Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Out of Order

I'm infuriated by Arsene Wenger's comments regarding Aaron Ramsey. In the first half of last season, Ramsey was on poor form, mainly due to playing out wide. And who was the one deciding to play him out wide and out of position? Oh yeah, Arsene Wenger.

It's not like he was short of options. He consistently left Theo Walcott on the bench due to him not having signed a new contract yet (although he at the time said that wasn't the reason... so what was then? If it wasn't the reason, all the more reason to play Walcott ahead of Ramsey on the wing). This is as well ignoring his refusal to spend more available money in last summer's transfer window to improve the squad so things like this didn't happen.

So Ramsey continued to play poorly out wide, understandably. He gave the ball away frequently and didn't really make any significant contribution in that position. So naturally, frustrated fans were groaning quite a lot when he gave the ball away. Yes, groaning. Not booing him or signing derogatory songs about Ramsey, like with any other player or like how any other set of fans would react to poor performances from players, the fans were naturally frustrated and groaned, especially in games we were losing.

That's not "getting on Ramsey's back", that's being naturally and understandably frustrated with inept performances and actions on the pitch. The person really at fault for Ramsey's poor form was the man blaming the fans for it, Arsene Wenger. He played him out wide when he had other options (Walcott, Cazorla) at the time. It was terrible judgement to play him there, and especially to play him there so often, and he has the cheek to blame the paying fans (who are largely responsible for him getting the ridiculous wage of £7 million a year) for Ramsey's poor form and low confidence.

It's staggering and yet some moronic fans are actually defending him for these comments. He's not right at all, but even if he was right, he shouldn't be criticizing loyal, paying supporters who happened to be paying the most expensive ticket prices in the country to see such drivel. Fans being naturally frustrated at poor performances are not out of order, the man getting paid £7m a year to make these decisions is the one to blame. Him playing Ramsey out of position was the reason for Ramsey's slump in form and confidence, not the fans, who were basically innocent bystanders to this terrible management.

(Image source:

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

“The only people at Arsenal who overspend are the supporters”

A quote used very appropriately by Jamie Carragher on Monday Night Football, which describes accurately the ridiculous situation at Arsenal. The fans pay the most expensive ticket prices in the country, remain loyal and supportive to the club and turn out in vast numbers ever week home and away. Yet the club is spending no money on new players and is atrociously unprepared for the new season, and it has already cost us 3 points.

For the ticket prices supporters are paying, they should be seeing an ambitious team containing brilliant players and playing brilliant football. Yet with around £150m sitting in the bank, £70m or so of it available for transfer fees, the fans attended the shambolic opening day defeat to Aston Villa to see no new signings and a lacklustre display riddled with an embarrassing lack of tactics, ideas, organisation or preparation for the game. The club is sending the message at the moment that it doesn’t really care about on-pitch success, as long as their pockets are being lined with plenty of cash.

The supporters deserve better. The club need to either seriously and significantly reduce the ticket prices or buy some great players and conduct themselves with ambition as they keep saying they will. It’s ridiculous that Wenger won’t spend a penny over what he deems is the value of the player. But, as Gary Neville says, the game has changed and to get the best players and move forward, you have to swim with the sharks and overspend a bit at times. Especially at this time of the window as well when clubs are even more desperate to hold on to players due to a limited amount of time to find a replacement. Offering derisory fees for players with 2 weeks left of the transfer window isn’t what I call giving the fans value for money.

We need to overspend a bit sometimes in order to achieve in the current climate of football. We’d have had Higuain now if it wasn’t for Arsene Wenger’s ridiculous cheapness and reluctance to pay an extra few million pounds for the striker. We should have activated Fellaini’s release clause of £23m when we could. £23m isn’t much cost at all to buy us the player we’ve been screaming out for for years now, not in the current transfer market. If not him, we could have had Luiz Gustavo for £17m if we hadn’t dithered and had actually shown ambition by signing this much needed type of player.

We very much need a goalkeeper and Julio Cesar is available for around £2m and we haven’t got him. That’s surely a no brainer for that fee for such a quality, experienced goalkeeper. If not him, there’s Asmir Begovic at Stoke. Simon Mignolet went to Liverpool for £9m. There are so many obvious targets out there that would improve our side and help us progress and possibly win trophies. And after all, isn’t that what the club is supposed to at least seriously attempt to achieve primarily? There are so many players out there who would improve us and yet our manager has the audacity to say there are NO players out there who are good enough for Arsenal.  You can list the players that are and have been out there this summer off the top of your head now:

·         Fellaini

·         Gustavo

·         Rooney

·         Higuain

·         Mignolet

·         Begovic

·         Cesar

·         Ashley Williams

·         Soldado

·         Paulinho

·         Capoue

·         Willian

·         Sakho

·         Schurrle

·         Argubly Suarez

And this is coming from the man who panic bought the likes of Andre Santos and Park Chu Young, thinking they were appropriate signings for Arsenal two years ago. Surely he doesn’t really think there are no players out there good enough for Arsenal. How many of the above players would get into our side? A lot. If he does believe that, he’s quite simply not doing his job at all and is seriously inadequate for the occupation he’s getting paid £7 million a year for.

It’s ridiculous to see Arsenal being so unambitious and conducting themselves like this in the transfer market. The supporters deserve better. They overspend through loyalty to the club and it’s about time the club showed some ambition to succeed on the pitch, rather than just filling their pockets off it, by overspending themselves when they have to. We have £70m to significantly improve the squad and so far we’ve done nothing significant about it. It’s shambolic. Sometimes you have to overspend to succeed, Arsenal need to realize that.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

A Shambolic Summer

Arsene Wenger has to take a large part of the blame for Arsenal's shambolic summer in the transfer market. Ivan Gazidis and the rest of the board have to take a huge share as well but I'm going to concentrate mainly on Wenger's contribution, otherwise I'll be here all day.

The man has had 3 months to find players and buy them. And to do this he has had around £80m to do so and a huge amount of wage money freed up. The club have had no excuse not to buy players. Wenger keeps coming out with comments like saying there are a shortage of quality players out there and saying they're looking but can't find anyone with the quality to play for Arsenal etc etc. It's complete rubbish, there are obviously quality players out there who have been available this summer. The fact that our rivals have gone out and bought a variety of them is evidence of that.

This week we lost out on Luiz Gustavo, a player who has just won the Champions League, Bundesliga and Confederations Cup with Bayern Munich and Brazil and is a strong, experienced, quality defensive midfielder who is energetic, battles well and breaks up play effectively. That's just the sort of player we've been crying out for years and we just let him go somewhere else when we could have had for a small fraction of our available money.

Then there was Marouane Fellaini, an equally brilliant and accessible option for Arsenal, he had a release clause of £23 million but did we snap him up? No, we dithered and cheap-skated out. Either that or we didn't even have the intelligence to recognize he was a player that would have been at least a good signing for us.

Gonzalo Higuain was available but Wenger and the club were so tight and unwilling to pay a penny over the asking price that we lost out on him. Luis Suarez and Wayne Rooney are want away players but we haven't really seriously gone for them. We've bid twice for Suarez but not bid enough and not gone back in for him for the last 3 weeks or so. Then there's the likes of Neymar and Falcao out there. I'm not saying they'd come to Arsenal necessarily but the point is there are "top top top quality players" out there.

There's Lars Bender, Bernard, Jovetic, Paulinho, Soldado, Schurrle, Capoue and Benteke. All players who would improve Arsenal so Wenger coming out and saying there are no players to buy is laughable. Especially for a manager renowned over the years for being able to find players from nowhere and turn them into stars, someone who has had a wide scouting network and he's telling us he can't find players and even saying other clubs are having the same problems. All of the clubs around us have found players to improve and we haven't. We're the only ones who haven't found the players. It's unacceptable.

It's the broken promises and the missed opportunity that gets me most. We have the chance to really kick on this summer, we've got this huge financial firepower and been told we're going to spend big and ambitiously this summer by Gazidis and then come the opening day the only player we've signed is a 20 year old French striker from Ligue 2 on a free. It's like we've been given a Porsche and are refusing to drive it, we're sticking with our cheap Mini Cooper.

Not only that but it's been an opportunity to capitalize on big managerial changes. Man Utd have lost Ferguson and Man City and Chelsea are adapting to change, and we haven't taken advantage. The board make these promises and then take a dump on us by breaking them. I'm starting to come along to the extremist thinking that the only reason they said all that stuff was to get fans to renew their ridiculously expensive season tickets and that the club is all about making money. They don't seem to care much what happens on the pitch as long as they're making a lot of money. As long as we're in the Champions League we've succeeded it seems is the attitude. There's not enough ambition to improve the team and achieve footballing honours and trophies.

It all seems to be about making the money, it's like a business and I feel so distanced from our club as a fan. I've never been so disillusioned with the club. The manager is coming out with more bizarre quotes by the week, he's rested one of our best players on the OPENING DAY of the season, not prepared tactically at all for Villa's obvious counter attack game and has us ridiculously unprepared for the start of the season for the 3rd season running. I just can't comprehend why we haven't got our business done before the season, or at least some of it, so that we are prepared and ready for the new season. We've already lost 3 points because of that lack of preparation. We go into the second weekend of the season with one available centre half and disillusion and frustration surrounding the club. £80m is burning a whole in the club's pocket and they aren't doing anything about it. It's just utterly crazy. Not signing any players is doing a lot more damage than signing a couple that Wenger thinks might be too expensive for their value.

It's maddening and the manager isn't even under pressure. Any logical club with sense would at least have their manager under pressure in this situation but not us. Our lack of ambition absolutely astounds me.

(Image source: Telegraph, Sunday 18th August, URL: Accessed 18/08/2013)

Friday, 16 August 2013

New Season!!!!!!!!!

Footy's back!

Yes, I know there was the half-seriously taken Confederations Cup and then the Football League season but now the bread and butter's back. I haven't been to a competitive football game since May 12th, 3 months and 4 days ago... not that I'm counting.

Arsenal are back, Everton are back and guess what... I'm going the game tomorrow! Norwich v Everton, I can't wait. A new ground, new place, opening day excitement, interestingly poised game, new signings, a new manager and a full day's outing before getting back in time for Match of the Day to watch and record the highlights of Arsenal's 7-0 opening day win against Aston Villa. Bitchin'.

It's been a while since I had that excited pre-game feel (probably April in fact) and it's good to be back. I'm looking forward to seeing how different Everton might be under Martinez- will the formation be different? Will the style be tweaked? Who'll be first choice up front? I'm also looking forward to seeing Ricky van Wolfswinkel, Gary Hooper, Leroy Fer and Nathan Redmond for Norwich. All very attacking, intriguing players and it should make for a very good game.

As for Arsenal, I really thought we'd be starting this season with genuine excitement and anticipation last May when it was announced we had £70m to spend and the likes of Higuain, Suarez, Fellaini and Rooney were being linked with moves to us. But sadly as usual we go into with trepidation and pessimism, only this season with a real sense of a missed opportunity. There's time to get players yet but so far, so poor.

Still though, I can't wait for the season to kick off. I can't wait to go to games, meet other fans, watch games on TV, be ecstatic at great wins (hopefully), enjoy the atmospheres, the away days and all the controversy and talking points that come with the season.

Bring it on!