“The End Is Near… Not!”
It appears that dark menacing clouds have slowly descended upon us at Arsenal and there seems to be no reprieve in sight. If you listen to or watch any PL football show, if you read any sports section in the papers, you would think that the end of Arsenal as a football club is near. Yes, we may currently be in a horrible funk. Yes, we may be swimming against a very strong tide. And yes, the night may be very long and depressing but soon, there will be light again… The sun will shine again… A new day will dawn… Slowly, our players will rediscover the confidence, the joy, and the passion of playing football and start winning again… Fans all over the world will rejoice once more… That day is soon coming.
It is totally understandable that everyone associated with Arsenal FC is suffering immeasurable pain in some form or fashion right now, but this is only temporary. This will only make our return to the top even sweeter. Once a new regime comes in this summer, we will all have something good to talk about and think about again. Unfortunately, that will sadly mean the end of Arsene Wenger’s reign. This will be like a much-needed blood transfusion for Arsenal FC and we will kick on from there and come good again. It may take some time but eventually we will get ourselves out of this apocalyptic jam. I firmly believe this. So, the end of Arsene Wenger may be near but this is by no means the end of Arsenal FC as a dominant English and European football club.Let’s all use the remaining few games of the season not to whine and lambast the manager and players, but to actually show our appreciation for Arsene Wenger, our greatest manager ever, and to thank him for all that he has done for Arsenal FC and the English Premier League. He is a true legend and we will always hold him in the highest regards at the Emirates. His love of and dedication to Arsenal FC is truly incomparable.
So to Arsene, I say: “Tres desole, mais il est temps de partir, Mr. Wenger. Merci infiniment pour tout”.
Thanks for everything Arsene. We are and will forever be grateful.
What can Arsene do to end this morale-sapping, confidence-destroying string of performances? More importantly, are the players capable of responding to their Manager’s demands and at least put up a semblance of a fight until the end of the season? A few months ago, I authored a post advocating for some sort of change, whether it is personnel-wise, tactical, or managerial. Now due to the very negative atmosphere surrounding the club, only a managerial change can bring about harmony, confidence, and positivity at Arsenal, I fear. This is not only to save Arsenal from Arsene Wenger, it is also to save Arsene Wenger from Arsenal. The great man’s legacy is being tarnished before our eyes and I truly feel very sad and upset for him. He does not deserve all the vitriol going around everywhere these days. By all means, he is not blameless. He should have left quietly and with dignity after winning his third FA Cup in four years. He didn’t because he loves Arsenal too much and still believes he is the right person to put things right. Unfortunately for him, his players are way too fragile mentally, have no leadership skills, and can’t seem to pull themselves together and get out of this deep and suffocating gutter they are in. Now he is truly being forced out by just about everyone and that is sad. Will Stan Kroenke and the Board be brave enough to wield the axe in the Summer?
Where do we go from here?
It is sad to say that we have now pretty much hit rock bottom. We are forever marooned in sixth place until the end of the season which in my opinion cannot come fast enough. The players need this season over and done with as soon as possible so that they can recharge their battery, reboot their system, regain some confidence, get some understanding and togetherness, and restart from scratch (hopefully with a new man in charge). The great thing about hitting rock bottom is that you can’t go any lower. You can only look up and start the hard, long climb back up. And with support from Kroenke and the board, and from all of us supporters, I am very optimistic that Arsenal will get back up to the top in the next 3 years or so. We just need sort out Wenger’s position as quickly as possible, our terrible defensive issues, our vacant midfield issues, with a few tactical changes thrown into the mix and we will be ready to kick on next season.
How do we counter Manchester City’s dominance?
This is really a tough nut to crack. Unfortunately for us and the rest of the Premier League, City’s dominance is here to stay, for as long as Pep Guardiola is in charge, especially now that he’s built his own team with the players that he wants. It is truly amazing that in just two years in the PL, he has managed to recreate (or at least come close to it) what he did with that great Barca team about a decade ago. I really hated the way Guardiola’s Barca and Bayern Munich teams kept possession and embarrassed any team at will, even though I was amazed and very jealous of their style of play at the same time. I had hoped and dreamed that Pep would replicate such a success with Arsenal once he left Bayern, but alas, Arsenal chose to keep faith in Wenger. Hats off to him nonetheless. He has done a fantastic job with City in just two years!
Man City are, however, not “invincible”. They can be beaten as Liverpool showed us all a few months back. Funny thing in football is, teams that press high don’t really fancy being pressed high themselves at all. For 90 freaking minutes, no less! What Liverpool did to City at Anfield was breath-taking. It was the best game of the season by far and City did not enjoy the taste of their own medicine. I saw a City team that was run ragged, utterly frustrated, and clearly devoid of any satisfactory solution to get out of Jurgen Klopp’s all out kamikaze high press everywhere, all game long. Although Liverpool did eventually concede 3 goals toward the end (due to tiredness and bad defending), they ran completely rampant that day and could have easily scored 6 or 7 goals. I thoroughly enjoyed watching City suffer and found new respect for Jurgen Klopp. To me, his mantra that day was: “Hey Pep, anything you can, I can do better, so feck off”.
This has got to be the ultimate blueprint for every team wishing to stop Man City next season, in my humble opinion (I am open and eager to hear everyone else’s idea or suggestions). Do Arsenal currently have the right personnel (players and manager), mentality, and desire to imitate this kind of performance next season? In my view, this is what it’s going to take to dethrone Manchester City, and Liverpool have got it (and the right manager to do it). Being too cautious or parking the bus and hoping to hit City on the counter is just not going to work. They are too good individually and collectively to let that beat them. Can anyone on this site familiar with the various managers out there please enlighten us as to who (beside Jurgen Klopp), is capable to recruit the right personnel and get all his players to play “heavy metal” football like Pool do for 90 minutes every game? This will require some serious conditioning, stamina, and preparations. I genuinely would like to know which new manager could come in and be a good fit for us in this way when Wenger does leave. A new manager who could instil fear, demand high performance, and commend respect from our current group of players.
My wish for next couple of months
As we can all see, the players are currently not in the right place confidence and mentality-wise. Constantly berating and criticizing them and the manager further deteriorate the situation and really does no good at all. We know what needs to be done this summer and so do Arsenal FC. Until then, we should all come together as one, support the team win or lose (so long as we improve our performances) and start the process of building the foundation this team is going to need to finish this season strongly and have something positive to look forward to next season.
So for the remainder of the season, let us show everyone the meaning of the Arsenal creed:
“Victoria Concordia Crescit”
42 thoughts on “Wenger’s Successor: A Pep, A Klopp or A Third Way?”
Great stuff, Gino. Well written and very balanced, but what else could we expect from our very own sailing Gooner?
I think you are right to show respect to Arsene till the end but also look forward to his replacement. Should it be a Pep-alike, Klopp-alike, Wenger-alike or something different all together? I will give that some thought… back in a bit!
Maybe the most Klopp like manager out there is ironically enough the Pool previous manager, Rodgers. Maybe that is why his name has been mentioned in the press, although I am not sure how serious we should take this. I was v impressed with Rodgers’ Pool when I saw them live at the home of football a few seasons ago. The problem is always the lack of balance in a Klopp of Rodgers’ team. Often they are fantastic but once in a while they are awful. I just don’t believe Klopp will win anything with the way he sets up teams in the PL.
Guardiola is pretty much the ticket, and I reckon we need to find a manager who can add some discipline and better defending to Arsenal. For me, it is either Joachim Low or Pelligrini, or, a bit younger, I like the former Watford manager, Sanchez-Flores.
Nice article Gino and a pleasant change showing respect for Wenger the man and the manager, but it is way too soon to bemoan our fate and his and there is no justification to dismiss the season outrigh because you are afraid. As Samuel Clemens said, ¨reports of my death are highly exaggerated¨ when his obituary appeared in the press rather prematurely. Your assessment is too pessimistic and gloomy and your wording shows profound pessimism, which is NOT a Gooner’s usual attitude. The Arsenal are going through rough seas at the moment but the ship isn’t sinking nor are we far off course. Here are my reasons for maintaining this more optimistic attitude:
1) Wenger has vast experience and has dragged the Arsenal out of more serious situations,
2) We are still in the early stages of integrating the new faces into the team and especially with the new young players, we need a lot more time to rebuild the team chemistry,
3) The media,press and the internet blogettas are using hyperbole and viciousness in equal combinations to joyfully demean Wenger and the Arsenal. Bad news sells and even worse news needs to be made up to sell more. Don’t believe everything you read in the British press,most people use it to wrap up their garbage.
4) The referees no longer need to disadvantage the Arsenal, and if you don’t believe they have been purposely abusing us, visit FOOTBALL IS FIXED website or UNTOLD-ARSENAL to see the hard facts and well organized statistics showing just this.
5) We have enough talent and desire to start winning again, we seem to lack discipline, speed and defensive cohesion. As well, Cech, who is one of best ever keepers, has started to make mistakes that are atypical of him. He’s well aware of his performances and will correct them for sure.
6) Guardiola has done what Wenger did back in 1997-9 and brought City to the top BUT with an unlimited budget from the Oil Sheiks. We will never have that depth of financing however we have shown that we can spend to get top players we want…and that will continue in the summer under
7) Public opinion, the AST, the Arsenal haters, and supporters who prefer to bitch,moan demean the club,the players and the manager claiming they are ¨supporters¨ is none of Arsenal’s business, They know what the situation is and they are working overtime to fix it, but it will take time. As Arsene said, confidence is like walking up stairs but when you lose it,it is like taking an express elevator down. Remember that the net is anonymous so any spuds supporter, or any mentally challenged blogger can destroy anyone else’s reputation in an instant.
8) We are still in the Europa and the FA Cup and so have s0mething attainable to play for until May. The players know that and will respond, as they have always done, with extra effort and commitment. They like being at Wembley and do well in Europe what with the better officiating and different style of play European teams offer.
I am optimistic about both the team,Wenger and our true supporters who,I am sure you are one of. We WILL right the ship, regain our momentum and end the season in a far better place than we are now.
I’m an unabashed silver-lining type myself. Will be an Arsenal and Arsene Wenger fan in equal amounts until Le Prof departs. Probably after. And, from the few reads of Gino’s posts I’ve been privy to? See him much the same. But I see things differently than Gino does in one respect. That Mssr. Wenger ‘held on’ one season too long — and ought to have left on best terms last May.
See, I feel he was given the new 2-year deal– in order to stay through this one season. Wenger loves this club like nothing else– ever. The club wasn’t ready to make the massive shift last Summer. Famhy was still ‘new’. Mislintat and Sanllehi not yet on-board. Deadwood not jettisoned. Sanchez not sorted. Ozil not re-signed.
You don’t bring in a caretaker for a single season, dump all that on him– then go looking for the guy you really want after this May. Who the heck– of any stature– was going to voluntarily walk into THAT?! Not any of the names we’re talking about today.
Only Arsene Wenger.
Arsene is stoically taking every last bit of stick– from every corner– and every comer– because the club needed him to. Regardless of results this season. And who knew? He might have pulled a rabbit from the tophat one more time. Long odds, but still could.
Wenger has been under-fire for 10-years. He could do the last nine weeks of this season standing on his head. I have– will always have– and will continue to show my respect for a great man and manager.
Still. Giving everything for the club.
A fast post of a funny rumor..
Wenger swapped with Emery.. Hehehe..
Jw1, had we won a couple of games and lost the tough ones i will still be happy with Wenger. The problem is that we do not seem to kick our way out. Just sitting around and let the season pass us by.
Sportsmen are fighters. No point if we are not fighting hard.
And if walking is what one consider as lack of confidence, then we do not have confidence in the team picking themselves up.
“What now?” Replace Wenger with a new manager. Ancelotti has a good cup record and all we have to play for is Europa League.
“Where do we go from here?” Due to the draft system in NBA, a lot of shit-awful clubs tend to go tanking their games to get a better position before the draft. It has already started and there is around 19 games per club to be played in the regular season. We have seen Leicester City and Chelsea winning the league respectively after missing out on the European football a season before their respective title. If we can’t win Europa League to secure CL revenue (which is important to cover our wage bill), maybe we should start thinking about letting Burnley on our 6th place instead. The way we have been playing, it will happen anyway.
“How do we counter Manchester City’s dominance?” Wenger has been moaning about so many games we had to play (which doesn’t make sense at all) so there is a way to avoid it: go all-in for the league next season. Focus on the league, use 15-18 players in the rotation like Leicester, Chelsea and City have done in the last three league campaigns, use domestic cups for fringe players and youth players to gain some experience and that’s it. Guardiola’s teams ask for a near-perfection campaign from their rivals (as Tuchel’s Borussia, Pellegrini’s and Mourinho’s Real have all tasted) and there is only one way to do it – focus on the league completely.
Gino, I have not had the pleasure of reading a Post authored by you before, altho at the back of my mind your style did ring a bell, anyway, a beautifully constructed and careful marshalling of the current situation.
If I can, I would like to return to re-read and respond to the many points you have made.
Thanks for a fine piece of writing!
While my comments gather moss waiting in moderation for my friend TA to release into the bog ol’ blogging world, I would like to say that your optimistic comment was well received by this blogger, OMG, even if it will not be a view too widely accepted by some of the disaffected Gooners one sees on other blogs.
[By the way, It was Mark Twain who conjured up the remark “the reports of my death etc” immediately after an obituary for him was printed in 1906] 🙂
” …. dark menacing clouds… ” that sounds exotic, invites adventure. It’d come and go and there would be tales and laughter. The tempest is soon over and in my mind’s eyes I have already sighted the shores. Gino, thanks for the journey.
I see your point– and actually think it dovetails with my view. Had this campaign been just a bit more palatable there wouldn’t be any wolfish din for Wenger’s head-on-a-pike at this stage of the season.
Back in August last year– at the end of the transfer window, I was very concerned about the PR aspects of selling Sanchez to City. Then, again worried PR-wise about him signing for City on a free in January. But with the TW work done by the new guys in January– intent and savvy were shown. The club reclaimed ground in the PR turf war.
What would be the thinking for the club would to pull the plug now? Where is the advantage? In public relations? The PR disaster would be doing so. Angering those that aren’t at this point.
It’s going to be a tough last-quarter of the season. Time to test your mettle. Stand or run.
Jw1, by pulling the plug now will anger the pro-Wenger fans. Although they are not out in full force, it is clear that there is a significant percentage of fans that still hopes that Wenger can steady the ship. I am standing with one leg on pro-Wenger and the other leg still unsure where to rest on.
So, both options the club takes will be a PR disaster, and it seems like it is easier for Wenger to tell the team to just position themselves at their correct positions and play football the Arsenal way.
Interesting to see Marcus McGuane getting* promoted into the Barcelona senior squad, I know it’s early days but it seems we’ve let a gem slip through our fingers.
Watford is going to be a really tough game this Sunday, but I’d really like to see Nelson start, or else he’s gonna be leaving in a years time.
There are always pros and cons. Each direction has its consequences but the worst place to be is in indecision. I have my strong opinion on our best route but even if the managements decision differs I’d rise above my disappointment. Arsenal is bigger than Kosh, Ramsey, Ozil, Gazidis, Wenger, Mislintat, anybody.
That’s the point JK.
No reason to anger everybody. Stay the course, try harder.
I suspect there would be a clearance sale this summer. There would be buys also but not enough. Some of these juniors would just walk into a thin squad. It might be smarter if he (Nelson) stays.
At the same time there is no way all can be pleased. So the best is to do what is CONSIDERED the best.
The ‘best to do’ — is still yours or my opinion.
What I think is best is an end-of-season-all-parties-agree farewell. The timing is good, with the WC on horizon. Something ‘shiny’ for the media to focus on. The buzz around who’s coming/going in the club will have a sense of optimism for the first time in a few seasons– I feel.
I don’t think it’s a matter of making sure the next manager will be lured elsewhere. I think– just like Mislintat and Sanllehi– whose arrivals were long-negotiated but never revealed until done? That Arsenal already have their next manager targeted.
“…making sure the next manager *won’t* be lured elsewhere.”
Here’s a bit of Arsenal-related levity for the day:
PE, I really hope that he can be persuaded to stay because there has to be question marks over the coaching and development that our young players receive once they join the senior squad, I mean has Iwobi, Maitland-Niles, Holding, Chambers and most worryingly Bellerin developed as fully as we should expect and why not?
Now if Nelson and his representatives see this then we might have a job holding onto him.
But I agree, hopefully by next summer we may finally see a change, although I’m not holding my breath…
Find it interesting that Barca pay McGuane’s 22M release clause the day before Sanllehi officially joins AFC.
I’ve not heard that before JW…
Sorry, misread on my phone!
“A Barcelona statement read: “McGuane’s deal will keep him at Barça for three seasons, plus two option years. The buy-out clause has been set at €25m.”
Arsenal received an ‘undisclosed fee’. Raul maybe? 🙂
Watching Spurs v Juventus. Spurs 1 – 0 up and cruising. Sitting here trying to think of a positive if spurs won the champions league. Finally got it . If Spurs won it we would win it around six times in a row to put them back in their place. But needn’t have worried
Spurs blew it and are losing 2 – 1 now. Good old Spurs snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
Spuds out of CL. Shame 🙂
Spurs are so good at collapsing when victory is in sight.
Yep despite al the talking they haveht won a thing yet. Spurs need to win something, otherwise they will always be the bridesmaid never the bride, to coin a phrase.
There is some chance we’d win a cup and they wouldn’t. Hope in hell we’ve turned the corner.
There is a mail in your box.
RA ! An all-time favorite and gooner influencer for me (along with TA). I hope all is well with you.
Strong, thoughtful post by Gino. I was thinking while contemplating this team mess from early 2017…. how blessed we were to get so many good performances to keep us more than respectable for the past few years.
How much hard work and passion did we get from now forgotten Arteta, Cazorla, also Coquelin in tandem with Santi…., then a prime Koscielny, Mertesacker. Even the occasional healthy game from Rosicky, (my favorite Arsenal player). Also, generally good work from Szcezny who still should be here, but when the boss is turned off to a player, it’s over.
I’m sure I’m forgetting many that contributed, and let’s not forget that Arsene kept us at that decent level managing many less than stellar parts, and on a tight budget.
And I’m still annoyed that Iwobi plays and talented prospects can’t get a moment of gametime.
Any news about Bellerin..??
If he was injured.. Than who will filled the post.. Will it be Chambers again..??
Just drop Iwobi and play Welbeck. At least Welbs is better at interacting with his teammates on the field.
I would like BFG to anchor the defense tonight, in between a 3-man defense, with Kos and Mustafi beside him. Our aerial defense just fails without BFG.
Rambo should partner Elneny in the DM position. This will make the core of the squad tough. In midfield we will have Nacho / Tank, Ozil, Mkhi, Bellerin. Up front Welbs should lead the way.
With the back 3 and Elneny and Mkhi holding in midfield, and Bellerin and Tank on the wings when we are being attacked and Mkhi venturing up front when we attack, it should be good enough to at least secure a draw at San Siro.
Hi Jnyc, @ 00:23
It’s great to see you again – and your comment is spot on regarding looking back at 2007 — totally agree with you.
I am keeping well thank you – and I hope you are too. I passed thru NY on my way to Wichita last December on family matters, and thought if I had allowed more time (difficult with work) I could have arranged to meet up with some of my blogging friends who live in NY, NY. But you were probably all being snowbirds and gone to Florida. 😀
I am a bit worried as to which team turns up tonight — the silky smooth Arsenal who can take anyone apart — or the timid, no-confidence bunch we have seen so much of lately.
I am going for the latter — they need a win to give Arsene back the faith he has shown in the them. Fingers crossed.
Bellerin has been reported as annoyed that he has been scape-goated for Arsenal’s recent bad performances, whereas other reports say he has a muscle strain. Who knows? There is a lot of unhelpful fake news going around at the moment – not all of it dished out by Mr Trump. 🙂
Apparently Bellerin has been carrying a knee injury for a few weeks, putting it in for the team when he probably should have been resting it. Not much proof then that he is upset at being left out of the team at Brighton, more a case of media mischief.
Monreal is out again as well from what I’ve read, so a back three is the order of the day for me, with Kolasinac and Maitland-Niles at wing-back.
As far as the midfield is concerned we can probably spin a coin and guess it’s make up.
Swamp the midfield and leave Danny as the Lone Ranger up front.
I would happily take a 0-0
RA I feel that the players should be playing for their own personal pride at this point. Let’s see if they have any.
At least play them in their correct positions, Chamber is no full back and if he plays there they will target him.
Mustaphi at his best brilliant and at his worst awful. Which one will turn up tonight?
Johnnie, did you call me and RA an influenza?!?! 😀
“Mustaphi … Which one will turn up tonight?”
Had that thought too.
New Post 🙂