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.

Van Gaal is doing Welbeck a disservice

Van Gaal today (from BBC website): “He [Welbeck] played three seasons for the first team, but he doesn’t have the record of Robin van Persie or Wayne Rooney. And that is the standard,” and “That is why we let him go, because of Falcao, but also to allow the youngsters to fit in. That is the policy. That is why I am here.”

Well, what is the gracious Dutchman comparing Welbeck against? Rooney is now 28 and Van Persie is 31. So surely, he should compare DW23’s current goal scoring record against the records of the mega-earners when they were 23.


Welbeck Van Persie Rooney
Club PL games and goals scored when 23 (goals per game) 92-20 (0.22) 111-25 (0.23) 224-80 (0.36)
International goals scored after 28 games  (goals per game) 28-10 (0.36) 28-9 (0.32) 28-11 (0.39)


So, compared to Rooney, Welbeck is well behind in terms of PL goals per game by the age of 23 (0.36 v 0.22), but not so far off in terms of goals per games in international matches (0.39 v 0.36); and I predict Welbeck to catch up with Rooney soon if he keeps getting starts for England. We all know that Rooney had an incredible successful start of his club career and that Welbeck has not been given the same first team exposure at a similar age. Nevertheless, it is fair to say Rooney performed better by the age of 23 than Welbeck does currently/ at the same age.

However, compared to Van Persie, Welbeck has nothing to be ashamed about. His PL tally is slightly worse, and his international record after 28 games is slightly better. They are even at the age of 23 and we know how the traitor developed subsequently: and this should offer encouragement for Welbeck.

All Welbeck needs is the confidence of the manager, patience and a good run of games – hence his sheer enthusiasm for coming to the home of football. Van Gaal needs instant success and is under a lot of pressure. Falcao is a proven goal scorer and I understand why he got him. But don’t put the boot into Welbeck with unfair statistics. It was a classless thing to do, and oh boy will Danny be motivated to proof him wrong, time and time again!

Written by: TotalArsenal.

Van Gaal to Arsenal? Would he move us to the next level?

Dutch football media fully expect Louis van Gaal to go to England after the world cup, but they are still divided as to which club he will be managing. VI International, by far the best Dutch ‘voetbal’ magazine, reported that one part of football journalists expect Van Gaal to go to the Mancs, and the other part actually believe he will be managing our very own Arsenal next season.

The latter believe the  fact that the club have still not announced a new contract for our current manager, and the imminent arrival of three Dutchmen for coaching roles at Arsenal – most notably Andries Jonker, who has worked closely with Van Gaal a few times – could be strong signs that ‘belligerent Louis’ might end up – not at the theatre of nightmares – but at the very Home of Football.

I am a fan of Van Gaal and believe he would suit our club well, as long as he arrives with the blessing of Wenger. Over a year ago, I wrote a post about how Van Gaal would manage Arsenal; and rather than repeat myself, please see link below:

Now I am not after the sacking of Arsene Wenger; for that, I respect him too much. It is up to Arsene to decide whether he really can take our club to the next level and I trust he will make the right decision this summer.  I have incredible respect for him; especially, for sticking with the club during the financially barren years whilst being at the very peak of his career. He could have gone anywhere to win more (easy) silverware, but he stuck with us; and for this we should remain grateful.

However, I am now doubtful whether Arsene can take us to the next level; and although I don’t want him ever to be sacked, if I am totally honest, I am also not particularly looking forward to another season under his management. In the next few weeks, I will write a separate post about why I fear that Arsene will not take us to the next level (if HH does not beat me to it?!). But this post is about Van Gaal’s potential suitability for Arsenal.

If Van Gaal is indeed coming to England AND Arsene is thinking of moving upwards (or onwards), this would be the moment – the one chance – to approach the Dutchman and steel him away from the Mancs. Arsenal would suit him much better than Man United. We have a team full of young talent and experienced, yet mouldable players, and there is a culture and system of football which is close to Van Gaal’s interpretation of Totaal Voetbal. Arsenal resemble Ajax in more ways than one; whereas Man United have always looked more like PSV Eindhoven in terms of style of football. It would take a long time for Van Gaal to put his stamp on MU and for this he has not got the time or the patience, I reckon. His next job will be his last and he never stays long anywhere, so he is likely to prefer Arsenal to Man United, if he had the choice.

Van Gaal would bring a more disciplined approach to our (total) football and less dependency on the quality and form of individual players. He would use the whole squad and drill everyone into one or more positions: there would be less freedom for individuals to express themselves. The focus would be playing football in a systematic, machine-like way. For every position, there will a number of players who can play in it, but the expectations, or specific tasks, for the ‘roles’ will always be the same. Van Gaal will focus strong on tactics, but like Wenger, he will not adjust these for each and every game: it is all about perfecting the system of football that will eventually conquer all. He is a self-proclaimed relationship manager who will work very hard and close with each and every player to get them to play the way he wants them to. He is very stubborn, just like Wenger[ and he will cause upsets within the team and possible within the club hierarchy as well. But he is also a winner and very keen to manage a club in England….

So if Arsene has decided, or is close to deciding to call it a day, now might be the time to act.

But what do you think, fine fellow Gooners: Would Van Gaal suit our club? Would he be able to move us to the next level, if Arsene calls it a day?

Written by: TotalArsenal.