Arsenal’s Strategic Vision and Arsene’s Loyalty is What Sets Us Apart

Managers, in general, are treated like dirt.

Failure is in the eye of the beholder! 😉

Liverpool and Chelsea already changed their manager this season not even half way through it. Rodgers made Liverpool play some sublime football – in my view among the best football on show anywhere in Europe over the last few years – that was not that far away from being successful too, but the fans and owners did not stand by him and you have to be a hell of a manager to fight such collective doubt about you and come out as the winner. Klopp seems a good match for Pool but they still will have to be patient with him which is in very short supply.

The Chavs let Mourinho go a few weeks ago and this after winning the title with him just a few months ago. The self-adoring one had vowed he was going to stay at Chelsea for a long time and leave a legacy, but the so called ‘third year syndrome’ affected him once again. Mourinho’s niche is coming in at a top club, with top players already available, and then have an immediate impact, often helped by spending a lot of money. He puts his personality and energy into it as well, and that has led to a lot of successful albeit mostly boring football. But, after a while, he loses interest and the bad sides of his character become more and more to the surface, and this has been very entertaining for us Gooners over the last few months. 🙂

Mourinho has no staying power; so much has become clear now. If you end up near the relegation zone with a squad that just won the league and the team look clueless and without desire, then you literally don’t know what you are doing. The often branded tactical genius, even by fellow Gooners, turned out to be absolutely tactically clueless, seemingly unable to make changes to the team to get them back to winning ways. Jamie Carragher was spot on in his assessment: Mourinho has never been in this position before and just did not know how to get out of it. A specialist in turning failure round he will probably never be. Yet it was ridiculous that the Chavs’ BoD let him go so soon and not give him the opportunity to turn things round (unless of course he did not want to be at the club any more…).

Wenger had once again the last laugh but he did well to keep quiet over the departure of his nemesis who tried to ridicule him on many occasions.

We all know that flat-faced Dutchie, LvG, is a dead man walking at MU as the fans cannot stand the football their team plays nowadays, and they also believe they have a God-given right to beautiful winning football. This is of course good news for us. The lack of patience by the fans, and now their shirt sponsor as well, will lead to the sacking of LvG and the whole cycle of building success will start again; and there are no guarantees they will get it right any time soon, even if the hottest team manager ticket in town, Guardiola, decides to have a few years at the red side of eternally rain-wet Manchester. And what a blow it will be to them if restless Pep decides to replace – the equally to LvG job-vulnerable – Pelligrini in the summer!

Yesterday, Benitez was sacked by Real Madrid – Perez’s 10 managerial sacking during his Los Blancos reign ffs! – after just seven months in charge. Perez had sacked Ancelotti in the summer because he felt like it, and then appointed the highly unpopular Benitez instead…. because he felt like it. The most arrogant club management in the world by a country mile (yes even more than Chavs’) does just as it pleases and treats managers like entertainment-fodder – as if they are Roman Emperors flippantly entertaining a blood thirsty mob.

The lack of long-term vision and decision making and ability to stick with strategic decisions by so many clubs, is just ridiculous.

Van Gaal and Rodgers are managers who build towards long-term success based on a football philosophy, but, just as with any other businesses, success seldom or never establishes itself along a 45-degree upwards moving line.

There will be ups and downs, and the dips in performance and success can be severe; and yet, sticking to the strategic direction and plan remains key. If you get a guy like Van Gaal to manage your club, you have to give it 3-5 years to fully embed his philosophy and then start enjoying the fruit of all the hard work that has gone into recalibrating the club; his managerial record, with personal successes as well as good evidence of legacies left behind at clubs like Barcelona and Bayern – two powerhouses in the modern game – speaks for itself. Rodgers and Klopp are also ‘football-philosophy-implementation managers’; and the same goes, of course, for Wenger.

I am very, very glad that we have had visionary, business-like BoD members at Arsenal for the last few decades, and that Arsene Wenger is a loyal type by nature, which is of equal importance. By building the new stadium and achieving a sixteen year presence in the Champions League, Arsenal have established themselves at the very top of European clubs in terms of turnover and respect – all of this achieved through sensible business strategy and planning, whilst playing football the Arsenal Way. Everything is in place to translate this newly achieved status gradually into the shiniest silverware available, and then remain a national and European powerhouse for a long time to come.

I must admit I am not entirely sure whether Wenger is the man to get us to that next level of success, but given our recent successes and Arsene’s keenness to stay put and complete the journey – and of course a supporter’s duty to repay the loyalty given by him to Arsenal over so many years – I happily await and see whether he can do it.

And if not, everything will be in place for the then hottest manager ticket in the world to take over from him at THOF.

By TotalArsenal.

Arsenal – Dortmund: a beautiful game and great learning opportunity

So what have we learned from our narrow defeat against last year’s CL runners up? Almost nothing, other than this team is still a work in progress, but has made progress nevertheless.

Arsenal played with a bit more tension and less fluidity than Dortmund, and that in my view made the marginal difference. Klopp is a top-top manager: second best in the world after Louis van Gaal. He knows how to make his players play in a system of football with clear tasks and expectations per position. If a top player leaves, he will find a quality replacement in no time and gets them to fit into the system incredibly fast, and that is what makes him such a good manager in my opinion. Arsene is more laissez-faire in his approach to ‘system-football’ as he allows his players more freedom to ‘express themselves’.

Dortmund was a well-oiled machine and if and when they won the ball back, they passed it better round than we did. We struggled with fluidity in the first half as too many passes went astray and we suffered from continuous miscommunication between the players. The fact that they were a tat nervous did not help either. But the boys fought back slowly but steadily and deserved their equaliser.

We had a great shape in the first half and gave away little. However, in the attacking third we struggled to combine effectively as the continuous and ferocious pressure of the Germans allowed us less time on the ball; and then, you need certain automatism to kick in (as our opponents demonstrated so effectively to us last night) which are not fully there yet. This will come, though, and I am sure the team will learn quickly. It is these sorts of games that will speed the gelling and finding each other automatically up for us.

Now, we can say that it is the little things that make the difference in games like these, but this is the case in most games. We can also say we would not have lost this game with Flamini in the team, or even won the game with Theo and Podolski available. Maybe this is so, but we just don’t know. We can also say, we should have played for a draw and remain more compact at the back; and although there is merit in this too, we could also have lost the game with exactly that approach after which we would have said we should have played for the win – attack is the best defence and all that sort of stuff. Hindsight smindsight.

What is most important: compared to the Munich home game, Arsenal have made tremendous progress and with a bit more luck we would not have lost, possibly even have won, this game. The team has made a lot of progress in a short period of time.

But Dortmund did not reach the CL final last year by luck and once a team has humiliated a team like Madrid, collective confidence levels go sky-high, and this will last for a while. At times we played better football than them, but unlike us, they were always in control and played with a better established and ‘oiled’ system, and that’s why they scraped past us, I reckon. Nothing to be ashamed of, though.

So let’s not go on and on about certain individual players who apparently underperformed on the night, or whether certain players are far more effective in another position than they played in yesterday. Let’s also not use this game as a ‘yardstick’ how good our team really is and see failure to win as evidence that our good run until now is down to just playing the lesser lights of the footballing world (as if there are anymore lesser lights).

Let’s just see this as a great game of football, at the highest possible level, that we were not far away from winning. Let’s see it as confirmation that the team has made great progress in the last twelve months and more is likely to come. Let’s see it as a great learning opportunity for the boys without too much immediate damage done. Just wait and see how the team will progress in the next few weeks as a result of this game: Liverpool will feel the full brunt in two weeks time.

And with regards to our CL group, we are at least the second strongest team and that will tell in the end.

Written by: TotalArsenal.