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.

Has Cazorla been found out?

Maybe it is time to let Santi go


Santi Cazorla was a great signing two seasons ago. He hit the ground running and had a great first season in which he earned an incredible 10 MOMs (man of the match) performances, scored 12 goals and produced a juicy 11 assists in the Premier League. Santi added real value to the team all over the pitch, and many of us were very disappointed he had not made it to the PL team of the season in 2012-2013. He played in all 38 PL games, with 37 starts.

But his second season was significantly less impressive. He still managed to play in 31 PL games, with 30 starts, but it seemed that teams had figured out what Santi’s qualities are. For a start he was no longer allowed space, and especially time, to do his characteristic Santi ‘dances’ in front of the ‘D’: ‘shall I shoot with my right foot or shall I shoot with my left foot, or shall I shoot with my right foot, before eventually shooting with one of his feet’. In his first season he scored many a goal like that, but not any more so this season. He reminds me a lot of my dog Henry, as in when he keeps turning and twisting until he finds the right spot to do his, with glee anticipated, daily dumps. 🙂

The goals and assists have dried up in 2013-14: only four PL goals (a third of his total tally the year before), and eight assists (down three); and just three MOMs performances.

I must add, I really got the hump with Santi when I watched him at the home of football against Swansea. We had just been humiliated by the Chavs and we needed a performance by the team; and it was up to the likes of Cazorla to pull the team through. He had a very disappointing, laboured performance and I came to realise he is not one to carry our team forward when the ships are down (although he was not the only one who disappointed, it is fair to say). Most subsequent performances were not very inspiring either.

On top of that, Santi never hit the heights in the CL, with 13 appearances in two seasons but no goals and just one assist. In four months he will be thirty and with the arrival of Sanchez, and Theo’s return not far away either, plus space needed for Ox, Gnabry, Rosicky and one or two youngsters, it might be a good idea to let Santi go this summer. I cannot imagine him wanting to be on the bench a lot, where he could still add value to the team with 20-30 minutes cameos; and we can still get a decent amount of money for him now.

Of course he could still have a fabulous third season, but I would not be too sorry to see him go, as I believe he has not got enough qualities to get back to his excellent 2012-13 performances and impressive key stats.

But what do you think, fine fellow Gooners: should we let him go or keep at all cost? 🙂

Written by: TotalArsenal.

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Next seven games might determine Arsene’s future


Arsene Wenger frustrates and delights in equal measure.

He is by no means perfect, and especially this summer he has tested my and many fellow Gooners’ patience to the extreme. Things never seem to be straightforward with Arsene. When he was given a big budget this summer, as well as a promise that none of the top players would be sold, and a clear commitment by Gazidis to bring ‘super quality’ to the club, Arsene appeared to dither and not make best use of this vastly improved strategic position.

He somehow managed to turn things round in the last few days of the TW, with first signing the Flame and then, when we thought we could hear the fat lady sing her final lamentation – by sheer magic and at the very last minute – he brought us the European King of Assists.

I am more than satisfied with the final outcome but the way things were done over the summer have left me questioning Wenger and the club’s management ‘business skills’ for the first time.

It is always good to question ourselves whether we could improve things for Arsenal with another manager, but when we do so, we must look at what we could gain as well as lose by replacing him.

A few years ago, whilst reading Alain de Botton’s ‘The Consolations of Philosophy’ – an easy digestible book about how philosophy can help improve your daily life – I became intrigued by a particular topic. In the chapter called ‘(Consolations for) A Broken Heart’, de Botton explains how we can deal with being unhappy in a long term relationship with our partner. He advises us to go back to the reason why we decided to enter a long term relationship with our current partner in the first place. De Botton believes we enter long-term relationships with our partners because we believe he/she can improve us; and this improvement takes place in our offspring: our kids are to become better versions of ourselves.

For most of us, this is a subconscious, intuitive process, but we appear to pick our partners with the aim of eventually producing children who are a physical and intellectual improvement of ourselves – an upgrade, if you like. Of course, there are no guarantees this will indeed be the case; which reminds me about the famous little anecdote of Marilyn Monroe suggesting to Albert Einstein to imagine what a baby produced between the two of them could be like – with her looks and his brains; to which Einstein responded: ‘but what if it is the other way round?’.

De Botton believes by going back to why we got together with our partners, and by realising that our offspring is indeed an improvement of ourselves, we should be able to accept that we are sometimes bored, or even a bit unhappy, in our long-term relationships: but it is still a price worth paying.

I feel that the club relationship (and therefore our relationship) with Arsene Wenger should be seen in a similar light.

As a club we have gained tremendously from our long-term relationship with Arsene Wenger. Our ‘offspring’ is a number of titles and cups, a very attractive brand of football, a new stadium, but most importantly a totally embedded change of culture and a more or less permanent seat at the zenith of European football, although this is not reflected in our recent trophy cabinet.

We have come through a tough post-new-stadium phase, but it looks like we are finally getting back on track towards silverware. We might not win anything this year but at least we will feel we have a proper chance again, and that is all we can ask for.


It looks like our relationship with Arsene is entering a new lease of life and a further improvement of ourselves is a strong possibility once again.

But the next seven games are likely to be a proper test of the quality of our relationship going forward. Let’s hope we’ll come through it stronger and more joined up than ever before.

Written by: TotalArsenal.