we know is unlikely).

  82. Bond James says:

    i would hate to admit it but least they have beaten all teams above them except chelsea (i hope that doesn’t change tomorrow).

    but Wenger wasn’t joking when he said he has “Mental problems”.

    i don’t mind him being cockey and all there happens to be a very fine line between being cockey and an utter idiot.

    even if spuds finish below us, those comments are not helping us in anyway, may as well just stay shut and get on with it, mind you, it shows his actually has no class and has scooped to low levels.

    at times like these, we should be focusing on ourselves and concentrating on our own set of skills or if you don’t have them skills then do a Giroud and pose topless (already done this evening on that men’s mag) to further globalize and increase our fan base 😀

  83. Bond James says:

    *shows he actually

  84. Highbury Harmony says:

    BJ, that is quite the passionate, spirited reaction to Ches’ comments about the Spuds! I’m not too critical of the situation, it just brings unnecessary/unwanted attention to our club in our fight for top 4. Yet another reason for the media to eventually blow things out of proportion…

  85. jgc says:

    TA, HH and BJ et al,

    TA: by keeping all elements in play it means that as you assemble a team of very good players to play total football, you need to hold the main elements of that team (often your backbone down the middle, defenders, mids and striker) basically the same. You cannot chop and change all the time. As you build that means you have to have a core you keep, and that core cant or shouldbnt be on the wings. We’ve not done well in that regard of recent years and have paid for it I suspect.

    HH: sorry mate! (:oops:)

    BJ: for the sake of it, I dont mind Scze’s statements, though I understand they are highly motivating and someone like Bale doesnt need more motivation personally speaking.. That said, you never have to read an American (or NZ) paper about their sports because all stars read from the same script (most of the time) which is to never say anything that sounds like it makes any distinction. All opponents are hard workers with lots of talent and on any given day… (zzzzz) …

    So, yes, it doesnt necessarily help, but they are all professionals and likely know he’s nuts, and I doubt it has much impact beyond making it interesting for the rest of us! 🙂

    cheers — jgc

  86. JM says:

    New kit deal ??

    Arsenal FC “agree” record £170 million kit deal (five-year contract worth) with Puma, which is £30m++ per year. It would start at the end of next season (2013-2014), after the deal with Nike ends.

    Puma have strong links with the African market and that is an area where they believe Arsenal are particularly strong and have even bigger potential. Recently, Arsenal FC agreed a three-year partnership with Nairobi-headquartered Imperial Bank, which issue co-branded debit cards throughout Kenya and Uganda. The cards will offer a range of benefits including official Arsenal merchandise and match tickets.

    Mentioned on earlier posts on mock-ups of Arsenal’s Puma kits for season 2014-2015:
    http://www.101greatgoals.com/blog/arsenal-agree-kit-deal-with-puma-the-first-mock-ups/

    Nike’s current big football clients includes Manchester United (previously reported to offer help United with transfer fees and wages to acquire the services of Wesley Sneijder and also reportedly negotiating with United over a new 10-year sponsorship deal worth £1 billion. United’s current deal with Nike is £287 million for 15 years), Manchester City (starting 2013-2014 season), Barcelona, PSG, Inter, Juventus in Europe and Santos, Corinthians and Boca Juniors in South America.

    Adidas’s current big football clients includes Bayern Munich (where their CEO, Herbert Hainer is also the Vice-Chairman of its Board), Real Madrid, Chelsea, AC Milan, Ajax, Marseille in Europe and River Plate, Palmeiras in South America.

    Tottenham has American sports company, Under Armour as their sponsors, while Liverpool has Warrior Sports as theirs.

    Back to Puma, they have the following players endorsing their boots:

    From Arsenal (current):
    Arteta, Giroud, Sagna, Rosicky

    From Arsenal (previous):
    Henry, Clichy, Fabregas (Could Puma’s involvement be part of the rumoured link of him reuniting with Arsenal next season or 2014-2015 season ??)

    And also endorsed by these other players:

    Aguero, Y.Toure, Reus!! (a possibility in 2014-2015 season), Falcao, Buffon, Cheillini, Vidic, Carrick, P.Jones, Lichtsteiner(Juventus RB), Verratti (PSG MF) etc.

  87. Highbury Harmony says:

    http://www.espn.co.uk/football/sport/story/206005.html

    What the f*ck is wrong with Arsenal players and not being able to keep their mouths shut to the media this week? The latest has Giroud being over-confident proclaiming that his first season has been better than both Henry’s and Drogba’s (then goes on to say this is the quality he has thus implying he will be better than them). I’m all for confidence, but why the hell does he need to try and self promote himself in such a way…a slew of articles have now been written further criticizing him for comparing himself to such players and knocking him for being over-exuberant.

    Is AW no longer managing his players? This is definitely not the right time to be bringing unnecessary pressure and attention to our squad. We need to focus on football and win the next two matches! Ches and Giroud, keep your god damn mouths shut!

  88. Highbury Harmony says:

    Also, I was unaware OG was that thick headed. Henry scored 26 goals and 11 assists in his first season at Arsenal…oh boy

  89. henrychan says:

    Morning all..
    Is the deal with Puma true..?? Wow.. wonderful.. but no news from arsenal.com yet..
    Didn’t We already engage with Adidas..??

  90. Highbury Harmony says:

    Hi Henry, the Puma deal is not set in stone much like the Adidas one that was rumoured to be done earlier this year. Adidas pulled out of the deal due to a fear of Arsenal not qualifying for the CL I believe. Also, Puma’s offer is greater than that of Adidas. Guess we’ll have to wait and see what happens.

  91. JGC says:

    HH et al

    So, the pressure just went up yet another notch then!

    — jgc

  92. TotalArsenal says:

    Morning guys 🙂

    Thanks jgc – all understood now and you are right, of course!

    Re Szczesny’s comment: I am not a big fan of those sort of provocations either. They do often work though. I hate it when Evra does this to our team before a MU-Arse game and it is all done to destabilise us / create doubt on purpose: and let’s face it, it sometimes works.

  93. Red Arse says:

    Morning TA, my friend! 😀

  94. Red Arse says:

    I have to say that much tho’ I like Chezzer, he is not the most intelligent person, is he?

  95. VCC says:

    I’m with HH…..Wenger should tell his players to keep their mouths shut. Dumb Arse Chezzer and Giroud. ….STFU

  96. allezkev says:

    Re: Puma deal (if true?)…

    Nobody saw that one coming.

    Excellent news, now go and spend it on a couple of strikers…

  97. Red Arse says:

    You tell ’em, Vickers, and good morning to you! 🙂

    If you threaten to release the deadly duo Glicplic and Terryterror to ravish them with a jar of jam and a large feather duster, that should shut them up!! 🙂

  98. Red Arse says:

    Hi allez, 🙂

    There has been some reports over the last few months of Arsenal not being happy with Nike for some time.
    The surprise, to me, is the amount of the sponsorship, and the fact it is Puma and not Addidas.

    Now we need a deal for the training kit, like Manure have, altho this deal may include that too.

  99. VCC says:

    Morning my hero,how are you today Redders? ..I had plenty of chores in the garden fixed for today but with this weather looks like I will be blogging all day 😉

    I don’t think it would be a pretty sight…GLiC in his pinafore…….it’s pink you know.

  100. TotalArsenal says:

    Morning Redders, Vickers and Allezers 😛

  101. VCC says:

    Redders,

    When players shout their mouths off I find it often has a habit of biting them in the bum 😦

  102. VCC says:

    Total, Morning….Henry looks lovely, bet he is getting big and strong now.

  103. TotalArsenal says:

    Well how many times do we hear Arsenal are too nice?

  104. VCC says:

    Yes Total, that’s also true. But I just think we should shout and holler after the event.

  105. Red Arse says:

    Vickers,

    Could be even worse if it was Glic’s false choppers biting their asses!! 🙂

  106. TotalArsenal says:

    agreed vickers: it is not something I like either. Szczesny, like GLIC, thrives on cockyness, albeit different sorts! hahaha 😛

    Henry is almost seven months old and about 21kg, so yes he is doing fine and adding a lot of fun to the family. Loves shagging his blanket though hahaha 🙂

  107. VCC says:

    Redders,

    There’s nothing false about Glic……………..that’s why MGM are using him in their latest low budget movie…..”Frankenstein in Cornwall” …….no make up needed…..also suits him = FIC

  108. VCC says:

    Total…….Shagging the blanket…..urgh….not nice. Although it’s better than some of the things I’ve seen Glic shag……..trust me, a blanket is prettier. 🙂

  109. VCC says:

    Where’s Terry been lately, I’ve missed him 😦

  110. VCC says:

    UMF 1 …Glic’s odds = 1127-1

  111. TotalArsenal says:

    Terry seems to be on a mini-break 😕

  112. TotalArsenal says:

    New Post – New Post!

    Our master writer from Pakistan, ‘Mair, has produced a fine post in which he looks at the five key things that need changing in order to get back to glory again. Enjoy! 🙂

  113. Ain't Got A Kalou says:

    HH, I agree wit Glic, that was just embarrassing dude…I know my name is extremely unique and humorous but stealing it seems to be below u ;). Guess it was only a matter of time.

    You see, I’m a vengeful Gooner and tried to post something under your name but it wouldn’t let me!

    While we’re on the subject, I agree that Ox is definitely a maybe. The case for Gibbs being a top talent could be made if he could just damn stay healthy, and prob the only thing holding him back is that, more concentration on d and better crossing. Woj doesn’t get enough cred for the work he does and is probably deserving of being top talent or near it.

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