Arsenal 2014-2015: Ugh. Your banter stinks.

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sachmoney

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But without the Kool-Aid man jokes???
 
The fan base is so bipolar. You have people on the Wenger out side and you have people at the Arsene knows best people. If the club does poorly, guess who speaks up. When the club does well, guess who speaks up. It's really stupid and childish the way people try to push across their agenda. As I've said for some time, who can Arsenal get that's better? Do you trust the board to make that decision? 
 
Yes, Arsene is incredibly stubborn and frustrating, but until the board shows some spine, I don't trust them to make a new hire. United went from champions to mid-table after Ferguson left. Do you think Arsenal are going to automatically stay in the Champions League without Wenger?
 
It'll be interesting to see how this next stretch goes. I imagine we'll hear more of this clamoring if the next couple of results don't go the Arsenal's way.
 
blueguitar322 said:
Wenger is uniquely brilliant but stubborn.  Sometimes it pays off.  But he's notorious for refusing to change his tactics based on who we play, believing that to adjust his game plan somehow implies a failure of his vision.  And his vision seems to be this Barca-lite version of tiki-taka but without recognizing the critical importance of players who can consistently win the ball back on the opponents' half.  Arsenal had a total of zero tackles or interceptions in Dortmund's half.  And despite playing an offensively-loaded team, Arsenal managed only one shot on goal yesterday.  That's ridiculous.
 
This is also the same manager that (1) refused to upgrade at defensive/holding midfield and (2) refused to upgrade over Giroud at striker until the injury forced his hand and he realized that all of his tough talk about loads of attacking talent was smoke and mirrors.  Now here either Wenger is correct, or virtually the entire rest of the soccer world is correct.  And any manager who goes into a season with six total defenders for four positions (or seven defensive-minded players + Arteta for five positions if you include DM) - is just tempting fate.  The best managers are usually obsessed with depth.  To echo MMS, look at Belichick: he's notorious for worrying more about the last five roster spots than anyone else.  No way that Ferguson, or Mourinho, or Guardiola, or Klopp or any other top manager would do that.
 
The "Wenger out" crowd is sometimes just frustration and letting off steam, but there are some serious underlying issues with his management.  He's far from the worst choice for manager, but the idea that Arsenal could do better at this point in time is a pretty reasonable one IMHO, and not an overreaction.
 
I agree wholeheartedly with everything in this post, with one exception: Arsenal *does* have loads of attacking talent (and did before Welbeck came onboard). The problem is that most of that talent is best suited to playing in the same part of the park and shares many of the same skills. We've got abundant depth at one position, and no depth everywhere else.
 
Because there is so much talent in the squad overall - the players Wenger does buy tend to be very good, with a few exceptions from time to time that any manager should be allowed - Arsenal should be able to win a lot of matches this season and will certainly be close to the top four at the end of the year if not in it. But is that good enough? If Arsenal take 4-6 points from their next two league matches at Villa and home to Spurs and start playing like they did in large stretches of the Man City match, the criticism in this forum will recede and we'll start dreaming of unicorns and rainbows again. But that still wouldn't change the underlying fact that Wenger has some obvious blind spots and doesn't seem to be able to fix them. And given the choice between sticking with your tried-and-true fourth place manager - the Andy Reid candidate (TM LondonSox) - and taking a risk with someone else who might or might not work, well, I think a number of people are becoming increasingly willing to roll the dice.
 

blueguitar322

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sachmoney said:
The fan base is so bipolar. You have people on the Wenger out side and you have people at the Arsene knows best people. If the club does poorly, guess who speaks up. When the club does well, guess who speaks up. It's really stupid and childish the way people try to push across their agenda. As I've said for some time, who can Arsenal get that's better? Do you trust the board to make that decision? 
 
Yes, Arsene is incredibly stubborn and frustrating, but until the board shows some spine, I don't trust them to make a new hire. United went from champions to mid-table after Ferguson left. Do you think Arsenal are going to automatically stay in the Champions League without Wenger?
 
Let's disaggregate this issue a bit.  First, is Arsene meeting the expectations that the manager for a big club should meet?  That's where most of the discussion has been.  I don't think he's a bad manager, but he's lost several mph on his proverbial fastball, and in matchups against teams with similar or greater resources and personnel, he has an atrocious record.  That's particularly frustrating for fans, who have wounded pride and family/neighborhood/office banter to cope with.
 
Second, is there anyone else who could meet the expectations that Arsenal has for its manager, i.e. provide an upgrade over Wenger?  Hell, I don't know.  I'm not up to date with the status of coaches across the world, who's looking to move and who's not, etc.  But there are quite a few coaches out there who impress me with more regularity than Wenger.  Just limiting the field to teams with fewer resources than Arsenal, Jurgen Klopp, Diego Simeone, and even Roberto Martinez come to mind.  Brendan Rodgers might be in that group, but I don't think Henry & co would be willing to let him walk.  Overall, I think the odds that there's no available coaching talent that's better than Wenger is pretty small, so if I had to bet on Wenger vs. the field, I'd take the field.
 
Finally, does Arsenal management want Wenger out?  Nope.  Despite Gazidis pushing for a new striker last November, and Wenger refusing (until Giroud was injured 10 months later), it appears that they're pretty happy to milk the cash cow that is Wenger's Arsenal.  The team's support is strong enough to continually sell out the Emirates, the team itself is strong enough to continually make the Champion's League, and the combination of those two means decent sponsorship money.  Between these three items, the vast majority of Arsenal's revenue is secure, and that's enough to let Arsene continue to have his way even when the CEO thinks otherwise.  (Not to mention, Kroenke's been the voting majority for only three years, and Gazidis has been CEO for only five, compared to Arsene's 18-year tenure.)
 
Unfortunately for Kroenke & co, this type of cash cow mindset doesn't really benefit the fans as much as the shareholders, and that's why this whole "Wenger In/Out" debate is ongoing.  If Arsenal doesn't alter its 10-year trajectory, the rumblings will just increase.  The moment CL qualification appears to be in serious doubt, the pressure to act will be formidable.
 
Wenger's a decent manager, the club spends money, we're never too far out of the title talk even if we're not always truly a part of it, etc.  Arsenal is a pretty comfortable club to root for, all things considered.  And almost all of the club's fans want Wenger to succeed.  But just like as a Red Sox fan I don't think the manager should be above question, as an Arsenal supporter I don't think Wenger should be either.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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blueguitar322 said:
Let's disaggregate this issue a bit.  First, is Arsene meeting the expectations that the manager for a big club should meet?  That's where most of the discussion has been.  I don't think he's a bad manager, but he's lost several mph on his proverbial fastball, and in matchups against teams with similar or greater resources and personnel, he has an atrocious record.  That's particularly frustrating for fans, who have wounded pride and family/neighborhood/office banter to cope with.
 
Second, is there anyone else who could meet the expectations that Arsenal has for its manager, i.e. provide an upgrade over Wenger?  Hell, I don't know.  I'm not up to date with the status of coaches across the world, who's looking to move and who's not, etc.  But there are quite a few coaches out there who impress me with more regularity than Wenger.  Just limiting the field to teams with fewer resources than Arsenal, Jurgen Klopp, Diego Simeone, and even Roberto Martinez come to mind.  Brendan Rodgers might be in that group, but I don't think Henry & co would be willing to let him walk.  Overall, I think the odds that there's no available coaching talent that's better than Wenger is pretty small, so if I had to bet on Wenger vs. the field, I'd take the field.
 
Finally, does Arsenal management want Wenger out?  Nope.  Despite Gazidis pushing for a new striker last November, and Wenger refusing (until Giroud was injured 10 months later), it appears that they're pretty happy to milk the cash cow that is Wenger's Arsenal.  The team's support is strong enough to continually sell out the Emirates, the team itself is strong enough to continually make the Champion's League, and the combination of those two means decent sponsorship money.  Between these three items, the vast majority of Arsenal's revenue is secure, and that's enough to let Arsene continue to have his way even when the CEO thinks otherwise.  (Not to mention, Kroenke's been the voting majority for only three years, and Gazidis has been CEO for only five, compared to Arsene's 18-year tenure.)
 
Unfortunately for Kroenke & co, this type of cash cow mindset doesn't really benefit the fans as much as the shareholders, and that's why this whole "Wenger In/Out" debate is ongoing.  If Arsenal doesn't alter its 10-year trajectory, the rumblings will just increase.  The moment CL qualification appears to be in serious doubt, the pressure to act will be formidable.
 
Wenger's a decent manager, the club spends money, we're never too far out of the title talk even if we're not always truly a part of it, etc.  Arsenal is a pretty comfortable club to root for, all things considered.  And almost all of the club's fans want Wenger to succeed.  But just like as a Red Sox fan I don't think the manager should be above question, as an Arsenal supporter I don't think Wenger should be either.
I think that's a pretty fair assessment of the situation.

Ultimately, I think this year will be telling, one way or another. The competition in the Premier League is unprecedented. But we probably have our strongest team since at least 07-08. There is still a big hole at DM and some issues with defensive depth but Wenger really should be able to get this squad playing good successful football and there's no excuse not to have learned tactically from past beatings against top sides regarding pressing, midfield play, etc. We're still bedding in a lot of new players, adapting to a slightly new formation, and some of our stronger players have been completely off form for one reason or another (Ozil, Ramsey, Per). Wenger is going to get a shot at molding this team and taking it to the next level. That doesn't necessarily mean winning the league for me, but it does mean good results overall and a demonstrated ability to go toe to toe with the Chelseas and Citys (and Dortmunds, Bayerns, etc) of the world, imposing our will in some of those matches and giving them a hell of a challenge from a more or less peer club, not just serving as a scrappy underdog hoping to squeak a result. I think at the end of year we'll have a lot more clarity about whether or not Wenger is the guy to take the club back to that top level. I entered the season relatively optimistic but that Dortmund match really made me rethink things a bit so I guess we'll see.
 

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Morgan's Magic Snowplow said:
 I entered the season relatively optimistic but that Dortmund match really made me rethink things a bit so I guess we'll see.
 
Say you were soundly beaten by City or Chelsea, would this discussion have happened?
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Zomp said:
Say you were soundly beaten by City or Chelsea, would this discussion have happened?
If we had lost in the same way, sure. I don't mind losing or getting soundly beaten by a good squad. I just mind getting soundly beaten due to the same issues - partly due to personnel but mainly due to tactics - that have been obvious to everybody since last year.
 

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Morgan's Magic Snowplow said:
 I think at the end of year we'll have a lot more clarity about whether or not Wenger is the guy to take the club back to that top level. 
I think we already have this answer.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Arsenal released its 2013-14 financial figures today, which reveal some interesting tidbits.
 
-Football related revenue rose to £298.7M from £242.8M, propelled mainly by the new broadcasting deal and new commercial agreements.  As far as I can tell, the Puma deal is not included in this increase.  That's huge but for comparison's sake, Manchester United just reported revenues of £433M over the same period. 
 
-Cash reserves stand at £173.3M!
 
-The Telegraph (using what I think is some fuzzy math but whatever) claims that our wage bill for this year will surpass Chelsea's and trail only the Manchester clubs.
 
-Profit was about £4.7M.  This included a net loss of about £33M in the transfer market.
 
Basically, the club is in really good financial shape, if not on the level of the true giants of the game.  I think the three biggest takeaways in terms of how this shapes the product on the field are:
 
1. Our wage bill should be competitive with anybody in the next tier after United, City, Barca, Bayern, Real, and PSG.  FPP may help us eventually catch PSG and City in this respect.  Accounting shenanigans at the petro clubs aside, I only see four clubs that should have substantially higher football-related revenues than us going forward (United, Bayern, Real, Barca).  With the internationalization of commercial revenue, the rich are getting richer in football.  We're not among the true oligarchs of the new order but we're increasingly leaving clubs like Spurs (as well as laggards whose position is all screwed up right now like Juve and Milan) in the dust.
 
2. Assuming continued revenue growth, we seem positioned to have an annual net spend of £40-60M in the transfer market for the next several years and still turn a profit.  Our net spend this summer was about £53M so right in that ballpark.
 
3. We have a ridiculous amount of cash on hand and could easily have bought William Carvalho for £25-30M at the end of the transfer window, as long as we didn't care about turning a profit this coming year.  A big question for me is whether there is mandate from on high to turn at least a minimal profit each year.
 
Morgan's Magic Snowplow said:
3. We have a ridiculous amount of cash on hand and could easily have bought William Carvalho for £25-30M at the end of the transfer window, as long as we didn't care about turning a profit this coming year.  A big question for me is whether there is mandate from on high to turn at least a minimal profit each year.
 
If your last supposition is correct, that would be hideously bad short-term thinking. Don't you think having proper squad depth in defense and filling the gaping DM hole would likely lead to better results, more Champions League revenue, a higher international profile, etc. etc. and effectively pay for itself? This isn't David O'Leary's Leeds we're talking about here.
 

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ConigliarosPotential said:
 
If your last supposition is correct, that would be hideously bad short-term thinking. Don't you think having proper squad depth in defense and filling the gaping DM hole would likely lead to better results, more Champions League revenue, a higher international profile, etc. etc. and effectively pay for itself? This isn't David O'Leary's Leeds we're talking about here.
 
I agree but that doesn't mean its not the case.  We have never reported an annual loss in the Kroenke era and the last few years have seemed to spend just enough in the transfer market to make profit minimal but not to go into the red.  On the other hand, what is that cash on hand for if not to make big investments in the squad?  Its obvious that we have more money now but I really have no idea what kinds of specific instructions and limitations Gazidis and Wenger have regarding transfer spending.  There also could be softer variations on this policy in which Wenger/Gazidis are encouraged not to go into the red unless its for the right player at the right price (ie, Draxler at a cutrate price last January, Carvalho at a cutrate price this summer), bargains which of course never materialize.
 

blueguitar322

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Injury Crisis Forces Arsenal to Field Cash Reserves
 
Wenger smiled wryly and simply stated “I have a little bit a surprise for you, we have signed all four of the Cash Reserves brothers.”
 
“As you know,” he continued “£35m Cash Reserves has fantastic vision and can play in the advanced midfield role while Wilshere recovers his ankle knock. £25m Cash Reserves has a tremendous engine and will cover well the back four in the defensive midfield position. And £15m and his twin brother £15m Cash Reserves will cover for Koscielny and Mertesacker who are both out with a little bit the flu niggle.”
 
 
 

blueguitar322

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sachmoney said:
https://twitter.com/arsenal/status/513311625877929985
 
Laughing so hard at this line up right now.
 
I just don't understand why Wenger won't rotate players more.  I bet if Wilshere hadn't picked up a slight knock at Dortmund, he'd be in the lineup too.  This strategy worked really well for Arsene between Sept and Nov last season, but then it all fell apart starting with Ramsey's injury, then Theo's, then Ozil's, etc.  Why does he want to risk that happening again?  Seems like a poor risk/reward ratio.
 
I'd love to by a fly on the wall in the training room listening to the conversation between Wenger and new fitness guru Shad Forsythe.
 

blueguitar322

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After a dull half hour, Welbeck to Ozil in a rare fast-paced break and it's 1-0.  Absolutely stoked that those two were the ones involved - they both needed to catch a break.
 
And then a minute later, a similar play but now it's Ozil to Welbeck!
 
This is exactly what the team needed today.
 

blueguitar322

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And an own goal makes it 3-0. 
 
It's amazing what quick passing, pace, and early crosses into the middle can do.
 

JimBoSox9

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blueguitar322 said:
After a dull half hour, Welbeck to Ozil in a rare fast-paced break and it's 1-0.  Absolutely stoked that those two were the ones involved - they both needed to catch a break.
 
And then a minute later, a similar play but now it's Ozil to Welbeck!
 
This is exactly what the team needed today.
 
To be honest, when I saw the lineup comments just now, my first thought was 'they need a big W right now'.  Which may be shades of my father's declaring Must-Win games for the Sox in late April, but whatever - they've clearly not been firing on all cylinders till this half.
 

blueguitar322

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Ramsey wincing, hope he's okay.  Wenger has more than enough attackers he can sub on for him, hope he does soon.
 
Chambers extremely lucky to not get a second yellow, which would have been fully deserved.  Wenger needs to get him off the field, but the only defensive player he has on the bench is Coquelin, who (a) is not very good and (b) usually plays defensive midfield.
 
ifmanis5 said:
A win to quell the Nancy factor here.
 
Sure, it's a very nice win - the goals for Welbeck and Ozil in particular - but c'mon: some people don't seem to understand that European soccer teams are judged far more in relative than absolute terms. Fans of most American sports teams can live in hope that some day, their team might compete for a championship: there's still an element of relativity (e.g., Kansas City Royals fans must be delighted just to be in the thick of a pennant race after so many years in the doldrums), but very few teams are so bad that their fans can't hope for a much brighter future. English football is so stratified that most supporters can only hope for relative improvements; Manchester United finishing 7th in the Premiership is a disaster, while Southampton finishing 8th is a miracle.
 
So...if Arsenal fans complain because we've at best been treading water for a decade, having fallen from the ranks of title contenders to Champions League also-rans, those are the same rules everyone plays by. I became an Arsenal fan when Bruce Rioch was the manager, so I know full well that Arsene Wenger created the inflated expectations that we Arsenal fans now have, in no small measure because he timed Arsenal's run perfectly to take advantage of the increased stratification new money brought to the Premier League. (In the four years before Wenger became manager, Aston Villa, Norwich, Blackburn, Nottingham Forest and Newcastle all finished in the top four at least once; in the 18 years since Wenger became manager, the only unfamiliar teams to crack the top four before Man City bought its way in have been Newcastle [3 times], Leeds [3 times], Everton [once] and Tottenham [twice].) That knowledge and sense of debt to Wenger is what continues to bind so many of us to him, which is completely understandable. But while I'd obviously rather see Arsenal thump Villa 3-0 than not, I don't think I should have to apologise for feeling bemused about certain ways in which the club is being run, particularly when some of the errors being made are so blindingly obvious that no competent Football Manager player would make them.
 

mikeford

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He plays in reserves matches occasionally so he's at least sort've alive.
 
 
Decent match, really felt like it could go sideways early on. Woj with a huge save on a Villa header seemed to turn the tide in our favor and once you hit a team with a 3 goal combo in 3 minutes, that should be all she wrote.
 
Nice to see Welé get on the score sheet even if he didnt have to do much to get that goal. Impressed by his workrate none the less.
 
Remarkable what can happen when you play your best player in his natural position though.
 

sachmoney

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https://twitter.com/attacktheball/status/513805183361757184
 
Not to draw the comparison, but Henry said when he first came to Arsenal and was moved back from the wing to center forward, he had to re-establish that instinct. That mentality to score. I think that WELBZ can similarly develop that instinct again. Though, obviously, not putting the expectation of becoming Thierry Henry on him.
 

lars10

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It's odd to me that Wenger could see that Welbeck should be in the middle, but doesn't put Ozil in the middle where he seems to play all the time for Germany.  Was it pure coincidence that Ozil scored and had an assist while Wilshire was out?  Honest question.  When I watch Ozil play recently I see a player that is either lazy (which I don't think is the case) or just has no idea how to position himself because he's being played out of position, also not seeing enough of the ball, deferring instead to Ramsey and Wilshire.  It seems like one of those blindspots Wenger has.
 

sachmoney

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sachmoney said:
At the start of the second half, Wilshere seemed to be the choice to take off with him dribbling into pressure every single time, but I thought he willed us forward from the 60th on. Ramsey looked like he was gassed for most of the second half, but still produced a great ball to Jack on the first goal. Overall, I wouldn't mind seeing him get a game of rest somewhere, having Jack play his role and Ozil slotted back in the middle WHERE HE BELONGS. Felt that we could've used Chamberlain earlier, but it was kind of hard to pick a player to take off. I guess if you're going to play Ozil out wide, you might take him off, but if you're also going to try to walk it in, you might want the guy who can play that final ball. Sanchez had his strongest game. He looked a lot more involved and had much better link up today.
mikeford said:
Either play Özil at 10 or don't play him.
ConigliarosPotential said:
What's the point in putting a player like Ozil on the flank? He ought to be the effing fulcrum of any team he plays in, not Arshavin v2 - that's what we bought him for. If he's going to play out wide or some other mystical free role that keeps sapping his confidence like this, we might as well have sold him and bought Fabregas.
lars10 said:
It's odd to me that Wenger could see that Welbeck should be in the middle, but doesn't put Ozil in the middle where he seems to play all the time for Germany. Was it pure coincidence that Ozil scored and had an assist while Wilshire was out? Honest question. When I watch Ozil play recently I see a player that is either lazy (which I don't think is the case) or just has no idea how to position himself because he's being played out of position, also not seeing enough of the ball, deferring instead to Ramsey and Wilshire. It seems like one of those blindspots Wenger has.
Yeah, it's odd when it's quite evident to most others that Özil is much more engaged in the middle. Much more influential.
 

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sachmoney said:
Swiss Ramble on Arsenal financials btw. Haven't had a chance to read them.
 
A few snippets:
 
Enough of the profit and loss account, the main financial topic on the lips of Arsenal fans these days is that huge cash balance. Guess what? It’s gone up again, rising another £55 million in the last 12 months from £153 million to £208 million.  

[...] 


Of course, this figure is a bit misleading and not all of this cash balance is available to spend on transfers. In fact, this is so important that I’m going to say it again: not all of the £208 million cash is a transfer fund.

[...]


This is due to many factors, including the fact that most season ticket renewals are paid in April and May, so Arsenal’s cash balance will always be at its highest when its annual accounts are prepared, namely 31 May.
 
In addition, there’s that annoying debt service reserve, which has been around since the 2006 bond agreements, though it does raise the question of whether these arrangements could be renegotiated given Arsenal’s strong financial record, thus freeing up this £35 million.

[...]


The club also has to pay a good proportion of its annual running expenses out of this cash, though other money will flow into the club during the course of the season 

[...]

However, there are a couple of reasons why we still need to be cautious with the cash figure. First, the club clearly stated that the cash impact of the £64 million invested in new players during the accounts period has been partially offset by the credit terms agreed with the vendor clubs. In other words, Arsenal have not paid all the cash upfront, but (sensibly) agreed stage payments, so part of the cash balance has to be reserved to pay sums due on those transfers.  

[...]

 
Similarly, as these accounts were closed on 31 May, that means that they do not take into consideration this summer’s transfer activity, so another £50-60 million should be deducted from the reported cash balance.
 

 
In short, without knowing all of the internal details, it’s a mug’s game trying to predict how much Arsenal genuinely have available to spend. It’s clearly not as much the £200 million in the books, but we can say with some conviction that there would be enough available in the January transfer window to cover the glaring weaknesses in the squad, let’s say £40-50 million.
 
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Luis Taint said:
Any idea where to find a legit stream of tommorows game?
 
What do you mean by "legit"?  If you're willing to use common internet streams, try here: http://www.wiziwig.tv/broadcast.php?matchid=281213&part=sports
 
Wenger has more or less confirmed that Diaby will be in the squad tomorrow.  I'm expecting something like this:
 
----------------Ospina------------------
Bellerin--Hayden--Chambers---Gibbs
---------Coquelin------Diaby------------
Rosicky-------Cazorla--------Podolski
----------------Campbell----------------
 
And I think we're probably going to lose to a full strength Southampton team.  That sucks but we need to rotate and if we crash out of the League Cup early this year, I'm not going to get too upset, especially given our poor depth in defense.
 

mikeford

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League Cup is usually a great way to get some young bucks a run so crashing out THIS early would bum me out just based on that. 
 
Hope Zelalem (nah nah nanana) gets some burn tomorrow. Probably go to the pub tomorrow for the match cuz I hate my job.
 

Luis Taint

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I don't think anyone would be devastated if they get out of this cup. I would much rather they focus on the Champions League. Premiere and FA CUP, in that order.
 

lars10

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sachmoney said:
Yeah, it's odd when it's quite evident to most others that Özil is much more engaged in the middle. Much more influential.
Yeah..thought others had made similar points around here.  That's my problem with Wenger.  You buy a player who is a great passer and dribbler and should be the best or one of the best players on your team…and then you put him out wide instead of in the middle at attacking mid?  Is it because he doesn't play particularly inspired defense and Wenger thinks that Ramsey and Wilshire are better options to control the middle on both sides of the ball?  Just wondering what a good reason would be.
 

blueguitar322

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I think there's an element where part of Wenger's ego is tied up in Wilshere's success.  Like most big clubs, Arsenal usually buys young talent in their mid/late teens, with Arsene putting his own style and spin on the final stages of their development.  But they come to Arsenal as strong players already.  Wilshere is different - he is the true homegrown player, played for Arsenal and their academies since the age of 9, never been with a different club except one loan spell.  He also has all the tools to succeed at Wengerball - strong technique, excellent engine, etc.  One of the ways that Wenger tries to differentiate himself from e.g. Mourinho is in player development, and forming Wilshere into the cornerstone of both Arsenal and England (provided both sides were successful) would be the ultimate vindication of his abilities.
 
I think you can see some of Wenger's ego when he answered a question about the correlation of success between Barca and Spain and Bayern and Germany by proposing the same thing could happen at Arsenal and England.  There certainly has been a strong focus on English players at the club compared to 10-15 years ago. 
 
All that to say, if Wilshere was foreign, not homegrown, and not as young, I don't know if Wenger would have tried to change the formation to fit him in.
 

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It's a few days old but here's an article with some good Wenger quotes on the Ozil situation.
 
 
“Zidane went to Real Madrid for £82m and he played on the left. There was never a debate and he had to play there,” Wenger argues. “Because in the middle they had Raul and Ronaldo he made room and played on the left. When you have the ball you play where you want and go where you want.
“It is a debate as old as the world. Since we played football. When you look at the Brazil team in 1970 they had Tostão, Rivelino, Pelé, Jairzinho, Gerson, Clodoaldo, They all played No10 in their clubs. They put them all together and they won the World Cup in a convincing way.
 
“What is Wilshere but basically a No10? He played his whole life at No10. Somebody had to go out there. Is it Wilshere, Özil, Ramsey? Nobody is really natural out wide. So you keep good players out or you try to get them together.”
 
I think this really gives some insight into Wenger's motivations.  He's a tactical idealist.  Instead of being content with buying strong players, fitting them together with cohesive tactics, and winning trophies, Wenger sees his mission as the recreation of the golden age of attacking soccer.  After all, why should his aspirations be any lower than the greatest attacking team of all time?  Unfortunately, soccer has evolved.  One of the hallmarks of the modern game (say, since the mid-90s) is that all of the world's best players are now highly concentrated in a handful of leagues in Europe.  In 1970, Pele & his teammates all plied their trade in Brazil.  The best players in Europe rarely, if ever, faced them outside of the World Cup games.  This allowed tactical systems to be developed and refined without the rest of the world having a chance to adapt.  One of the results of this barrier to cross-pollination was the now-broken record of European teams winning all World Cups in Europe but losing elsewhere.  Today, after a handful of games, your future opponents will be able to study film ad nauseum and adjust their tactics to match yours.
 
As much as I want to be a football romantic - e.g. it was Bergkamp's goal for the fluid 1998 Holland team that cemented my love of the game - the modern game is far more nuanced.  I don't know if there will ever be another 1970 Brazil.  For one thing, the requirements of 21st century football require just about all players to be well-rounded.  Defenders need to be able to control and pass the ball, fullbacks need to be able to attack with pace and take players on with the dribble, wingers need to be able to defend, midfielders and even forwards must track runners all the way back to their own goal lines, etc.  Many of the tenets of total football have already been widely adopted and evolved beyond their original form.
 
Wenger playing numerous #10s in the same formation is somewhat akin to a modern baseball manager playing lots of slow, defensively-poor power hitters all over the diamond.  While sometimes they'll win spectacular games with lots of home runs, the steroid era is over and the sacrifices in other areas aren't worth it.  A team full of #10s will sometimes produce goals like this one, but sometimes they play like they did at Dortmund last week.  Wenger describes his problem as either play good players out of position ("Nobody is really natural out wide") or don't play them at all, but this is a problem that he created.
 
On one point, however, Wenger is absolutely correct: Ozil really should be able to adapt to the wing better than he has.  He has all the tools.  He might see less of the ball, but the ability to find space, control the ball, make incisive passes, etc. are all needed on the wing as well.  Ozil also has more than enough pace to be able to track back and help with runners.  Ozil as a wing player, by all metrics, should still be an above-average player, yet somehow he's not.  That's on him, not Wenger.
 
blueguitar322 said:
On one point, however, Wenger is absolutely correct: Ozil really should be able to adapt to the wing better than he has.  He has all the tools.  He might see less of the ball, but the ability to find space, control the ball, make incisive passes, etc. are all needed on the wing as well.  Ozil also has more than enough pace to be able to track back and help with runners.  Ozil as a wing player, by all metrics, should still be an above-average player, yet somehow he's not.  That's on him, not Wenger.
 
When Wenger recruited/sweet-talked Ozil into coming to Arsenal, do you think he told him he'd be relegated to the wing? This isn't like moving A-Rod to 3rd because Jeter is already at SS - this is more like using Clayton Kershaw out of the bullpen.
 
Here's a thought: you want good wing play? Buy some actual wingers!
 
(I like the rest of your post, btw.)
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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The other factor is that we have been overrun in big games in midfield and Ozil has contributed to that. Wilshere isn't really a classic #10, he's an all action center midfielder. When Ozil plays in that position, he's like a second striker, playing between the lines and contributing very little to the midfield battle. It's the difference between playing a two man midfield and a three man midfield.

Ultimately, we may want Ozil there against most weaker teams and Wilshere there against strong teams that play three in the middle, especially in away fixtures.

Mourinho moved Ozil out of the middle in big games, including nearly all clasicos. Germany moved him out of the middle. It's not just a Wenger thing.
 

blueguitar322

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Sep 20, 2005
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This article is hilarious:
 
 
Ever since the failure of Francis Jeffers, Arsene Wenger hasn't really gone for players who like to get into the box. Hence this rather attacking formation that would allow all Arsenal's playmakers to shift the ball around the final third without actually breaking through. Given that Wenger hasn't sought to strengthen the defensive midfield area this summer, we can just go ahead and leave that blank.
 
ESPN won't let me hotlink the image apparently, but the formation has Arsenal players surrounding the opponent's box with none inside.
 
There's plenty of fun for other clubs, too, including Chelsea's tendency to park the bus, United's heavy left-foot reliance, Liverpool's diamond midfield, etc.
 

blueguitar322

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Arsenal: Ospina, Bellerin, Chambers, Hayden, Coquelin, Rosicky, Diaby, Wilshere, Alexis, Campbell, Podolski.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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blueguitar322 said:
Arsenal: Ospina, Bellerin, Chambers, Hayden, Coquelin, Rosicky, Diaby, Wilshere, Alexis, Campbell, Podolski.
 
I'm guessing that we see roughly this (maybe with Sanchez and Campbell switched):
 
--------Ospina----------
Bellerin--Chambers--Hayden---Coquelin
------Diaby------Wilshere------------
Alexis----Rosicky-----Podolski
----------Campbell---------
 
That backline should be interesting.  Three 19-year-olds and Coquelin playing out of position.
 
I'm pretty psyched up for the match, even though I think we're probably going to lose (Soton is playing close to a first choice starting XI).  Things I'm excited to see:
 
1) Isaac Hayden - Could he help us as a 4th choice CB this year?  How does he look when thrown into the fire against real competition?
 
2) Diaaaaaaaaaaby - It seems like he'll be playing as the deepest midfielder, which isn't his usual role but maybe its the one that he's best suited for at this point in his career.  Only a fool would count on him this year, but he remains an intriguing wild card as temporary DM help.  Wenger really rates him.
 
3) Joel Campbell - I'd love it if Campbell put on a show and made a convincing case for some minutes off the bench up front in other matches.  I don't really understand why he's so deeply buried in Wenger's doghouse.
 
4) Wilshere - Soton has a very tough midfield and this looks like a match where we'll really need our midfield to settle and play well, with such an inexperienced back line behind them.  Another test for Jack and his ability to step up as a more experienced player in a tough spot.
 
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