Forget Mbappe or Lemar, THIS is what Wenger has been Looking for

Gunners with Gumption!

Finally, the Transfer Window is shut and Arsenal came out of it pretty well. We kept our best players, added two quality players to the first team squad and sold off the less effective players, including one of the contract rebels. There were a few more players who really should have moved on, but maybe it will be they who will make the difference come the end of the season.

Most importantly, we kept hold of Mesut and Alexis for at least one more season. Just imagine the headlines if Wenger had to let one, let alone  both, go. With making a net profit through the sales of AOC, Gibbs and Gabriel being higher than the cost of Lacazette and Kolasinac (for free but high salary), Wenger will have this season’s estimated £70-100m and next summer’s equal fund available to replace Mesut and Alexis properly. And my money is still on at least one signing a new contract before Christmas.

You may have wanted Arsene to spend a lot more f*cking money, just because the others have done, but if you think about it a bit more you will realise that Wenger and the BoD will be pleased with the way the TW turned out for the club.

We did not play well against Pool and we discussed it to bits. How do we ‘turn the season round’? Many of you wanted us to let loads of our players go and buy new players. Some of you felt that we needed to buy a quality DM or two to save the season.

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I think there is far too much focus on the parts of the whole and not enough on what keeps those parts together. We are fixated with replacing parts, whether it is the players or the leader – the part that has an explicit power over the other parts. There is an instant satisfaction from doing this: it allows blame to be allocated and pain/dysfunction to be removed, and new hope to be invested in the new parts.

I reckon we needed a second, better option on the left wing-back position and we also needed another regular goalscorer. We could have done without these additions, but they are very likely to make us stronger. And Kola and Lacazette have already shown that they are good new signings.

What is really important is of course to make the parts work together. Against Pool, we lacked cohesion, we lacked machine-like togetherness and collective focus. They did not have a better set of players than us but outscored us on those intangible factors. For me, it is all about what Pirsig calls ‘Gumption’ in his fabulous book ‘Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance’:

“Gumption is the psychic gasoline that keeps the whole thing going. If you haven’t got it there’s no way the motorcycle can possibly be fixed. But if you have got it and know how to keep it there’s absolutely no way in this whole world that motorcycle can keep from getting fixed. It’s bound to happen. Therefore the thing that must be monitored at all times and preserved before anything else is the gumption.”

Cambridge dictionary gives this definition for gumption:

‘The ability to decide what is the best thing to do in a particular situation, and to do it with energy and determination.’

Rather than focus incessantly on changing players and/or the manager, what we really need to hope for is a return of  gumption. Once we have got it again it will be absolutely priceless for Arsenal. We have still the best record for gumption, held by our very own Invincibles. To go a whole season unbeaten and then win the title was a combination of very good players and a mindset of utter togetherness and being constantly in the zone. Oh those boys had gumption alright!

We have the players and the manager to turn things round again but they need to rediscover their gumption.  How is it done? Well that is of course hard to answer. A lot of talking and then training on the pitch, I reckon. And then it is about going out there and do it together and making changes in attitude and focus where and whenever required. It is also about listening to each other and making sure that each and every players gives their all. It is about leadership on and off the pitch.

In essence, it is about starting a game with the right collective mindset and believe in each other;  it is about playing with the right tempo and hunger, and the right focus. It is about Gunners with Gumption.

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We beat the Chavs in the FA Cup final a few months ago because we had all of this in spades. We played with the much recently criticized midfield trio of  Xhaka, Ramsey and Ozil. They were awesome as a mini-unit and fitted perfectly into our 3-4-3 system. The much admired Chelsea defenders were humbled for 90+ minutes. We pressed high and seldom or never let Chelsea out of their own half, and this was only possible because we had the collective and constant ability ‘to decide what is the best thing to do in a particular situation, and to do it with energy and determination’ i.e. gumption.

Let’s hope our players and manager can find back quickly their psychic gasoline. I have no doubt that Wenger and his assistants are working day and night to find the magic potion before the Cherries come to town.

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By TotalArsenal





11 thoughts on “Forget Mbappe or Lemar, THIS is what Wenger has been Looking for

  • Hmmm. That’s one for the dressing room notice board; or maybe, in Mertesacker’s locker.
    It’s going to be on the manager to bring us back to the way we know we can be. The players too need to have a sit-down with one another and straighten one another out.

  • Good one T. The style of play you describe in the FA cup final is real. After watching the lazy, uncaring, immature performances againt leicester and liverpool (and a fatal lapse vs stoke) almost make it seem a century ago. We beat Mourinho in the community shield the same way, for example.

    Forgetting the transfers that we got, or didnt get. Forgetting the individual players performances for just a moment — I still wonder why the coaches could not have the team ready to play that style against a top team test in liverpool. Wenger manager motivation ? Bould and others drilling discipline in training? Pointing out mistakes of the first 2 matches, getting players focused.
    It’s not like they couldn’t see it coming. I told a scouser friend I was very worried after seeing liverpool on a high in champions league qualifiers, and our worrying defense.

    This was the lack of desire that cost us top four last year, regardless of a strong finish, we were so bad in the middle of the season that we couldnt recover. I don’t know how Arsene can get the team motivated again.

    One missing part, Santi. The one player i kept posting that I wanted to see replaced.
    I saw a stat yesterday that said that our winning percentage with him starting is 80%, and without him, it drops to 45%. That’s a powerful statistic, and I think it proves my point.

    I love Jack Wilshere so I hope that he will surprise TF out of all of us. He will need the blessing of health, with that, he can do it. Nothing would make me happier.

    I mentioned recently that I’d love to see reiss nelson replace ox, but I’m not sure about his defense or physical strength yet. Maybe a back four with him learning to track back for a spell would be a good start, or will it be Iwobi being promoted, which also could be an improvement on Oxlade. What do you think?

  • Hi all..
    A very positive post TA..
    I like the word “Gumption”.. new for me.. remind me of Forest Gump.. hehehe..

    Our TW not great enough but still good.. The most important thing that we can keep Sanchez and Ozil.. and add Lacazette and Kolasinac..

    Ox is something that I regret it.. not because of his departed.. but because Wenger put to much effort to keep him.. which cause us suffering two important games..
    I think Wenger must let him go a month ago.. before the PL started.. so He didn’t need to confused about who will play as our RWB.. And his moved to Liverpool after our lost 4-0 is so scratch our Pride..
    And I don’t really can imagine which position will he play in Pool squad.. but forget it.. never mind.. hehehehe..

    So, we still have Debuchy.. hehehehe..
    We have an option for RWB beside Bellerin.. And I agree with Admir.. That he can be great again in his new role..

    Now, who will we face next week..?? Bournemouth..?? Perfect.. A good test before Chelsea..
    Sanchez got another injured..?? Is it true..??

  • TA …… your message of unity anđ solidarity is well appreciated. The relationship btwin the fans and the team ideally should be mutual. The fans there to inspire the team. The team there to lift up the fans. Unfortunately the Arsensl fans have been spoilt by the 49 class. We are now left with the task of engineering a cultural shift which in whatever sphere is never easy to achieve. But fight on we must.

    I do wonder if this is one of the consequences of being a top team. In the Nou Camp it is the team that conducts the mood of the fans and not the othet way round. Same at the Bernabeu. In lonely Burnley the fans sing their throat hoarse in solidarity with their team 5 goals down. Maybe one of the odd ways in which mother nature uses to assure the cyclic nature of fortunes. But we fight on for that again is a prodding of nature.

    While we invest in the monumental task of achieving this culural shift in our fandom, we would be tinkering with the team hoping they can lead the charge. That’s a pragmatic approach.

    I now have a view point, thanks for a cue from TA, that has given me confidence that Ozil and Sanchez would sign improved deals. And something tells me that in Wilshire might lie our joker of the season. He has been reconstructing his game and i believe he is about to re-emerge. When all the transfer dust settles, we have last season’s team stiffened with Kola and Lacaz as TA rightly reminded us. Not in the least a tragic situation. We’d have a sporting chance. Only thing i hope for is that no player be pampered. We can afford it with all the talents in the squad, not least Reiss Nelson

  • Thank you all, FFGs.

    Henry has reminded us of the most important thing: three games ahead starting this Saturday. Lets grab the bull by the horns. First Bournemouth, then Koln and then Stanford Bridge. Time for some awesome gumption to kick in!

  • TA, great writeup between stories of legends and Ozil trading barbs at one another.

    For a technical person like me, Gumption is like the coolant and the engine oil in the engine, or the network cabling in the office.

    Without network cabling, there is no way you can connect to the internet (And please do not say that we can use wifi instead, as the connection between the wifi and the backend connections need a network cable too).

    Without coolant or engine oil, you will have an overheating issue, and explosion might occur. Explosions can me methophorical, like fans’ outbursts or player’s revolt… like failure of an important component is equal to a player not playing well.

    Sorry for the overly-technical descriptions, but I guess you get my drift.

    So, let’s check the network cabling, top up the coolant and the engine oil, and off we go take the EPL summit! 🙂

  • Thank you for your commendation TA.

    Been affected by the negative posts all round, and you talked about something that I can relate technically, so something positive to light up this blog.

    PE, talking about Reiss Nelson, he had just won the PL2 player of the month. If this is not something that catches the fans’ and the manager’s eyes, I do not think anything else could. He is certainly someone worthy to play in central midfield or the right winger position, and only that will spark the team to play well again.

  • Jnyc, sometimes players have to sort it out among themselves, think on their feet during games.
    I’m sure you’ve heard the story from the 1997-98 season, it’s in Tony Adams’ book, when the senior players like Adams, Dixon and co took Vieira and Petit to one side, early in that season and suggested that they didn’t bomb forward together and leave the back four exposed.
    Patrick & Manu adjusted their game, became a brilliant d/m pairing and we went onto win the Double.

    No input from Arsene, the players rectified it among themselves.

    The team in 1970-71 did the same when they sorted some issues among themselves.

    The manager can’t do it all, even if Arsene tries his best to do so.

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