Five Positives to Build on For the New Manager

The season is over and it is very hard not to feel deflated. Yet if we look at last season with an eye on the future, there are five positive to take from it:

  1. Arsene has gone and whether you liked him or not in the end, it is something to adjust to for everyone. A gentleman who loved and lived the club has gone after 22 years and that leaves a hole behind the size of Russia. The positive in this is that the club actually made that decision and Wenger went along with it in a gentlemanly way. A new manager needs to be announced soon, but if the BoD is really concerned about season ticket renewals they better make sure they pick a worthy replacement for Mr Wenger. I have heard from season ticket holders who are holding back renewals until they know who will be picked (and they are saying ‘Anybody but Arteta’). We are sliding away from the top four – who will also not sit still this summer – and another season (or two) of this and it may become very hard to reconnect and have a chance to win the title within the next decade or so. So a big decision has to be made but at least we are now in a position to do so.
  2. Xhaka in the deeper midfield position. I have been a fan of Granit from the start: an intelligent player with charisma, vision and personality. Wenger tried Xhaka in different positions but it is clear he is a born deeper midfielder who can orchestrate our midfield with simplicity and crisp passing. We need that pivot in our team and Granit is just the man. Now I hear you say he is not a typical DM; and to that I say yes and no. His positioning and reading of the game is sound and he makes many good interceptions but he comes with a few limitations in terms of pure DM-qualities. In the modern game that is okay as long as his partner is the ideal one. Ramsey is not that guy as he wants to go forward as much as possible which leaves Xhaka exposed. Elneny and Xhaka are a more complete partnership imo. The decision the new manager has to make is whether to go with Xhaka-Elneny/new purchase or with Rambo/new purchase(pure DM). My hope and money is on the Swiss-Egyptian double pivot for next season and beyond. A quality DM-minded player should ideally be bought and Maitland-Niles deserves a promotion too.
  3. Our home form has been the absolute opposite of our away form. Second best away form only to the Champions. Clearly, we need to address our approach to away games but this is for the new manager to sort and will be a mixture of strategic and psychological preparations for each and every game. We also need more leadership in our first eleven, and for me that means strengthening the spine of the team i.e. GK, CB and possibly the central midfield position (as per point two above). Nevertheless, our strong home form is a big positive of last season and a good basis to build on.
  4. Our attack has been transformed over the last few months. Getting Aubameyang cost us dearly –  both money-wise and having to let go the eligible for UEFA-league football Giroud – but, together with the purchase of the also very-Arsenalesque Mkhi, we have now a brilliant balance in attack. The combo of Mesut, Laca, Auba and Mkhi up-front, all in their prime years, really has the potential to become as potent as our revered foursome Henry, Bergkamp, Ljunberg and Pires. These four will take care of the goals and will allow the rest of the players to play more defensively. Of course it is a team game, both in terms of attacking and defending, but we now have the sort of attackers who can make things happen against any team whilst the rest is focusing on not giving too much away. This allows the new manager to make an almost instant impact by having two sub-teams so to speak: one that defends a clean sheet with their lives and one that gets us the goals. Gradually these two can become integrated into a smooth one-team machine that can rival for the title eventually.
  5. The final big positive of last season for me is the quality of our full backs. Nacho has been such a force and does not look like slowing down anytime soon; he was arguably our best player. I have also high hopes for Kola to improve significantly next season. Like many here, I have been critical of young Hector but he has improved a lot over the season. As a wing back you are going to leave your CB colleagues exposed at times and Bellerin needs to find a better balance between when to go and when to stay behind. I reckon with good (team)coaching this will improve further next season. But what really pleased me recently is Hector’s much sharper deliveries into the box. It would be silly to replace him now he is at the verge of breaking  through, but a good nr.2 should definitely be considered, either from within the squad or newly purchased.

By building further on these considerable positives and focussing on defending and leading better through tactics, team talk and new purchases, the new manager can make real progress in the coming season. An experienced manager who gets time to sort things out is of course what is needed right now. Somebody who has the proven tactical ability to make a team defend well and hard to beat as well as the vision to play (a form of) total football going forward. It does not have to be a big name but I cannot see why we couldn’t attract one. But it definitely needs to be somebody with tons of potential combined with real first team management experience.

The Juve boss would be ideal right now and Arteta would be a romantic mistake with potentially huge consequences. I sense it will not be either of them but time will tell. We are at a big crossroads and the club now need to justify their decision ‘to allow Arsene to go’ and their recent investments in overheads in the management team. One of the richest clubs in Europe and with everything going for it, Arsenal should now show real ambition and incisiveness.

By TotalArsenal.

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32 Responses to Five Positives to Build on For the New Manager

  1. njk84sg says:

    For a massive rebuild like this Arteta’s choice might not be a good decision. Maybe the former Barca manager and player Luis Enrique might cut it with Arteta his number 2, and stepping up after a few years.

    That would be more plausible. But the media thinks otherwise… and the media had historically been playing with us fans, so I would be looking at any news with a pinch of salt.

  2. TotalArsenal says:

    It would be a massive gamble at best, 84. It would also confirm Gazidis’ power as Arteta would simply be his field-puppet. This idea of a Head Coach doesn’t work in the modern game at top level. Wenger had too much to do/power but surely going the absolute opposite way is a recipe for disaster. The good news is that when it goes wrong both Gazidis and Arteta will go and maybe then we will see real change. I still don’t expect Kroenke to be this stupid and expect an experienced manager with vision and personality to join the club.

  3. clockendjim says:

    I basically agree with most of your points except regarding Xhaka. He did improve towards the end of the season, but was highlighted several times on MotD, mentally turning off and just strolling back unaware of danger which often resulted in a goal against us. Perhaps the new manager can train this out of him, otherwise no way is he our DM answer
    Whereas you feature all the positives, the terrible negatives must be addressed also
    1) No longer is Cech a class goalkeeper. Almost every other team in PL had a superior No.1. ironically even Fabianski who made the most saves in the PL
    2) Our centre back situation. Mustafi has proved a big disappointment and Koscielny is now well past his best. I think Chambers & Mavropanos could be great eventually, but we need a solid experienced leader in there.
    3) What an enigma Ozil is. World Class on week, hopeless the next. I do not know the answer
    4) For goodness sake get Ramsey committed to a new contract. We cannot afford to lose another class player
    5) Sadly it does not look as if Iwobi is ever going to be the player he promised to be

    If we can get our defensive frailties sorted, then with our frightening attack, we could really achieve next season

  4. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers CEJ,

    Good points. Re Xhaka, he is improving fast in all aspects of his game but if you look at him like a classical DM you will find fault with him. To me his positives in terms of giving structure and leadership to the team are for us to build on.

    Iwobi has had some very good performances this season but, as with every young player (just look at the ones at Man United) they go through difficult patches. A big, big talent that we should give time to develop imo.

  5. Pony Eye says:

    TA, am already rebuilding my psyche from the ashes of 17/18. Your post is a comfort.

    4 wins in place of any of those our away losses and we could have been òn same points with Liv. Doesn’t sound like an insurmountable task.

    We ain’t doing any major overhaul. Two or three signings and a tweak to the balance of the team gets us there.

    Our front 5 can compete with any team. So we focus on our back 6. I do feel that the leakage of goals has less to do with our personnel and more to do wìth the balance of the structure. Msybe a new manager with a bit more respect for defending might be the cure.

    At your own time TA. Just a bit worried on the dark clouds gathering.

  6. TotalArsenal says:

    And I disagree with you on Ozil – always plays well – and Rambo: too injury-prone and jus fails to lead the team consistently. I would be happy to see him stay but still think we can improve on the B2B position, which may well be the missing link going forward.

  7. TotalArsenal says:

    The big question is do we need a player like Rambo holding a defensive position to bomb forward continuously? I don’t think we do if we play Jack or Mesut in the hole and then three of Mkhi, Laca, Auba and Mesut up-front. The beauty about Elneny is that he tends to sit back and help out but also likes to come forward and/or produce a through-ball on 70-30 basis whereas Rambo works at a 30-70 basis in favour of going forward. If we want balance in the team, there are three major steps to take:
    1. Get the partnership right in the double DM-pivot
    2. Get the partnership right in the centre of defence: one Adams/Campbell like leader and one first soldier ala Koz in his best days
    3. Improve on the GK position as a third priority (I like Ospina a lot but there are better ones).

  8. Pony Eye says:

    Xhaka has improved tremendously and it must be in his positioning because there is nothing that can be done about his lack in athletism. Unfortunately I don’t see Elneny as the man to compliment him as Elneny also lacks speed even though he has al lot of endeavour in him. With a right partner Xhaka probably becomes our most important player. We need to find that player to partner him in the market. That alone can turn our team around.

  9. TotalArsenal says:

    So I would sell Rambo for 40-50m and then get a beast of a CB for 50-80 mils, a back up/improvement (depending on his further development) for Elneny for 30-50 mils and a quality GK for 50m or so, budget allowing of course.

  10. TotalArsenal says:

    Agreed PE, I think if Xhaka and Elneny are instructed to play more compact/together and focus on protecting the defence as their main priority, they can become a real castle in midfield. Still would like to get somebody else in to give us more options, as from one game to another, depending on our opponent, we may want to tweak things…

  11. Pony Eye says:

    My priority is in this order:-

    1) a CM partner for Xhaka,
    2) a GK,
    3) a CD

  12. Pony Eye says:

    Well, if it was limitless money there would be 6 new signings for our rear 6, aka Allegri.

  13. jw1 says:

    The club need to cut it’s losses with Mustafi this Summer.
    Not the guy to mentor the Chambers/Holding/Mavropanos troika.
    There might be a good CB in there somewhere– but it would require him having his head sewn back onto his neck.

    Toby Alderwierld is a known ‘known’. Valued at £40M.
    Current club stigma aside, he’s just what is needed to cement a back line.

    jw1

  14. allezkev says:

    Interesting post TA. I’m with you on Ramsey, I like him but I wonder if we can really afford to play him and Ozil whilst wanting the team to be more compact and defensively resilient.

    PE, Ainsley Maitland-Niles has the potential to be that partner for Xhaka, the thing is do we have the time to wait, especially if Arteta gets the gig and the fan base isn’t happy.

    A goalkeeper is a priority, totally agree…

    An experienced C/B to replace BFG and Kozzer and that ain’t Mustafi…

  15. TotalArsenal says:

    Great initials, JW, but dont think Spuddies would let him go to the enemy?! 🙂

  16. TotalArsenal says:

    Kev, I like Ozil in the free role in the hole but he benefits from another creative midfielder to help out on the assists production side of things. With Mkhi in the team and Auba being such a team player too, I reckon we can do without Ramsey and thus focus on strengthening the pivot with a more balanced midfielder next to Xhaka. Xhaka (and Elneny) also have attacking balls and assists in them.

  17. Pony Eye says:

    What team would really need Ramsey? A team that would want to use him as a #10 which obviously wouldn’t be one of the big teams that can pay what he wants. And the smaller teams who emphasize defending would find it difficult to accomodate hìs positional indiscipline as a CM. I think he would use up his last year with us and then see what happens.

    His muscular injury history again doesn’t help his marketability.

  18. henrychan says:

    Hi all..
    I repeat my comments on Ramsey and Wilshere.. I don’t agree with both of you TA and Kev.. Wilshere is only one month left contract.. And I don’t think he will extend or the New Man will extend him.. Hehehe..
    On the other hand Ramsey is always our first team.. Either with Elneny or Xhaka PE even Wilshere.. Please be sure to what you wish..
    I don’t have a great statistics record.. But I think we don’t need statistics to know that Ramsey is better than Wilshere.. Hehehe..

    And if we Play LAMO at the same time.. Who you think will suite them.. Ramsey or Wilshere.. LAMOR or LAMOW.. Hehehe..

  19. Pony Eye says:

    Defending from the front (high press) should be expected to be in the package of whoever Mr Newman is. Possession football these days go with it (excepting us). Can Newman extract that much endeavour from Ozil?

  20. TotalArsenal says:

    Hehehehenry

    Due to Jack’s fitness issues he may well not get a new contract, and you will be a happier man. I am hoping he will stay and then be the back up to both Mesut and Mkhi, for which he is a great player. I can see Jack being the experienced back up and Iwobi the young and coming one for both those players.

    Ramsey is not a player who will accept sitting on the bench regularly and so will need to be played. I don’t think he is good enough to really be an effective B2B player or replace Ozil in the hole. So I think he will be sold but if not it’s also fine with me. On the day he can be great.

  21. TotalArsenal says:

    In the second semi-final game against Atletico, I had high expectations of Rambo. Finally, he was going to put in a Gerardesque performance and drag his team to the final. But he just could not do it and it is during games like this that a manager makes a judgement on a player. I would have expected Wenger to let Rambo go this summer if he still was in charge.

  22. jw1 says:

    TA–
    We agree on Ramsey, though slightly differing on the ‘why’.
    For both parties– he and the club? It’s a strike-while-iron-is-hot moment.

    Aaron would make any non-top-16 Euro team manager a happy man– to have him to select.
    At 27, Ramsey needs to get that big payday– now. Do not blame him one bit either. We used to rely on him for goals. We needed his production– his positional unpredictability be-damned.

    From the club’s side?
    That? Has changed. We have a two-headed (and lethal) pair of CFs– who compliment the other (loathe to say it– but) near-perfectly. Mkhi will chip in what more will be required. And, quite honestly– we really need the £35M(?) in funds this Summer.

    Ramsey must be sold.

    So as much as I’ve found his clutch goals to be an important aspect for the club’s well-being? I think we can realistically find them elsewhere now.

    Last season we scored 74 goals (joint 3rd).
    I believe we’ll add to that tally easily (as long as Monreal stays in form!)

    jw1

  23. TotalArsenal says:

    hahahaha yeah we need Nacho to keep finding the cheese for us.

  24. njk84sg says:

    Who has been providing chances for us constantly? Ozil and Rambo. The rest had good chances but most of the chances from the deep are from Rambo. So, if we sell him we might live to regret it.

    Why not get a proven playmaker first?

  25. Gino92 says:

    What’s with all the noise about Mikel Arteta becoming our new Manager? I mean, I like Arteta and given time, he can become a very good Manager. But “sacking” a legend like Arsene Wenger only to replace him with an inexperienced novice like Arteta is truly mind-boggling. I would be furious and disappointed if this happened but I wouldn’t be shocked given that this is Arsenal Board after all. No serious ambition, just want to do the bare minimum to put enough profits in their own pockets. If we have to go down this road, then why not give the job to an Arsenal great like Patrick Vieira or Dennis Bergkamp? They’ve been at it a lot longer than Arteta and can actually command respect, intimidation, and obedience due to their accomplishments at Arsenal. Arteta was teammates with a lot of our current players just a couple of seasons ago, for f*ck’s sake! I would have 3 very serious concerns were he to be appointed.

    1. Transfers – With no Champions League participation, which top quality player would want to join us under an amateur Manager like Arteta? Nobody that I can think of. Will Arteta even have a say in any transfers in and/or out at all? Or would he simply just be a puppet of Kroenke, Gazidis, and co.?

    2. Defense – Arteta was part of our abysmal defensive performance when he was playing with us especially his last couple of seasons. What sort of knowledge or tactics has he acquired in two relatively shorts seasons under Pep Guardiola at Man City that he can bring to Arsenal to improve our leaky and pathetic defense? My only wish when I found Wenger was leaving was to finally get in an expert Manager in defensive tactics because I know we can score plenty of goals with the attacking talents we have up forward. I could be dead wrong but I just don’t see Arteta doing much more than Wenger to make us defensively solid. Sorry!

    3. Respect – Knowing our players and having played with a lot of them as recently as 2016, can Arteta command any respect from this group of players? Does he have the guts to bench a superstar like Mesut Ozil or Aaron Ramsey if they are out-of-form and playing awful? Can he let our prima-donna players have it if they play below par or don’t give 100% during matches? Would the players even pay any attention to him or be fearful about losing their starting position/first team status? We need a serious Manager that can whip these underperforming group of players and demand that they each give 110% every single time they step on the pitch. Wenger was way too nice to them, he always protected them like a father figure, and they abused his trust in them. We don’t need version 2.0 of the same. We are embarking on a fresh start. No more Mr Nice Guy! Each player must either give his best on the pitch or get out of the Club. We’ve got plenty of youngsters dying to be given a chance to prove themselves, deservedly so.

    There are much better Managers out there that Arsenal can appoint. We just need to be willing to spend the money necessary to get him. Money ALWAYS talk, no matter what a club or a person says. If we’ve identified a Manager who we want and need, then we must do all we can to get him. We are one of the biggest and richest clubs in Europe and should not be falling back on inexperienced amateurs to manage us, not in this day and age. We should have already had a plan in hands before “sacking” Arsene Wenger. If there was no plan, then we should have kept Wenger for the final year of his contract. But replacing him with Arteta would mean that there was no plan and we are just making things up as we go. And that’s a real shame on all of them crooks!

    That’s my two cents anyway. Arsenal BoD will do what they will do and we supporters will have absolutely no say in their decision. We will just have to deal with it. I will of course wholeheartedly support the new Manager even if it is Mikel Arteta and will hope that he finds success, because his success will be our success. But I do hope that Arsenal appoints a higher caliber, a more proven Manager than Arteta.

  26. TotalArsenal says:

    Well Gino, you have spoken from the heart as well as the brain there my friend. I agree with a lot but also disagree with some, including the idea that being nice, or too nice, is a weakness. Trust is abused at times but mostly it is rewarded and Wenger did magic with it over the years. But it all comes down to your perspective on how to get the best out of people, and I respect yours. 🙂

    It looks like Gazidis – puppet of Kroenke – is looking for his own puppet. Somebody with immaculate hair with whom he could have babies. Don’t underestimate the attraction of a man with real hair to race of the bald heads (just ask hideaway Seventeenho) 🙂

    In all fairness, Gazidis wants to make his mark and he believes in Arteta. This should be his ‘Arsene Who’ moment, to do even better than the master Dein, who he wants to do outdo no doubt. It is a massive risk in turbulent times and there is no need for it whatsoever. It is also a reflection of the power revolution that is taking place at Arsenal. From General Arsene to Head Coach Arteta. It is like a Construction business that gets rid of its Operations Director and installs a Head of Operations, reporting into Commercial Director, instead. It is a bag of shit.

  27. TotalArsenal says:

    1848 minutes did Ramsey play in the PL, about 20 full games, this season. Xkaka played 3266 minutes. To be fair Ramsey’s stats are good this season: 7 goals, 8 assists in the PL. However, in his position he needs to play at least 30 out of 38 games and really form the bedrock of the team. He was only once the MOTM and I just don’t think that is good enough at this stage of his career. Having said that, maybe next season it will all come good for him – who knows?!

  28. Pony Eye says:

    Gino, I appreciate your mathematical approach to the new manager issue. I+1 must give 2. It is a safer bet but that means we must always finish behind teams like City, United, Chelsea. Mathematics. Unfortunately I’d never be content with that. At the very least I love dreams.

    Without creativity how can I dream. If we talk about experience we must talk about Van Gaal, Ancelotti, Mourinho, Sam Allardyce, Wenger etc. I wouldn’t touch any one of those with a pole.

    Pep arguably is the best coach in the world. That reputation was largely established at 36 years of age with only 1yr coaching experience of Barca B team. And that his famous Barca team of 07/08 (at 36yrs) that won the treble, still had several of his team mates in it. A bold stroke that conquered the world.

    Am tended to give Gazidis, Mislintat, Sanlehi and co. a chance. They are specialists and they want to succeed. Who ever they, in their wisdom, appoint we should support untill proven a failure.

  29. TotalArsenal says:

    Weird logic in your first paragraph, PE. Let’s get a top manager and benefit from the great club we are and beat them all…

    Anyway, this can all continue in the next post.

    New Post New Post 🙂

  30. henrychan says:

    Hi all.. Hi Gino..
    Sure we will love Bergkamp or Vieira to lead our team.. Especially Bergkamp.. For he was a true Gunners who end his career as a Gunners.. The same as Arteta..

    I just can’t agree with you about Arteta background as a DM that not suite to our attacking team..?? Pep Guardiola and Diego Simeone were DM.. Pochettino and Klopp were CB.. And all play attacking football..

    And about Respect.. Arteta was very respectful from players and Fans.. And all the names I mention above all only two-three years after retired.. The same as Arteta..

    If we want a big name to help us.. Give him 150-200M fund.. The guys like Mourinho may suite that.. But If not we can follow Barca, Madrid, and other who believe in their formal captain.. And success.. Hehehe..

  31. Gino92 says:

    TA and PE,

    Thank you both for your reply. I fully understand what you are both saying. And I think you are probably correct, TA, in saying that Arsenal will make Arteta (if it is him) a Head Coach instead of Manager, and there is no telling where that will lead us…
    I am a little bit behind in the news (due to the nature of my work) and I must admit that I was not happy to hear all these rumours about Arteta after returning home yesterday. When a lot of us supporters were shouting out loud about making change in the managerial position a few months ago, Arteta being the front runner to replace Wenger most definitely never crossed anyone’s mind, I’d bet. So my earlier post was an initial shock reaction upon discovering these rumours. However, having slept on it for a few hours, I am starting to warm up to the idea even though I would have preferred we focus on an established, proven candidate. I just hope and pray that if Arteta is in fact the chosen one, he can can assemble a strong defensive coaching staff to assist him and bring that “hard work, win the ball back quickly from the front” mentality/attitude he undoubtedly picked up at Man City under Pep, and I also hope that our star players will respect his choices/decisions and not question his authority when things go bad.
    For all I know, Arteta could be a football genius and if so, deserves to return to the Emirates to follow in Wenger’s footsteps. Winning makes everyone happy and if Arsenal can win under Arteta, then his age and inexperience won’t matter at all. Like I said before, Arsenal will do what Arsenal will do and there’s nothing we can do about it. I will accept their decision to appoint our former Captain as Manager (or rather Head Coach 😉) and I will fully support him and wish him success. If Pep Guardiola and Zinedine Zidane can do it for Barca and Real Madrid (albeit they were each Manager of the B team), then why not Mikel Arteta?

    At least that’s what I am trying hard to tell myself (not quite convincingly yet, truth be told), 😬😬😬😁😁😁🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾

  32. jw1 says:

    “Arteta being the front runner to replace Wenger
    most definitely never crossed anyone’s mind, I’d bet.”

    Only the local-village-idiot-savant Gino. Dismayingly, a right-brained perspective will still get one a wooden-ruler across the back of the hand. 😉

    jw1

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