Sunday, 16 December 2012

Losing Walcott would be a disaster

In my opinion, it is clear that Arsenal letting Theo Walcott go would be disastrous for the club. He's one our best players at the moment and is clearly improving, he's still young and you may say 'well if we give him more money then loads of other players will want more money' but it wouldn't be as simple as that.

For one, most Arsenal players are on big wages and, supposedly, Podolski is on £100,000 a week so why isn't that a problem already if what you suggest is true about giving Walcott an improved contract causing problems in the squad with other players?

Plus, I don't think Walcott is seeking a massive contract, he claims it's not about money. I expect it is to some extent, but I think it's a case of giving him an extra £10,000 or £20,000 a week, so it's hardly a massive increase that's hardly going to cause uproar.

If we offer Walcott a new deal worth £100,000 a week or something, then a few players might feel deserving of a new deal but I don't see that as being a big problem. It must surely be a problem already when you think about what players like Djourou, Chamakh, Arshavin and co. are on already. A bigger problem would be losing another one of our best players.

The priority must be to keep your best players. Otherwise what's the point? We're not going to move forward if we don't move with the times and keep our best players by offering them bigger wages than we might have done 10 or 15 years ago. If we don't keep our best players then we're just going to keep moving backwards like we are at the moment.

It sends out the wrong message to our other players- if we sell Walcott, do you think the likes of Cazorla, Szczesny, Vermaelen, Wilshere and Sagna are going to be happy and want to stay? They're going to be disillusioned, they're going to think 'oh no, another one of our best players leaving again, maybe I should join a club that has genuine ambitions to win things and doesn't sell it's best players'. It sends out the wrong message to us fans, it would only increase the feeling of doom and gloom around the club, it sends out the wrong message to players from other clubs, we'll be a lot less attractive if we keep selling our top players, even players like Raheem Sterling probably wouldn't want to join us. Who wants to join a club that sells it's best players season in, season out and doesn't win anything?

Not only that, losing Walcott would deplete our chances of finishing in the top four this season and can you really expect Arsenal to challenge for the major trophies over the next few years as we keep selling our best players? The more it happens, the harder it is to stop it from continuing. It started with Nasri, Fabregas and Clichy and it's progressed to Van Persie, Song and possibly now Walcott. Who next? Cazorla? Vermaelen? Sagna?

So to sum up, selling Walcott would decrease our chances of finishing in the top four, progressing in the Champions League this season, challenging for trophies in the near future at least and would put in jeopardy our chances of attracting good players to the club and keeping our other better players. We don't want to be a selling club, we want to be a club that keeps it's best players and challenges for trophies, not bragging about a healthy bank balance as we drift further and further away from success and trophies.

How anyone can suggest Arsenal letting Walcott go is not a big deal is beyond me. It would be catastrophic. It's also even more evidence of poor management by Wenger and the board as we have let another player get down to the last year of his contract. Do you ever wonder why Arsenal do this and the likes of Man Utd, Man City, Chelsea, Tottenham and Everton never do?

Giving Walcott a little extra cash is a small price to pay for stopping this team declining even more and giving us at least a decent chance of making the top four this season. I'd rather lose a bit more money on contracts to our best players than losing a lot more money on not qualifying for the Champions League, and Theo Walcott could have a big say in that.

If Walcott goes:

  • We lose another one of our best players
  • It will probably cause discontent in the squad- players unhappy at another top player leaving the club
  • We'll become a less attractive team for others players to join
  • We'll have slimmer chances of finishing in the top four (this season and/ or next)
  • It spreads more gloom around the club and the fans
  • It increases the chances of our other better players leaving us in the near future
That is why it would be a disaster and why Arsenal cann't even contemplate losing him. They have no excuse this time.

(Image source: Accessed 16th December 2012)

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Bradford was the nail in the coffin

It seems more and more people are believing that Arsene Wenger's time has run out. And I agree. He's run his course, he has been taking the club backwards now for a few years and the club has the same problems as well as other problems that are multiplying fast. The players may change but it's still the same problems and faults and I put that down to bad management.

The man has taken the decisions to constantly sell our best players every season now for a few years. If you list the players that have gone compared to the ones that have come in, it's no wonder we're declining. Fabregas, Flamini, Song, Cole, Nasri, Hleb, Van Persie, Gallas and Clichy out. Arteta, Gervinho, Chamakh, Santos, Ramsey, Squillaci, Silvestre and Park in. OK, we've made some good signings as well: Cazorla, Koscileny, Mertesacker, Vermaelen and Chamberlain being most of them but it's not enough. You can't sell your best players and expect to move forward. Plus, we're often selling them to divisional rivals like Man City, Man Utd and Chelsea, thus improving our rivals while depleting ourselves.

It's bad management. I understand how big and influential player power is nowadays but why are those players wanting to leave in the first place? Lack of ambition, lack of proper, established quality signings and proper drive for trophies and success. Van Persie left because of lack of ambition from the club, Nasri left because he felt he was more likely to win trophies elsewhere, Gallas left for money, Hleb left for trophies, Flamini did.

It just shows that we have spent our money poorly. The club may bang on about limited resources and not having as much money as Chelsea and Man City etc, but if that's the case, why are we wasting a big slice of our money paying big wages to the likes of Diaby, Chamakh, Bendtner, Djourou and co.? Instead of paying poor players like that 60k a week, we should have been prioritising spending that money on our best players' wages and on new signings that are seriously going to help our trophy push.

For years we were two signings away from being genuine title contenders and we always refused to go that extra yard and sign proper, established players for the present but instead we spent the whole summer persuading the likes of Ramsey and Chamakh to come to us and buying for the future- youngsters that we could develop so that they can go on to sign for clubs with genuine trophy winning aspirations. The club have always said we've had money to spend and they pay ridiculous wages to squad players (who have clearly not been good enough for some time) so we have had the money.

In the summer of 2009, we sold Kolo Toure and Emmannuel Adebayor for £40 million. Where did that money go? Did it go towards signing top quality players and showing the kind of ambition we should and need to be doing to challenge for trophies? We spent £10 million on Thomas Vermaelen, which was a great signing, but we didn't sign anybody else, we still stayed in the same position of being 2 or 3 players away from being able to win the league. We didn't replace Adebayor and lacked fire power the following season. When Van Persie got injured, we were stuffed. We had to play Arshavin or Bendtner up front. I still believe that if Van Persie had stayed fit or if Adebayor had been properly replaced and we'd signed a centre half, we'd have won the league in the 09/10 season. But no, we stayed being 2 players away.

Also, one of Wenger's strengths was always his judgement of player quality, I used to trust his signings even when I'd never heard of them. But now we can see that he's lost that to a large extent. He's persisted in the likes of Djourou, an injury- prone Diaby, Chamakh, Squillaci, Chamakh and Almunia and rewarded them for their mid- table level ability with bumper contracts worth 50, 60, 70k a week. It's laughable. Why wasn't that money spent on making sure our better players stayed and on buying new players that had quality and showed our ambition for titles? There have been tonnes of players that we could have got (or at least gone for) over the last few years that we haven't- Mata, Parker, Huntelaar, David Villa possibly even (when he was at Valencia), Gary Cahill, Llorente, Jose Enrique, Berbatov, Van Der Vaart, Schwarzer, the list goes on and on.

But no, we've gone for poor players like Ramsey, Gervinho and even players that are decent but not really good enough, like Arteta. Arteta's been decent for us but is that enough? We shouldn't have been buying him on deadline day in a panic after an 8-2 embarassment at Man Utd, we should have been getting a better quality player earlier in the summer, or better yet, replacing Patrick Vieira properly with a strong, defensive midfielder years ago. We still lack that. We briefly had it in Flamini in my opinion, but let him slip through our fingers when he was looking top class.

I like Olivier Giroud as a player, he's quite good, but he's not good enough to replace Van Persie and fill the centre forward void all on his own. We need a quality striker like Llorente or Huntelaar to replace him and I believe we've had opportunities to do that, not just after Van Persie left, but while he was still here, why weren't we buying this calibre of centre forward then? We shouldn't be in a position where we're worrying about replacing Van Persie, we should have added to him while he was here. Someone like Huntelaar with Van Persie would have made us such a force a couple of years ago, even more so if we'd have been able to get the likes of Van Der Vaart and a better centre half as well.

Even now, Theo Walcott looks like he's going to add to our woes and leave us, probably for a Premier League rival, and why? Because we won't play him at centre forward and because we won't give him the wages he wants. Again, instead of spending 50k a week on Djourou, why don't we spend an extra 10k or so a week on Walcott so we avoid losing another one of our best players? And Wenger has given Gervinho, a winger who can't finish or play up front well to save his life, loads of chances up front this season, and given Walcott next to no chances there. He actually played up front against Tottenham for 5 minutes a few weeks ago, and scored. Why hasn't he given those chances up front to Walcott instead, a centre forward who has a good finish on him and is more natural to that position? Also baring in mind that his staying at Arsenal is largely dependant on getting chances to play up front as well. It's just pathetic, clueless management.

It's just so evident that Wenger needs to go. We need a forward thinking manager who has a strong desire for trophies and winning, who also has the ability to judge what's makes a good player at the top levels and one that doesn't spend ridiculous wages on poor squad players. And above all, one with true ambition so we won't always be short year after year and lose our best players every season. This rapid and embarassing decline has to stop. Enough is enough.

(Image source: 12 December 2012)

Friday, 7 December 2012

Everton v Tottenham Preview

I'm looking forward to this one. Firstly, it's usually a very good game and one of the best we see at Goodison every season. Secondly, it's a massive game really; two teams challenging for the top four, two attacking teams that have genuine chances of finishing in the top four and whoever the winner is here will be above the loser come Sunday evening and have an advantage and extra bit of momentum for the next lap of the race for fourth.

Everton could win, Tottenham could win, it could be a draw. I know that's stating the obvious but it's one of those games you can genuinely see going either way quite easily. Nobody would be shocked if either team won and it's a very enticing, exciting looking game.

There's a lot of attacking talent on either side; Fellaini, Pienaar, Jelavic, Baines and Osman vs Defoe, Adebayor, Lennon, Dempsey and Dembele. Not bad.

I think Everton will sneak it personally. I think they're more solid defensively and with the home advantage there as well, I think that'll be enough to see them record a 3-2 victory. Both teams are about equal in terms of threat going forward, but Everton are just that bit better at the back in my opinion. Tottenham have won 3 on the trot, but before that had lost 3 on the trot as well, Everton have only won 1 in 9 but hardly ever lose and are due a win I think.

Also, they like these big games more than most and are better at them than most other teams. They're often dangerous going forward but very tight and compact at the back when playing the other top sides. This year they've beaten Man City and Man Utd both 1-0, they've beaten Chelsea 2-0 and Tottenham 1-0. So I think Everton are the favourites and Tottenham are in for a slightly rougher ride than Everton are.

Everton will know this is a big game and that they have to be careful in defence against Tottenham's attacking weapons and that usually means they grab a win. So I'm going for Everton to grab a 3-2 win. 1-1 at half- time, Baines with the winner from the penalty spot.

(Image source:

Saturday, 1 December 2012

More evidence change is needed

Arsenal are a laughing stock at the moment. It may sound simplified, but Arsene Wenger doesn't know what he's doing. His team selections and substitutions are baffling, his lack of tactics and game plans are laughable, his transfer business continues to be disastrous and his stubborn behaviour is like a child not getting their own way.

He needs to go. If he was at any other club except perhaps Everton he'd at least be under serious pressure at the moment, but I bet he isn't because we've got a board and a chief executive that don't seem to give a flying rat's arse how the team gets on on the pitch, as long as they're making plenty of bunse off the pitch.

It's disrespectful to fans, especially fans that pay to go and watch Arsenal. The club charge ridiculous prices because they know Arsenal will pack the ground and away allocations. Arsenal fans travel in their droves everywhere and the club are taking advantage of that by charging ridiculous amounts of money for it and not showing any serious determination to improve things on the pitch, and instead are just constantly rambling on about their healthy financial position. Well screw great finances, I want my team to win and give me a happy Saturday evening. Isn't that what's important in football?

I'm not saying spend loads of money we don't have, but we do have a fair bit and the club aren't spending it like any ambitious club would. I'm fed up of this same rubbish every week. We've won 1 in 6 and I'm sick of our rubbish form this season. Last season and in other previous seasons we've had bad patches but at least we've still had good patches and played good football. But we're not even doing that anymore. Today it sounds like we were passed off the pitch by a mid table team on our own patch and beaten 2-0. We created few chances, as has been the case often this season and it's not bloody good enough. It's ridiculous, Arsenal have always had 'beautiful football' despite lack of trophies, but we don't even have that anymore, we don't even play nice passing football anymore. What the fuck do we do then?

What is Arsene Wenger doing that means he's immune from pressure? What is he actually doing? What is he actually improving? We're STILL not title contenders, we're still not winning trophies, we're still losing our best players and looking like losing more in the near future, we're 10th in the league at the start of December and we don't even play good, attacking football any more. We look average most of the time and it's frankly ridiculous.

Any ambitious club would be looking to sort this out quickly. Wenger is having a nightmare and doesn't deserve to be this club's manager at the moment because he's simply not doing his job to the required standard nor delivering positive results. In any other job that means you either lose it or are under serious pressure of losing it unless you turn things around quickly. But no, we'll just count our pennies and brag about stable finances while us fans take all the gloating and piss taking from other fans about winning fuck all and eclining like a sinking ship, as well as taking all the pain and not being able to do anything about it.

I mean for goodness sake, today he put our best striker on the bench for God knows what reason and put a below par winger who doesn't appear to know how to play football at times up front. It's ridiculous. He just hasn't got a clue, his heads gone. Play Giroud and if you're not going to play him, play Walcott there, or even Podolski. Why didn't Walcott play there when he's been banging in goals lately and his staying at Arsenal is largely dependant on being given opportunities up front. It's laughable, stubborn and thick from our sadly declining manager. He also continues to often play Aaron bleeding Ramsey on the wing. I was at Everton v Arsenal on Wednesday and he was by far the worst player on the pitch, constantly giving the ball away (including in the build up to their goal) and looking off the pace. He isn't good enough for Arsenal in his preferred position, let alone on the wing. He ain't a winger at all, and he's not Andres Iniesta, (who can play there despite being a centre midfielder) but Wenger seems to think he IS Arsenal's Iniesta.

Everton are better than us. Tottenham are better than us. But that's only because of our tactically inept, past it manager and ambitiousless board. I think we've got a better squad than Everton and Tottenham and if we had a better manager we'd be above them in the league table and would finish above them this season.

It's not too late to sort it out and change things, we're only 5 points off Tottenham and Chelsea, 3 points off Everton. We can turn things around, but we're just going to continue to decline under this clueless, sadly fading manager who's past his time.

Image source: