Addition by Subtraction: How Many Points is Wenger-Out Worth?

The final Premier League table does not make for happy reading for most Gooners.  Sixth place on 63 points, with a goal difference of only 23 (51 goals shipped!!) was more than enough league futility to make most happy to (finally) see Wenger’s backside.  Now we’ve got a new man, Unai Emery, spearheading a new form of management.

As the summer transfer season gets underway and the various press outlets start up with their, er, interpretations of Emery’s halting English and the dribs and drabs of transfer tittle and other spittle–or bits of names (“Links! Give us the links!!” ) that might drop from the mouths of football people in the know–Gooners’ hopes for the season ahead start to run riot.  “We’ll finally have the defense (or defence–“da-fence?”–or a wall of defenders) who’ll stifle ’em all.”  “Sokaratis interecepts, passes to Mikhitaryan who moves it onto Aubamayang (or Osmane Dembele) and Dortmund, er, Arsenal, score again (and again, and again, and again)…”  Sven-Jolly times are here!!!!

Indeed, as the Sun (and the Mail and the Express, etc., etc., etc.) reaches for its highest spot in the Northern skies, so too do the dreams of Gooners.  Icarus, get your wings on, we’re gonna fly…

Back here on earth, however, it’s all a good deal more real and there’s a reason that Arsene Wenger was at the helm for 22 years, keeping Arsenal competitive while building a modern (read: moneymaking) stadium that allowed our club to compete within its means.  Or maybe it should be said, deliver profits to its shareholders (led by one Stan Kroenke) while not slipping that much in the table.

Frankly, I thought it–the Wenger reign–would end at 21 years (at the end of his previous contract) but, I guess, CEO Ivan Gazidis hadn’t quite mustered up his management team (or his cajones?) to pull the plug.  Instead, Wenger got an extra (half) contract and Arsenal merely a(nother) trophy for the cabinet, his third FA cup in four seasons.

At what price, however?  2017-18, we hope, represents a nadir.  No trophies (though a cup final going after the most minnow-y of the prizes, the league cup, and a run to the semis of the 2nd tier of Euro-comps) and that 6th place finish with the woeful GD.

That’s all history.  What does the future hold?

Even without improvements, I believe, Arsenal will benefit–in terms of results next season–simply because the great divide has been bridged.  Wenger IS out.  No more banners need be flown, no more placards held, no more seats need be empty in protest, no more vitriol must be spewed on the internet wishing the great professor of economics (and football management) dead.  And, in my mind at least, this is a good thing, though, of course, he will always be a hero to me.

It’s a wait and see situation, but my belief is that the fan-base cannot help but feel more unified and be more willing to give what they can to get behind the new manager–or management structure–and the players and the team.  Emery will be the welcomed figurehead but it could just as easily have been Mikel Arteta or any other managerial candidate.  New players in will likely get the biggest welcomes while the shortest ropes might go to those guys most associated with the former object of vitriol.  Oops, I meant “manager.”

So, onto my question.  How much is it worth?

I think plenty.  My bet is somewhere between 12 to 20 points in the table, thrusting Arsenal–without any other moves beyond Wenger out–right back into the top 4 hunt, maybe even a hair higher.  What do you think?

On the other hand, it could be argued that Wenger was so good that he might be missed–at least in certain areas.  The area, I think, where a few players will miss him–and miss him sorely–is his faith in them, and protecting his boys from criticism.  When they could not believe in themselves (and, in some cases, when the fans had turned against them) Wenger could prop them up.  This feeds into the myth that Wenger was in charge of everything at Arsenal.  He picked the players he wanted, and, if he got them in without the usual dithering, he (oftentimes) got the best out of their (limited?) talents.  Maybe?

As such, since SIR Kroenke (Sven, Ivan, Raul and the moneyman, Stan–or maybe his son Josh) can’t replace the entire squad, there could be some Wenger holdovers who are lost without their mentor, their protector, their father-figure.  Who might those guys be?  Who will suffer under Unai Emery?  (And, who will be gone before a ball is kicked in anger?)  I’ve got some ideas but I don’t want to poison the well(beck) or show any signs of bad will(shere).  Who do you think might not quite make it in the new scheme?

So, there’s your assignment.  Name some names (if that’s your thing) or keep it to the numbers (points over or under our paltry 63; add in your goals for, goals against for extra credit).

Many folks believe in the new manager effect.  Do you?  Is it about players needing to give more for the new guy or simply about more of the forces (especially the support) all pulling in the same direction?   Or does it really not matter and it’s all about the (actual) management decisions that get made?

Getting back to the math(s)… Will the subtraction (of Wenger) lead to addition?  Have we bridged the divide?  (Or merely multiplied our managers and thus our troubles?)  So many folks wanted Wenger Out.  What’s it worth to you?  Don’t be shy, tell us…

Go on then…

by 17highburyterrace

16 thoughts on “Addition by Subtraction: How Many Points is Wenger-Out Worth?

  • Excellent and well-balanced post, Seventeenho.

    I reckon it will take time for things to settle. No Arsene will indeed be good to reunite the fanbase but the players will need time to adjust to the new man. Impossible to put a value in extra points, or indeed less points, to it. The real improvements are likely to come gradually, and as long as fans can see that the support will remain strong (and united). Having said that, we may have a Mourinho/Conte first season experience, in which everything all of a sudden falls into place and a surprise PL cup is won. That would of course be great, but the second season of Emery is the one to judge. He will have had a year to work with the players and add new players as he sees fit.

  • The real level headed 17ht is back. Missed you.

    Welbeck, Ozil and Wilshere are names that fans, hardcore and the WOB alike will pull out of the bag, but let’s face it. We know what Emery is capable of in the Spanish league and the French league, and the Spanish league plays differently compared to the English game.

    However, i must add that to add steel into the players mentality might be the potion to silverware. So, will Emery (my thumbs typed Wmery earlier, a sign of things to come?) be the person that does the trick to our squad?

    It had been only about a week since the official announcement of Emery, and so many hopes on his shoulders. Give him breathing space will ya?

    For me to answer the questions laid out by 17ht, I must say that the players and coaches have to work hard for the new era to be a success. New assistant head coaches that will bring in new tactics and training regime, so the subtraction should lead to addition. And the question of whether the troubles will be multiplied remains to be answered until after the first 5 to 10 games of the season.

  • Emery will lead to an addition the subtraction of Wenger will lead to addition but some players mentality and normal way with Wenger might lead to a subtraction. If majority of the player welcome the change then we are on high but if not the obvious is the case

  • Hey 17,

    Ok, like any engineer, best and worst cases?

    A. Best = 90 points or 9 more wins from this year’s losses (mostly away) with I don’t care what GD, it could be +1 … wins matter more than GD… I figure that 2nd or 3rd.

    B. Worst = 78 or 5 more wins from losses and 5th or a cheeky 4th. Again, no one cares about GD, and yes I know defense wins championships etc and goes along with winning, more etc…


    I think we will have to wait and see who responds and how. If we get more structure, organisation and antics, that could benefit some who they suit and others will fail if they cannot follow them. So, lots will change and after the fact we will point to different things to explain them, but it’ll be that “simple”, who responds…

    Oh, you wanted names. Ozil will respond, Wilshere will try (that’s a maybe), AR will try but depends on what he’s asked to do.

    Cheers — jgc

  • Tactics not antics, my tablet is possessed, so utterly opposite of what I meant…

  • Nice post 17 Ht. let’s be honest if a £50 million player became available , that would bust out budget and City would probably buy him anyway, just to warm their bench. So we all agree it’s not a level playing field , but that has been the case for some time. The reality of it is, I think he will be very hard pushed to equal home points and very hard pushed not to beat the away record. I wouldn’t be st all surprised if we finished the season a couple more points than we got this season, purely because the away record was so bad.

    But if he can get the defence right, we might just do a little better. At the end of the season people would say Wengers legacy was his brilliant attacking football and that would be true. But we must tighten up st the back at all costs and hopefully Emery will get credit for that.

    As for the players, we will have to see., but I can see Jack, going the extra yeppard to try to impress and getting himself injured.

    Looking forward to seeing Lucas again, he certainly knew where the goals was

  • HT,…. the big question post. Nice work.

    The nature of man seems to allow things to grow stale with time often necessitating change for the sake of change. Am expecting positives.

    I don’t think the change would be a culture shock to the players. Wenger-with-the-ball is Emery, no difference. Without the ball is where the difference is but luckily the team has nothing to unlearn which is the more difficult aspect of change. The way the team was defending falls more in the passive category so imbibing new experiences would be easier. Unlearning before learning is a more complex process than just learning.

    I can’t guarantee a top four finish but we will end up 18/19 many many points above 63pts. Jack looks to me a possible victim of the change.

  • I think Wenger’s biggest mistake was his Ambition. He was ambitious and season after season he refused to see that the Squad he has been given is not even good enough to finish 6th. But he kept pushing them to win Champions League. WTF? If only he could have woken up Little early, he could have ended up some of the Seasons with Premier League Trophies to his Name. 2007, we were top of the table in December but ended up 3rd in May 2009. and the we have 2015-2016, were we should have been the Champions. Then multiple number of season where our over used in-form Players get injured in Nov-Dec-Jan-Feb to end our Chance. Suprisingly, his Ambition to winning all the games (which inlcudes ,EFL Cup, FA Cup, Premier League Games, Champions League games) with his limited Talent squad went against him. He should have just concentrated on the EPL. He has proved by staying all These years at top 4 the he can win the league given his squad stays together the whole season. I ahve prayed for so many years that we finish number 4 in our table so that we can strengthen our league Position come Feb only to finish in top 2 and get kicked in the last 16 playing with Fatigue Players.

  • Yes Total, I’m with you on that one, we’ve got to give Emery two years, at the very least, with the first year basically Unai working with the squad to see who he can improve before dispensing with those that don’t adapt to a more structured approach.

    It took Guardiola two years to turn Man City around, all the ITK’s were laughing at him at the end of his first season, some even christened him ‘Fraudiola’…

    Whose laughing now?

  • Kev, you are right. It will take some time for the players to get used to the new regiments. A few games to see an improvement is quite good, seeing that our team is really a team instead of a group of individuals and a little steel to the team’s mentality should not take long.

    We should see a marked improvement in the second half of the season.

  • Agree with njk, kev… I will have plenty of patience with our new manager. It will take longer than most other teams because Arsene is so engraved into this club. A more difficult job than anyone is currently talking about.
    Real change takes time.
    17, I loved the title immediately, and it’s a good article as always. I was thinking of some addition/subtraction through small sales of Welbeck, Iwobi, to name a couple. Especially since Welbeck could be good English player for a lower table club.
    But I’m aware that we all have no idea how this will go. Iwobi and Welbeck may turn out to be amazing adaptors to Emerys style, and respond perfectly to the coaching change. Though I’d still sell them in a heartbeat this summer.

    I love the idea of my boy Lucas Perez returning. Wenger did him dirty. I will never understand it.
    Also, if it turns out that Lacazette is deemed by Unai not a fit with Auba, and doesn’t start most games, we might have to consider moving him, because we cant afford an unhappy 50 mil striker on the bench. But I like Laca, and hope he can work and play a lot for us, successfully.

  • JYNC, why sell Iwobi now? A very talented player who is pushing through to the top. Surely, he will have at least another year at the home of football?!

  • Great to see you back HT. As usual I agree with pretty much everything you write, both the practical and th sentiment. I think there will probably be a boost at the start, a combination of players striving to impress and a level of toxic pressure removed from the scene. I am not counting on anything amazing in the transfer window, but hope we can add a little to our defence by buying and coaching combined.

    The bits that hasn’t been called out yet is player reaction. Emery comes with a more disciplinary reputation which will help some but alienate others. Who may the others be? I wonder about the temperament of Auba for example and how he may get on with the new coach. But that’s pure guessing on my part. Neymar didn’t get on with him at all by all accounts. But we would be wrong to assume that all will be rosy with a team of players brought together under Wenger. Some faces won’t fit, and they won’t necessarily be those that are least favoured by the fans.

    Yes we need to reflect on progress after two years I agree. What does success look like in that term? Probably no more than a return to the top 4. That in itself will be no small challenge given there are now 6 clubs who all expect to be in the top 4 as a minimum. We are all going to have to be patient I suspect…..

  • AB. .. I see Auba as one of the nicest to get along with. One of those fellows who don’t mind whichever way …. unless it’s something dead important to him like a greener pasture. He’s always ready to let another take the penalty kick.

  • Cheers 84.
    I’m with Johnnie on Lucas Perez, he’s 29 going on 30, with his sell on value off of a cliff, so why give him away for a nominal fee?
    We have three cups to negotiate, he’ll get plenty of opportunities to play if he’s retained and a valuable player to come off of the bench.

    Reiss Nelson still hasn’t signed, that scenario needs attention asap.

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