Arsenal May Need Another ‘Arsene Who’ Moment but Do We Have A David Dein?

Focus, energy, teamplay, talent and perseverance. Look at successful people, organisations and teams and they have plenty of those five key attributes. Is it fair to say we at Arsenal are low on all of them right now? Will it change? Emery’s stats are poor but there is more to life than stats, and these stats can all of a sudden start to change. Judging a manager’s suitability for Arsenal, imho, needs to be based first and for all on the above mentioned attributes. And more importantly given the overall situation we are in, the next manager will have to offer plenty of these if we are to see a positive change (which may take time).

Focus(including integrity): we lack an authentic style, a plan in our football (other than come and shoot at us and we will do the same and let’s see who is more successful after 90 minutes of gunfire) and the players look lost when on the pitch. Wenger’s red-print has been painted over with a murky mess and we lost integrity (to our long-term values). The treatment of Xhaka by fans and manager epitomises this. We are not a passing team anymore, our sheets almost always become soiled and our big guns upfront are all we have. We are rudderless in midfield. A team needs focus, clarity, objectives, a system/plan… something to fall back on when things get tough. Emery looks lost, the BoD look lost, the players are lost, the fans are confused and disillusioned. What did Nietzsche say? Something like if you look long enough into the abyss the abyss will start looking into you?!

Energy: the boys (still) give their all so we have energy but this is the industrious kind of energy. What we are missing is spiritual energy which comes from belief in something bigger and better. The idea that we are on the road to somewhere higher up and glorious, and that we are reconnecting with the club’s past and values, is key. It looks like the players and supporters do not have that belief anymore, and we know what lies at the bottom… the abyss. We want our Arsenal back. Under Emery the team lacks spiritual energy.

Teamplay: the best teams do not rely on just buying the best players for each position: they play as a team and rise above the sum of its parts based around a system of football that works for, and is understood by, all. Great managers know how to achieve this and it is a joy to watch: they make both individual players and the team as a whole bigger. Think about Ajax in the mid-nineties, Leicester City a few years ago, Pool under Klopp, The Invincibles under Wenger. This is the most frustrating part of Emery: rather than seeming to play with 12 or 13 players on the pitch we often look a man down.

Talent (closely related to teamplay, in fact it cannot be seen separately): focus, energy and team play gets you far but we also need talent: from our academy and the market – young and experienced. It is about time that we get this right again, and the good thing is the money is being made available for it. Talent can be latent and it is up to the management team to bring it to the surface. Look at the Chavs and their ability to bring the latent talent (anagrams!) to the fore: we also have such talent in abundance and it is time to bring it out to dance on the pitch. We see glimpses of it at Arsenal, especially in the cup games, but it needs to become more established. How many players have significantly improved under Emery’s one-to-one mentoring?

Perseverance (and loyalty to the cause): ability to turn adversity into success. Not giving up but learn from mistakes, whilst believing in our vision/ core values, system of football and abilities. Again, look at Lampard’s Chelsea and you know what I mean. Yes they are still losing to the likes of Pool and Citeh but they give them a game every time they meet. And they are getting stronger but sticking to the plan and learning from their mistakes. I hate to say this but I like watching the Chavs these days, much more than Emery’s shooting-range football. Alarmingly, well more than alarmingly, under Emery the team lose confidence, shape and focus as soon as we concede: we have the bouncebackability of a comet.

So even more than the poor performance stats, its Emery’s lacking in the above-mentioned attributes that makes me believe we need a replacement. What the above hopefully also shows is that it’s not easy to find the right person. We may not need a big name with a glittering CV; let’s not get blinded by past success. We may need another ‘Arsene Who?’ moment. But do we have the new David Dein in our BoD, somebody with the deep football knowledge to pick the right person for our club? I doubt it very much.

See the source image

Question to you, fine fellow BKers:

Based on the above-mentioned key attributes – and feel free to add some attributes as you see fit – who is best suited to replace Unai Emery?

By TotalArsenal.

25 thoughts on “Arsenal May Need Another ‘Arsene Who’ Moment but Do We Have A David Dein?

  • Excellent post, TA. πŸ™‚ You have even sent a subliminal message about Nuno Espirito Santo (“spiritual energy”, yeah, right πŸ˜› ).

    Focus (including integrity): it’s interesting to notice the difference between two managers. Whilst Wenger had been digging his own grave by sticking with certain players even if the fans wanted them removed from the team (Giroud is the most recent example, Ramsey years before him etc), Enemy decided to listen to the crowd. “We don’t want Mustafi!” – done, Mustafi has been used only sporadically. “Xhaka has offended us!” – done, Xhaka hasn’t been used since the Palace game. “We want Mesut back!” – done, Mesut is back…until the crowd realizes he is yet to produce a decisive moment of magic since his return.

    Energy and teamplay: it’s all about wasting energy in our case. We’ve been chasing shadows of the opponents, we’ve been running back and forth without any purpose. Our players need purpose. For years, we’ve needed a purpose in our movement. It’s not just Emery’s heritage, it’s been there for a while. We don’t defend with purpose, we don’t defend as a unit. To put it in Cruyff’s words, we defend as eleven Is rather than as first XI. Also, as attack, we don’t have any attacking patterns. We just attack, hoping for our players to nick a goal or two on the ground of the individual quality.

    Talent: that’s not disputable. We have it in abundance but we have a manager/head coach who doesn’t free that talent but rather imprison it in the glass jar.

    Perseverance: we don’t have it. Man City look like less as a unified army since they lost Kompany and things will get worse for them when David Silva finishes his last season at the club. We lost Ramsey, Koscielny and Monreal in the same transfer window, three dedicated personalities. I’d add fourth – Petr Čech – who was a model professional as well.

    Who would bring all this back to Arsenal?

    I don’t know. I know what I would do if I were the manager but I don’t know if the words would fall on the right ground.

  • Hi TA, I’ve been reading about Arsenal (here and a couple of my regular spots) this week but have yet to feel compelled to try and add anything. What can you say–especially if one (like me) hasn’t seen ANYTHING good about what’s happening at the club since the previous managerial change?…

    In my view, the ousting of Wenger showed that the fans have the power now and Arsenal’s culture of criticism has won out. IMO, Wenger’s tenure neatly covered the rise of the internet with all its potential for bringing the world together (around common loves and concerns)–and its subsequent fall into an every keyboard warrior for himself (my opinion matters more than my humanity…) on-line environment, which, sadly enough, actually dictates decisions in the real world.

    Things may be SO bad that the money-man (or man, Kroenkes, singular or plural) are ready to bring in a new management team. Or maybe Raul is (finally–what more does he need to see?) ready to sever ties with his on-field guy (Emery). The road back to Barcelona, perhaps, even he MUST see, doesn’t run through North London–or at least it doesn’t run very quickly through it.

    Personally, I liked today’s Arseblog and the notion that a bunch of planets could be lining up for another Spaniard, Rafa Benitez, to come in, steady things for a bit and even give us (remote) chances at promotion back to the CL places. That’s a big comedown from Arsene’s Arsenal, but at least it’s not Cow-ardly stuff (the Moo-man has already been snatched up by the other folks further out in N. London). Look at our season (or, actually the totality of where current management has taken us). Certainly, it’s no worse than down 3-nil at halftime in the CL final (vs Milan, 2005)…

    But, that (Benitez) would just a short-term band-aid which has little to do with the five areas of success (focus, energy, team-play, talent and perseverance) you’ve identified….

    There ARE some good things at Arsenal–even in the Goonersphere. Here on BKesque, I’m impressed by some of the (new) old guys, now contributing from far flung places (Erik the Red, in Denmark, calling for a player revolt, GN5 going over his charts to see Just.How.Bad. things REALLY have gotten…) and certainly there’s, er, energy (PE blasting EVERY player from the So’ton match). Still, I think Admir has it just about right (above) that Wenger holding out AGAINST the fans (critics) is the opposite of Emery always ducking responsibility, shrugging his shoulders (then reading notes from his phone…) and (overall…) giving in to the “support” as they (with plenty of focus, energy and perserverance) take down one character after another.of various levels of talent (top being Ozil, least maybe being Xhaka with Mustafi maybe in the middle somewhere and Torreira maybe too short to count)… Soon enough they’ll come for PEA and Lacazette, with the (talented AND promising) kids next. Sell ’em all and rebuild (from scratch?…) will say the (fantasy) accountants… Has anybody seen American Sniper? At least that guy believed he was firing at folks from a different team (and, in the end, he’s killed by a guy from HIS team)…

    So, what does that leave? Ahh… Team-play…

    Sorry, that’s a 20th century concept… Long gone now, I fear… 😦 Though I appreciate that you (TA) are still at it and trying (to encourage a sense of team-play) with your site–and successfully bringing new (and talented) folks (some of them…) into the fold… I wish I had your optimism (and focus, energy, and perseverance, maybe, plus the talent, of course)… πŸ˜€

  • Hahaha 17HT, nice comment and I like the anecdotal bit about the sniper. Are you in Mexico or back home in Lake Torreira? πŸ˜‰

    You seem up early too? Any expresso down your neck as yet?

  • And btw you don’t have sole rights to pessimism re Arsenal. A few of us are just that bit more hopeful that it will get better. πŸ™‚

    Finally, Wenger did not so much succumb to fan pressure but his underperformances in the last few seasons. He and the club needed a break.

  • Apparently Raul, Vinai and the owners are business minded directors. They do everything they can to balance the books, but they cannot balance the mentality between the players and the head coach.

    Teamplay is a major issue along with Energy. We have talents and have good chances with Preseverence, but without positive energy and good teamplay even if they play hard for the shirt we will still lose matches.

  • Hi Total,
    I don’t feel well enough to do a post for tomorrow, still having dizzy spells. I’ll do something for the Norwich game.

  • I’m in Mexico (two hours ahead of California time)…and well-dialed in with my espresso set-up… Internet, I have to say, is iffier and there was a bit of a panic (mostly in other parts of the family) when it slowed (waaaaayyyy) down a couple of days back…

    Back to sadder topics…

    I really don’t want to be an extremist about Wenger and how he lost the battle of public opinion…but, if you’re talking under-performances, he delivered NOTHING akin to what (the f*ck) the team is giving us at the moment… (Check GN5’s numbers, or just give it the eye and/or smell test…)

    So, it was Wenger Out…

    And yet Emery persists, which begs the question about the higher-up level of management (i.e., who is the David Dein character?)…and the easy answer, there is no one…

    The REAL problem appears that Raul seems wedded to Unai, either for personal or financial reasons (i.e., on order from the Kroenke folks)… ANYBODY (with an eye for football–and/or who cares about not even “good” but merely decent football, the Arsenal brand, etc.) would’ve changed managers this past summer. Hell, just about any old manager with Arsenal ties (Arteta; Puel maybe) would’ve ridden a tide of (cafe) Pepe (and Tierney enthusiasm) and likely could have retained some of the elders (Kos/Nacho) Admir mentioned… Now, it appears too late, though I did find a measure of “hope” in that Arseblog/Rafa B. scenario earlier this morning…

    Instead, I fear, the Raul/Unai “brand” is the complete tear-down of Arsene-L… Which might’ve worked IF it could deliver CL promotion (a goal which “wasn’t good enough” back when Wenger delivered it, all those seasons–talk about your shifting goal-posts). I think we now require leadership at a level above all that. Make the Kroenke’s hurt (in the wallet, the only place they care about). No bums in seats, no ticket renewals, no buying streams, etc., etc… When they (Josh and Stan) believe change is needed it will come… We’re a billionaire’s (or billionaires’…) plaything now… but what motivates those guys… Sadly, I fear, it’s not what you (nor I) care about…

    So, in the meantime, when the timing is right, at least I can type some words and (try and fail to… 😦 …) feel better about things… πŸ™‚

  • I feel badly. For those of you that have been supporters and fans of the club even longer than I have. My falling-for-Arsenal came in the glory-residual period starting 2005. I’ve never known anything but struggle. As a fan of a great club, a great team, of great, and good, and decent players. And the best manager. Ever. And please? Don’t denigrate him with rebuttals of stats– of glory unattained. The best manager I might have been able to assemble– given all the components necessary.

    The club I fell into thrall with– did win some silverware (at long last). Those teams punched their weight and a bit above it for the entire time I’ve been a Gooner. Sadly, Arsenal no longer resembles much of why I fell in love with it.

    Allow me a parable:
    Mrs jw1 and I have been wed for 38-years (and a month!).
    I think I can say it’s been a good thing for us both. A lot happens over the course of any relationship of that length. But neither of us have ‘colored-outside-the-lines’ of our pact (too far) to regret continuing.

    How stupid would I have to be– to break it off because Mrs jw1’s great cooking had slipped a bit? OK, so it has. But I’m no feckin’ idiot. Not tossing her out for any of that.

    Cuz’ then you end up eating a lot of crap. Served by a number of clowns.

    Which is a parallel to what we’re being force-fed as Arsenal fans. It’s bad for us. With no chance of the fare changing anytime soon. And we did this by choice.

    Would have been much better off if we hadn’t forced Le Chef out the door. Pretty sure his cooking would have improved as he realized his offerings were poor. In retrospect today? He certainly seems to have the capacity of ‘getting it’.

    More so than the clowns at the Arsenal FC fast-food drive-through.
    “Good ebening! Welcome to AFC! Wootyou lyggoals widdat loss?



  • Thanks TA– and I read the BBC piece.

    You know who I prefer. Though I could be swayed to Nuno perhaps.
    I really enjoy watching Wolves. But some games they just don’t show the quality I’ve seen at other times. Mostly against teams below them. Spooks me a bit.

    Anyway– found this amusing:
    “My focus is only today and tomorrow, to do all the things that we have worked on here at the training ground,” Emery added.

    Usually takes longer than that to line up international movers.
    Schedule them today Unai. Doubt you’re sticking in the UK.


  • I am happy with Arteta too, JW1. No problems (anymore) there.

    Nuno’s Wolves are strong on system and pass the ball well. They also never give up and are fearless and there appears to be a good atmosphere within the team. He will play with a great set of players and will add a few gems from the Portuguese league, I reckon. But it would be something for Wolves to lose that man before Christmas…

  • OTOH TA– Likely I expect too much of that team. One that is most times better than the sum of its’ parts. But credit for their direction– and directness.

    Whomever we manage to convince to come here (and yes, that tone is apropos)?
    Dennis-willing it’s an early-Christmas gift to many, many millions* of Arsenal fans.


    *A 2005 report by Granada Ventures, which at the time owned a 9.9% stake in the club, estimated Arsenal’s global fanbase at 27 million, the third-largest in the world.

  • Yes that is what I like about Nuno, JW1 (as per my post too). Better than the sum of its parts is exactly what we need again – that’s what Wenger used to achieve, in his best years especially.

  • I regret not being able to take part in this discussion, but this is the type of posts (and high value-added comments) that made me stick to this site among all Arsenal supporter blogs.

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