How Arsenal Will Return to The Top: Strategy, Strategy, STRATEGY!

The beautiful game keeps developing and Arsenal find themselves in a tough battle for returning to the Apex of the PL.

When the club decided to build The Arsene Wenger Stadium – well that’s what it should have been called by now – it was meant to make us compete with the much richer Mancs. Then the Oilers came and TV money diluted the importance of the box office income, and on top of it all Arsene gradually lost his way tactically and in terms of finding world class gems. As a result Arsenal lost its duopoly with the Mancs, and so did they; and both clubs are desperately seeking their way back to dominance.

Big, carefree oil money has played a huge part in this but it’s not the only factor. The London and Manchester Oilers also out-strategised us (and the Red Mancs) and so did Pool.

Mourinho’s football was awful to watch but it established the Chavs at the top of the PL, and they then built further on their initial success, obviously helped by the spineless Oil baron’s easy money.

Citeh have built up something solid and possibly lasting and made one of the two biggest moves of the last decade: luring Guardiola to the rainy city and making him settle there. That’s really no mean feat. As much as I dislike the MC ownership, I have to admit that they have made some great strategic moves. Yes they spent a lot of money too but unlike many other established top clubs in Europe they did not go for big, expensive and established players who subsequently flopped (Bale, Coutinho, Hazard, etc). Well Grealish may turn out to be an exception to this.

Pool were also strategically much more shrewd than Arsenal, both by attracting Klopp – the second biggest move in the PL in the last decade and who would improve on Rodgers’ fine base – AND by finding the sort of Gems Arsene and Dein used to surprise everyone with a decade earlier.

It became gradually clear that Arsenal’s strategy of seldom selling our top players, building on our youth academy and buying one or two expensive, established players (Ozil, Ssnchez, Partey, Auba, Laca, Pepe) was just not working. Klopp, Guardiola and Abramovich were continuously out-smarting Arsenal (and the rest). The club had to go a different route. And they did.

Nobody should underestimate the boldness and risk-taking of the BoD’s new strategic course. They put their trust in untested Arteta and spent a hell of a lot of money on young players with huge potential, but nothing more than that.

It is a big work in progress and can only over time be judged. Yet, we can already see the progress and were this vision could lead us. No doubt, a few more players will leave and join us this summer, and next season should be a level better once more.

It remains to be seen whether we can challenge Citeh and Pool with this strategy, but we are certainly ahead of the Red Mancs and the knuckle-draggers of North-London who are both in free-fall and in perpetual search for the right fit manager.

There is more to come and Arteta has it all to do, but we are heading in the right direction again and doesn’t it feel good?! 🤩

By TTotalArsenal

23 thoughts on “How Arsenal Will Return to The Top: Strategy, Strategy, STRATEGY!

  • TA,our direction of travel does feel good!

    Another factor in Citeh’s success (and the Hammers recent rise) was getting a new stadium with a larger capacity on the cheap, courtesy of the taxpayers. Having to pay full whack for the Emirates certainly limited what Arsene could do and our wages policy at the time meant that Citeh, Manure and the Chavs were able to entice some of our better players to move to them.

    When Citeh agreed to purchase their ground at a knockdown price they were portraying themselves as the poor hard-up neighbours to Manure. The takeover happened so quickly afterwards that I remember thinking at the time
    that they had probably cynically delayed the takeover announcement to ensure that they got the ground on the cheap.

  • OX10, that’s a really interesting angle and you could be on to something there!

    It does seem unfair that these stadiums became so easily available to those clubs, although I don’t know all the details re ownership and rental costs etc.

    But there is no doubt in my mind that Arsenal have the superior stadium that every season feels more like our home.

  • While it will be a tough ask for us to catch up (n terms of quality and transfer fees), with the chavs and the City Oilers, you feel the approach we’ve adopted will make for greater bonding/unity in the team which will serve us well in the games where we have to dig in.

    For the first team, promoting from the academy, spiced with a number of established but unsung players is how we have chosen to go; we have to stay the course and avoid the urge to jettison this approach as the pressure for trophies rack up. Already, the squad trimming job Edu and Arteta carried out in the last window has resulted in a very (seriously) low wage bill (from a high of £163m to the current £87.2m). That may not mean much for fans but it takes us back to the way the club was run conservatively, spending only from footballing revenues; it also leaves Edu and the Kroenke’s with room to add one or two marquee signings to raise the quality in the team.

    I feel the latter is what we shall get to see, given the sizeable wiggle room the new wage bill offers.

    Sleepy now; hope that made sense. 😴

  • Thanks Total, yeah, trust the process.

    Let’s just grind out the results we need for a CL spot, the ends justify the means and all that etc.

    I noticed that the media were trying to make something out of the post match comments of Xavi with a perceived criticism of Arteta but I never saw it – the usual media BS.

    Xavi said some nice things about Aubameyang ( ya don’t say Sherlock) and of course he would, I saw some brief highlights and Aubameyang was quite ineffective from what I saw but you can only imagine the utter crap we’ll get slung our way when he scores. Well so what?

    Sad to see the death of Steve Burtenshaw, supporters of a certain vintage will remember him as Arsenal reserve coach and then 1st team coach. He also did a lot of years in the scouting dept at Highbury.

    Lautaro Martinez is again back in vogue (yawn) with the usual click baiters running off their vacuous minds inventing a summer bid from Arsenal for the Argentinian. It fills a bit of space and sells some ads but it’s oh so tedious…

    I wonder how Arsenal will deal with the one – dimensional tactics of Brentford this weekend, hopefully our opening day bloody nose will have left a scar on Arteta that he’ll ensure that his team put right?

    No room for fannying about against a physical Bees side who’ll look to unsettle us again with Exocets into the box, Gabriel, White and Ramsdale have to dominate and Partey needs to be a leader, keep it tight, trust the process and one goal should do it…

  • TA, I feel that the way are Arsenal are buliding a structure seems to be the only way for most 90% of the teams in Pl. The top 2 or 3 are untouchable in terms of money and players at their disposal. We may make a headway in terms of player recruitment if we get into Europe. Arsenal night be looked as a stepping stone to the top 2 or 3 clubs and up coming talents will consider joining us. But even then the wage structure which iam completely supportive of will be a limiting factor. So recruitment will remain a huge focus along with Academy outputs. We also have to look at our sales very seriously after this summer window when all the free agents go. After that no more charity and player sale will have to get serious.
    To be able to do the above and be successful two things have to change in the way coach manages the squad. Whoever is picked to manage the squad and in this case Arteta, should absolutely work towards getting the best out of squad. That means the sum of parts greater than the whole, no flogging of first 11 while the rest twiddles their thumbs. Squad management should be of utmost importance and everyone should be a saleable asset due to the contribution they do on the field.
    Secondly the very public denounciation of players like Guen, Saliba, Torreira, Ozil, auba in the name of culture should be stopped. As a manager you should be able to deal with these situation in a professional manner without devalueing your own asset. At the end of the day everything has to be looked through the lens of saleable asset. We don’t have the luxury of throwing away money to solve problems between professional players and manager.
    The trajectory and structure is undeniably the right way in the present circumstances. But a lot of work remains to be done on the field and within the club.

  • Interesting about the reduction of the wage bill, Eris. I can see this stabilising for a while, as we will keep buying relatively young players. Mayby once we establish ourselves again in the CL top players around 26-28 will be added again.

  • Great comment, Kev. I watched the Barca game and Aubameyang tried harder than usual but was pretty ineffective for most of the game. Should have had an assist fora rare clever move and pass but that’s about it. Good luck to him.

    Yes the Bees will make it hard for us and an early goal would be very welcome. We may have to do them with a set piece ourselves.

    Top four is a big ask, Kev, but like you I am hopeful.

  • You are a fine, critical voice,, Madhu, and a fine comment. Arteta and Edu could definitely be more tactful and astute, but let’s not underestimate the big need for change at the club. You cannot make an omelette without breaking eggs mio amigo: if culture and values are going to make the difference than those who do not want to work with these simply have to go. I am sure Arteta will have tried his best with them.

    I think that Pool have proved that the right strategy and enough but not the most money can work magic. We don’t have to worry about anybody or anything, except Man City replacing the departing Guardiola with Arteta in say two years time. That’s why strategy remains key.

  • Good points all, for sure the reduction is our wage bill was critical to the team improvement Edu and Arteta have planned, all we need is the right support from our owners and the sort of ambition they provided for the Rams.

    I don’t have any ill feeling towards those players who’ve left over the last couple of years, it needed to be done, it was excruciatingly expensive but necessary, but I also don’t really care about the careers of most of them either, that might sound harsh but many of them nicked a living at Arsenal and now reality has sunk in, they didn’t know how lucky they were they didn’t embrace our club as they should have done and now they’re yesterday’s men.

  • You are right, Kev, “they don’t know how lucky they were”. And, yes, Total “culture and values” are more important, or certainly should be more important than the bottom line at the Arsenal. The proverb states that “a man’s name is worth more than gold or silver”. Arsenal is a name famed for many reasons. Our club holds an honoured place in British and world football due respect and admiration for its longevity, standards, institutional excellence, creativity, innovation, competitive success and moral fibre. (To say nothing of its fine and extremely good looking fans). Long may it continue.

    Kroenke’s success at the Rams certainly demonstrated ambition but will likely come at the cost of their medium term future. Tho’ I know next to nothing about the NFL it seems they gambled next seasons draft picks for this seasons success? Perhaps J can shine some light upon this? I cannot imagine, with Kroenke’s money behind them that the Rams will do a Leeds United (circa 1990’s), but I do hope the Arsenal resist putting all their eggs in one basket. The emphasis upon developing younger players seems to indicate that this will be the case.

    So looking forward to the next one of those 17 OGAAT’s tomorrow morning.

  • Fine comments all round; thanks for the links, GN5. I made the following observations from gleaning the club’s official site:
    – Pepe seemed missing from the Training pictures. I hope he is fit and can play a part tomorrow.
    – Read that Leno has recovered from COVID-19 infection. Only then did it hit me Okonkwo was the reserve keeper for the game away to Wolves. Nervy times, had Ramsdale been substituted for any reason.
    – We have played Brentford 12 times in all competitions. They have won 6 of those games while we’ve won 3. I know a lot of those games would have been played way back but it puts in perspective the task our boys have to surmount, especially as the game is a derby. I think we will win, though.
    – Ref is John Moss. Granit had better await his yellow card as has become standard issue with John Moss (him, it was, who gave Granit his first red; he happened to be the ref again in the game after Granit had served his 3 game ban. He gave him a 2nd red card in that game too. Bizarre stuff; like he had a thing for him or his reputation).

    Good luck to the lads tomorrow.

  • Cheers Stu and well said by your good self…

    I do feel a bit sorry for Jack if I’m honest Total, you can tell that he would love the chance to play a few more games for us, just one last time and I’m sure he’d be great, it would also give us fans the opportunity to give him a fond farewell but I just don’t think that it’ll happen, Arteta isn’t a romantic like Wenger and so Jack will have to make do training with the boys…

  • I should say …he gave him a red card in that game too*

    I also think Matt Turner will keep Ramsdale honest in goal. He is the first choice for the USMNT and would push to be No. 1 at Arsenal too. Can only bode well for our results.

  • Kev, I think it’s good of Arteta to have Jack back at the club. Playing him may just not be feasible given what is at stake. Wenger refused the return of Cesc and that was very, very unromantic.

  • Thanks Kev, and thanks Eris, I didn’t realise we had such a poor record against Brentford. And this is our first home league game against the Bees since 1946!
    Thanks Total. You have a knack for reading between the lines.

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