Thursday, 31 January 2013

Why Wenger Isn't Good Enough Anymore

I'm so disillusioned with Arsenal FC at the moment. I can't understand the football club at all these days and one of the people I'm most frustrated with is Arsene Wenger. I can't understand why he's still in a job at Arsenal quite frankly. The man's living on past glories, has not delivered success in the last 8 years, he's been selling our best players (mostly to divisional rivals), he has not addressed our problems properly in recent years and doesn't show anywhere near enough ambition in the transfer market. And for all these failures and inadequacies, he's on £7 million a year. Unbelievable.

Any man that thinks an Arsenal side in 6th place and 21 points off the top of the league can't be adequately improved is hopelessly out of touch and shouldn't be the Arsenal manager. I'm just going to simply list the other reasons why he shouldn't be in a job at Arsenal:

1. His lack of transfer activity and lack of ambition in the transfer market. That's not just this season, that's the last few seasons. If you think about the players we actually could have had and for what money,this could've been our line- up:

                             Sagna            G Cahill/ Koscielny Vermaelen    Verthongen
                             Nasri/ Cazorla        De Jong        Wilshere         Mata
                                                             Huntelaar          Van Persie
So not only have we missed out on players such as Mata, Huntelaar and De Jong but if we'd have bought these types of players and shown the right level of ambition, we'd have probably kept the likes of Van Persie and Nasri as well. Apart from Mata, none of those players cost loads of money- Mata was £24 million and chose Chelsea over Arsenal because he felt Chelsea were 'more likely to win trophies', so we had the money and were in for him, the reason he didn't join was because of our lack of ambition resulting in no success every season. Huntelaar went to Schalke for £12 million, imagined if we'd have bought him instead of them in the summer of 2010 and partnered him with Van Persie? De Jong and Cahill were £7 million each, Verthongen was £10 million, these are sums of money we've spent in recent seasons so we could have had these players. Instead we wasted it away on players not good enough for the top level like Mertesacker, Santos and Gervinho.
If you think about other players we could have had, there was the likes of Scott Parker and Rafael Van Der Vaart that we didn't even go for when they went for reasonable prices.
2. Poor judgement of players nowadays, has made very poor signings like : Santos, Silvestre, Squillaci, Gervnho, Mertesacker, Chamakh, Park and has persisted in the likes of Diaby, Djourou, Denilson, Traore, Mannone, Ramsey and Arshavin. That's a long list of errors of judgement by Wenger. Santos is a great example, he's a pathetically poor player who doesn't seem to approach games seriously enough, he just pratts around and jokes about and is a massive liability in the side, he can't defend, he does silly things on regular basis and yet Wenger doesn't coach it out of him or tell him to stop the silly errors by playing with a more serious, simple head on, he doesn't refuse to play him because he's clearly not good enough- he instead sticks with him.
3. We're STILL sloppy defensively. We've been sloppy and weak at the back now for 7, maybe 8, years. Has this problem being addressed by the man in charge who's on £7 million a year? No. We brought in Steve Bould in the summer as assistant manager and he was supposed to help sure things up at the back and it seemed to be working. 3 clean sheets in 3 games, we didn't concede many at all in the first few weeks of the season and then after the 2-1 home defeat to Chelsea, that seemed to just go out of the window. We were defending as a unit, seemed to have proper defensive tactics for once and yet that suddenly stopped. Why? I just don't get how we didn't employ someone to impliment defensive tactics into the side ages before this season considering Wenger clearly hasn't been capable and even now we have, we don't seem to be letting Bould do it. It staggers me how inept Wenger is defensively, he just doesn't seem to care about defending and has no idea how to impliment defensive tactics. What's he actually getting paid for?

Our first choice back four is actually pretty good in my opinion. We just don't have adequate enough cover and our tactics are awful defensively. The manager refuses to play with tactics that help us defend and this brings out the worst in us defensively as well as our actual defenders. Thomas Vermaelen looked the bees knees a couple of years ago in his first season, now he looks a shadow of that player, probably because the awful tactics of Wenger (or lack of tactics) have made him look inferiorto his former self. We need tactics and proper team organisation to defend but Wenger doesn't impliment either.
4. He continues with players who are clearly not good enough, and also pays them ridiculous wages.
5. We still struggle against the big teams. We've had 3 games against the big sides during this month and we've won none of them and gone 2-0 down in all three. That's not good enough. It's actually inexcuseable, no respectable top team would have that happen to them in one season, let alone 1 month. It's very poor, especially baring in mind 2 were a home and we only got 1 point out of 9.
6. Temporary problems. Lately we've struggled to get going in every game, every first half we do next to nothing and often go a goal or 2 goals behind before we start playing. It's pretty poor and it's another problem the manager doesn't seem to be addressing. When you think about it, we've been a bit like that on and off for a few seasons, struggling to get going until the second half when playing against 'lesser' sides mainly.
Overall, it's conclusive evidence that the club needs a change in direction, which means a change of manager- someone who will address our problems and who will show the required ambition in the transfer window. It's the same shit every season and those problems need to be properly addressed and solved.
My suggestions of replacements would be Dennis Bergkamp, Patrick Vieira and even though it's a long shot, Jose Mourinho.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Time On Our Hands

No this isn't a review of the highly entertaining and amusing Only Fools and Horses episode, it is an article about how Arsenal, despite their troubles and inadequacies at the moment, have time on their sides.

Yes Arsenal are 7 points off the top four and lie in 6th place, dangerously hovering above Liverpool and West Brom on goal difference but we do have a game in hand on our rivals and 4 months left of the season to put things right and finish in the Champions League places. What's more is that we've also got the FA Cup to win. So whilst the club is under- achieving, showing signs of decline and on poor form, there is still hope of a reasonably successful season if they buck up.

We have three home games now against West Ham, Liverpool and Stoke. All games we should be winning and if we get 9 points out of 9 there then we're back on track, in the league at least, and ready to go on and really challenge convincingly for 4th place. I think Chelsea are now unfortunately realistically out of reach for us. 11 points for an inconsistent team is a bit too much of an ask.

What we also have going for us is that we have an easier run in of fixtures to our rivals. We've got Man City and Chelsea completely out of the way with now and we've also already been to Man Utd, Everton, Liverpool and Stoke so the only really tough games we have now are Man Utd at home, Tottenham away and Everton at home.

Whereas Tottenham and Everton have got harder fixtures. Tottenham still have to go to Liverpool and Stoke and play Man City at home as well as go to Chelsea and play us and Everton at home. Everton still have most of the top teams away from home; Man Utd, Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham and Liverpool as well as Man City at home. Liverpool have to go to Man City and Arsenal and play Chelsea, Tottenham and Everton at home.

So overall, out of the teams chasing 4th spot, we have the easiest fixtures, but we do have a points deficit. We need to take advantage of those better fixtures and, for the first time this season, be consistent and collect the number of points we should and truly give 100% to win the FA Cup to end our barren run of not winning trophies to instill more belief, confidence, optimism and joy around the club, as well as making us a more attractive team to other players. Not to mention taking the pressure off as well.

We still have around 4 months to put things right and are still in with a chance of a trophy. We're still in the Champions League and should try to do as best as we can in that, see if we can at least get to the Quarter finals and that would help our confidence and momentum in the league. Imagine what knocking Bayern Munich out of the Champions League would do for the team's confidence and belief.

We still have time, and we must use it.

(Image source:

More proof of Wenger's ineptness

Today Arsenal were woeful for 45 minutes against Chelsea. You can't afford to be like that against the top teams. We were decent, but no better than decent in the second half and yet again against Chelsea we were not tactically perepared, organised or determined enough.

Last year we won 5-3 at Chelsea, but apart from that every year we go to Chelsea we get outsmarted and Chelsea take advanatge of our embarassing naivety and lack of tactics and usually go 2-0 up early on and protect the lead. We're just way to easy to play against for the top teams. The players were generally poor and I'll get to them soon but the main person who needs to take the blame in Arsene Wenger.

I've said it so many times over the last 18 months that I'm getting sick of saying it, but he is tactically inept and doesn't prepare for a lot of games anywhere near well enough. Today it looked like we'd just turned up and not prepared at all for this game, no tactics, no sense of importance on the game, we played the first half like it was a nothing game when in actual fact it was a massive game.

It was a huge game where we had to be determined, cautious, tactically astute and aggressive. Yet we were timid, tactically non- existent, clumsy, dozy and naive. It was so easy for Chelsea to get at us and play against us in the first half it was embarassing. We were pushing both full back forward at the same time away from home at 0-0 and 1-0 down against Chelsea early on and pushing way too many players forward overall. We were also not protecting the back four well enough and our wingers weren't tracking back enough. It's frankly schoolboy stuff and Wenger and the players should know better and this shouldn't be happening at all, it's actually awful, especially by the manager.

It was a game where we needed at least a point and you wouldn't be able to tell that looking at the players, many of whom played with such little desire and commitment. The lack of care from the players, the naive and lack of tactics and preparation from the manager just make me so angry about Arsenal.

The transfer business is as always a big factor in Wenger's lack of ability to manage Arsenal and that was evident today. It's the 20th January and we STILL haven't signed anyone with the vast amount of money we apparently have. We've had two massive games against top sides in that period, all the more reason to get business done early. Our bench today was woeful, as soon as we've got 3 or 4 players out, our bench looks very poor.

Mannone, Jenkinson, Koscielny, Santos, Ramsey, Arshavin and Frimpong. That was our bench today. That's not good enough. We've bought extremely poorly over recent seasons and it was evident today. So little amount of quality players who can make a difference. And to think we could have had the likes of Gary Cahill, Ba, Huntelaar, Van Der Vaart and De Jong if we'd have had any high ambitions in recent seasons. (As well as keeping the likes of Van Persie.)

The fact is that any other top club would have got rid of Wenger by now and at Arsenal he's not even under pressure. It'd ridiculous, it appears he can get away with anything- lack of success, lack of ambitious signings, selling our best players to rivals, not solving the persitent injury problems at the club, being tactically inept. It's time for him to go and it's time for Arsenal to start showing some ambition and desire to be at the top again.

It's got the point now where we're competing with Tottenham and Everton with the likes of West Brom and Swansea not too far behind. That's terrible. We should be up there contending with the top 3 now with our current resources.

What we have got going for us is that we haven't got many big fixtures left now and that our fourth place competing rivals have got tougher fixtures overall left to play. The next 3 games, which are all at home, are massive, we need 9 points out of 9 there. Even if we pull it off and finish 4th it still won't be good enough for this club and change will still be needed big time.

(Image source:

Friday, 18 January 2013

Public shower etiquette

OK, last night I played my weekly game of 5 a- side football in Halifax. This week however, we were relocated from The Shay to Northbridge Leisure Centre due to pitch resurfacing. This meant we had to get changed and washed in much busier changing rooms. When we play down the Shay it's just a few of us in the showers afterwards, but at the leisure centre there's loads of strangers there as well and it's just wall to wall unwanted nakedness.

I find the experience of being naked in front of other blokes horrible. I'm not ashamed of my body in any way, but I just don't want strange blokes looking at my privates. And you can see some do! Why? I don't want to look at yours, why do you want to look at mine?

And they just wander around the changing rooms with their dong out, so care free, flaunting it around. As soon as I'm out of the shower I'm getting into my boxers as soon as is humanly possible. Yet a lot of other blokes are determined to do the opposite. I don't know how many readers have seen Michael McIntyre's 'Hello Wembley' tour DVD where he does a skit about this very thing, but I agree with everything he says about it. Some blokes will just keep their willies out for as long as possible, they're not afraid to come up and talk to you with it out, they'll happily face you in the showers and wash it.

It's awkward, unpleasant to look at and very discomforting. As soon as I'm naked I get my towel wrapped around me straight away. No messing, even if it's the wrong towel and I've accidentally grabbed someone else's! Yet others just leave their towel out of the way and strut around with it all hanging out.

Last night I wrapped my towel around my waist as I approached the showers and noticed there weren't hooks to hang them on like there are at the Shay changing rooms so had to walk back to my changing space and put my towel down and walk completely naked to the showers, a 10 feet walk away that felt like a 100 feet. It actually felt like walking the plank. I felt like there were 15 sets of eyes staring at me as I awkwardly meandered towards the showers.

I then showered and halfway through my wash some old bloke came and started using the shower opposite me, which was about 1 yard away from me. So there I was minding my own business washing myself and then turned around to see a saggy old bare arse. Not what I wanted to see.

Oh, it's disgusting. I am not a fan of men's changing rooms etiquette at all! What do you think? Are you an advocate of showing your privates off in the changing rooms, because I'm not.