Wednesday
Jan312018

Ozil gets the £350k per week no one else would pay him

Alex Sanchez left Arsenal football club because he’s ambitious. Tripling his wages was a by-product of that move. However, Mesut Ozil signing a new contract at Arsenal shows a complete lack of ambition. Clearly, no other big club had the desire to pay Ozil £350k a week, so he’s chosen money over medals.

Let’s be clear, no supposedly ‘world-class’ player with any ambition would stay at Arsenal right now were it not for money. That makes Ozil a mercenary. I feel embarrassed for Ozil, because signing a new contract with Wenger at the helm is an embarrassing acceptance of mediocrity on his part.

Players come in all shapes and sizes and have different personalities, needs and wants. Ozil is not a complete footballer and not worth £350k a week under this manager. The German is a fantastic cog to have in a well-oiled machine, but he has no tactical discipline and no desire to add that to his game, which is why Real Madrid deemed him expendable.

Ozil’s ego demands that he’s a big fish in a small pond. Like his manager, Ozil doesn’t care about trophies, he cares about Ozil. Having said that, I suspect he would have joined Man Utd had they had the wage bill manoeuvrability, but Mourinho opted for Sanchez instead.

The German is now joined by Aubemayang and Mkhitaryan at Arsenal, but, whatever you think of these players – and I have doubts over the PL durability/suitability of both of them, I don’t believe they’re going to make any substantial difference. They're not 'signings', they're reactive 'statements'. There's no tactical ideology behind them. 

Competing against garbage teams like Swansea might have just got a bit easier, but when you have a tactical ignoramus like Arsene Wenger at the helm that’s unable to instil any sort of defensive structure, discipline or confidence into his players, Arsenal will always fall short of competing for anything meaningful.

People tell me there is significant change behind the scenes with Gazidis marginalising Wenger and hiring a new sports negotiating team. But wrestling some control from Wenger does not necessarily mean he will be leaving the club anytime soon.

Should Arsenal look to retain Wenger, his contract will have to be extended this summer to avoid last season’s destabilising effect. Whether or not that happens will tell us whether the board is really interested in ending Arsenal’s terminal stasis. Aubameyang/Ozil/Mkhitaryan are all irrelevant.

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Arsenal Truth can be found on twitter @ https://twitter.com/trutharsenal

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Wednesday
Jan242018

Sanchez departure savaged by dimwits

Football fans can be so obnoxious and piteous, especially the many Arsenal fans flailing Alexis Sanchez for joining Man Utd. He’s the scapegoat now - the new Van Persie, the new Fabregas, the latest traitor.

 “He’s 29; he’s finished”. “He was destabilising the club“. “He kept losing possession”. “He’s on £500k a week”. This is the combination of lies and drivel they come up with to deflect from the harsh reality that Arsenal is incapable of selling the future to its few top players.

Let’s stick to the facts, Arsenal were only lucky enough to acquire Sanchez because Barcelona needed the money to fund the Luis Suarez deal. Sanchez did not want to come to Arsenal any more than Mhkitaryan does.

Fact number two is that Sanchez gave his all for Arsenal but left because Wenger is braindead and cannot build a squad capable of getting anywhere near competing for the Champions League or Premier League. Like Fabregas, Henry and Van Persie before him, Sanchez was flogged to death merely to achieve CL qualification and he grew to resent that.

Was Sanchez a bit stroppy and moody at times? Yes, because he’s a winner that wants to win, but all he’s been surrounded by is dross, coached by a bang average, tactically incompetent manager who deliberately refuses to spend money just to stay in Stan Kroenke's good books and sustain the false narrative that he cannot compete with football’s ‘elite' clubs (Leicester).

Good luck to Sanchez; he deserves this move. The signing is a fantastic coup for United who desperately need a power player than can make the difference in tight games. Whether you like Jose Mourinho or not is irrelevant, the fact is he is slowly building a formidable team. His Utd side has only conceded 16 goals this season, so he has a title-winning defence, but not a title-winning attack. Sanchez brings Utd a lot closer to having that.

On the other hand, what does Mhkitaryan bring to Arsenal? Doubts. Even Wenger has expressed reservations, which demonstrates he has rushed through what is, effectively, a panic signing. To placate fuming supporters, Wenger HAD to buy a high-profile replacement this month at any cost.

That’s not to say Mhkitaryan will not fare better at Arsenal, but the Armenian has clearly not adapted to the Premier League. Indeed, it has been reported that Mourinho has been advised on numerous occasions by his coaching staff they had grave doubts about Mhkitaryan’s physical and mental capacity to acclimatise to the PL.

At Arsenal, Mhkitaryan will be allowed unfettered creative freedom to play. Therefore, it’s plausible that his numbers might start to become more attractive, but Wenger’s complete lack of tactical discipline will ensure his signing amounts to nothing.

As for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Two years ago, when Wenger threw £86m at Mustafi, Perez and Xhaka, I wrote a post on Arsenal Truth titled: “Wenger signings won’t make any difference”. Well, Mhkitaryan and Aubameyang, should he join, won’t make any difference either.

Arsenal fans always overblow the ability of new signings and set ridiculously high standards. They did it with Lacazette too, but how did that turn out? Gooners the world over said he was the second coming, but the Frenchman has only scored nine goals - two away from home - in six months. Welbeck or Walcott could have done that, so it’s been £50m down the shitter.

Signing Aubameyang is a risk that no other club seems prepared to take despite his goalscoring exploits for Dortmund, which indicates he’s nothing more than a £60m punt. He’s not the new Thierry Henry. He’s a goalhanger in the same vein as Lacazette who will also have to adapt to a much more physical league than he has ever experienced. Not easy for a 29-year-old.

Aubameyang and Mhkitaryan are not upgrades on Ozil and Sanchez. At best, they represent stasis. Wenger is incapable of challenging for the PL and CL. He is a severely limited coach with outdated philosophies that deliberately surrounds himself by well-paid ‘yes’ men that will never challenge or question him.

Without the ball, Arsenal are a joke. Defensively, they’re often an embarrassment. Wenger cannot fix that and never will. It's like giving the keys to a Ferrari to a monkey. But Wenger’s so intoxicated by his own ignorance and arrogance, he still believes he can challenge for the PL by creating some Guardiola-like Uber team of attacking players that will blitz the opposition with incisive technical football.

Unlike Guardiola, Wenger only understands half the game.

Prepare for more of the same for as long as the old fraud remains in the hot seat. Good luck to Sanchez, I’ll enjoy watching him at Man Utd. They can’t win the title this season, but next season they might be able to have a better stab at it.

Where will Arsenal be? Without Sanchez and Ozil, even worse off than they are now.

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Arsenal Truth can be found on twitter @ https://twitter.com/trutharsenal

Comments should be intelligible and relevant. All others will be binned.

Monday
Jan152018

Is Wenger scavenging bins again?

What a sorry mess Arsenal is in right now - all horribly predictable and only likely to get worse, especially as the anti-Wenger protests are about to restart. Whatever you think about these protests, including the low attendances, they create a media discourse that is exhausting and distracting to Wenger and the players, often turning Arsenal into a national farce.

The defeat at Bournemouth at the weekend gave a glimpse into life without Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez, and it wasn’t pretty. Without them, Arsenal is a shabby mid-table Premier League outfit, or worse.

As we have seen over the last decade, Arsenal was often propped up by the genius of Van Persie, Henry and Fabregas. Diamond encrusted rings on a compost heap of mediocrity; these players almost single-handedly ensured Arsenal scraped Champions League qualification. But all three grew impatient with Wenger and decided to play for more ambitious and competitive clubs. All succeeded.

As we have known for many months now, Sanchez has long-realised he is wasting his efforts at the club, and we should lose all respect for Ozil if he decides to stay as it could not possibly be for sporting reasons.

Deemed by their respective clubs as expendable, Ozil and Sanchez were acquired late in subsequent transfer windows. In both cases, Wenger was caught hanging round the bins on deadline day looking for expensive cast offs to inspire his failed regime. Now, desperate for ‘quality’ reinforcements, he’s at it again.

Current high-profile club rejects being linked include winger/striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – a no-doubt talented yet deeply divisive and ill-disciplined individual, Man Utd failure Henrik Mkhitaryan and the similarly overrated Riyad Mahrez. Younger players such as 20-year-old Bordeaux winger Malcom and Anthony Martial are also being touted, but they’re not going to produce anything close to rivalling Sanchez’s output.

Whether the rumoured interest in these players is real or imaginary, any signings made by Wenger this month would only be the desperate flailings of a manager that has no plan and no vision. In-keeping with his failed acquisition of Jamie Vardy last summer, he’s merely playing Football Manager, desperately scouring the market for whatever high-profile cast-offs he can find to plug holes in his sinking ship. By signing these players, he might kick the can down the road a little while longer, but for what purpose?

The fact is, Arsenal needs to be rebuilt and the club should not waste any further time going about it. Wenger has nothing left to offer Arsenal or the game of football. He’s a dinosaur, so focused on maintaining power and longevity that he’s lost all semblance of rationality, and the dressing room along with it. The players only turn up when they feel like it, with varying degrees of success failure.

But will this happen? Most unlikely - the board’s ignorance and inertia is seemingly set in stone. As the club agonisingly slips into a state of middle-tier Premier League mediocrity, all we can do is watch its slow-burning demise play out and, with it, Wenger’s legacy disintegrate to dust. Personally, I welcome that, it's everything this egomanical, selfish man deserves, hence why I thoroughly enjoyed hearing about yesterday’s defeat.

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Arsenal Truth can be found on twitter @ https://twitter.com/trutharsenal

Comments should be intelligible and relevant. All others will be binned.

Thursday
Jan112018

Wenger out, Ancelotti in

That’s the rumour. But it’s just a rumour, God save us.

So, what do we know about Wenger and his contract? We know it still has 18 months to run, but the only reason he was not offered a rolling one-year contract by the board last summer was due to the distraction of weekly press speculation about his future and those ever-increasing supporter protests.

That’s why I believe Wenger will not see out another Arsenal contract, because the club is only giving him the leeway of an extra year to stop the speculation, not because they necessarily want Wenger to stay to the full extent of the contract. Indeed, as Wenger will only have 12 months to run at the end of this season, Arsenal will have to offer him another contract extension to avoid a repeat of last season’s saga.

There is also room for optimism that Wenger will finally fuck off due to Ivan Gazidis’ decision to start implementing changes behind the scenes. Wenger allies Steve Rowley and Dick Law have been ousted, while Gazidis has employed Sven Mislintat as head of recruitment and Raul Sanllehi in the role of head of football relations. This action has clearly wounded Wenger’s narcissistic ego, hence his bitter response suggesting he already knows every player in Europe and that Mislintat will have little effect. I quote: “Sometimes, in a little club in Germany, he might know somebody we might ignore”.

It should also be noted that earlier this month, for the first time in 22 years, Arsenal signed a player without Wenger’s permission, Greek centre-back Konstantinos Mavropanos.

As actions speak louder than words, we can perhaps speculate that Gazidis is not quite as comprehensively clueless as has so far been proven but has, to some extent, been playing the long game. Although he seems to have little substantial influence over owner Stan Kroenke, he has at least managed to convince him of the need to plan for a Wenger-less future. And the fact that Kroenke obviously agrees this is something that requires contemplation can only have the benefit of lowering the guillotine over Wenger’s neck, putting him under even more pressure.

Unfortunately, it’s still unlikely that we’ll wake up one day and find that Wenger has been sacked, but there is the definite likelihood that the club will instead dress up some bullshit end-of-season ‘mutual agreement’ press release explaining his departure.

The hope also has to be that Wenger fully departs rather than hangs around like an infected anus ruminating over every boardroom decision with his usual hubristic, self-serving analyses. As much as it grates, we’ll probably have to accept the old fraud gets a statue too; a small price to pay for getting rid of one of Arsenal’s most successful yet perversely bad managers of all time. Few have starved this great club of major success for so long, and not just in terms of winning the Premier League or European success, but getting anywhere near competing for them.

The only question now is who should replace Wenger? In recent days, Carlo Ancelotti’s name has sprung up. This is someone that I suggested several years ago would be a good option to manage the club when Wenger leaves. Many see this as the safe option and would prefer a younger manager with more energy and revolutionary tactical ideas. However, although I agree with that mindset to a large extent, the club is in a situation where it first and foremost will need someone with Ancelotti’s vast experience to steer it back in the right direction, if only for a limited period.

Bringing in a new, young manager at a time when Arsenal will have probably lost its two most high-profile players in Sanchez and Ozil, with a host of other first teamers eyeing the exit door due to their contracts being run down and several others either retiring or wrecked by injury, would be a big risk.

At this rate, when Wenger leaves what would be left is basically a youth academy and a bunch of crap ten times worse than anything Bruce Rioch left him, which may not seem very appealing to Ancelotti, but for Arsenal, the Italian’s experience would bring both gravitas and contacts. The players will listen to him, respect him and the chance of top quality players joining Arsenal to help resurrect the club are for more feasible with Ancelotti on the other end of the phone than, for example, the (also rumoured) inexperienced Mikel Arteta.

So yes, I would welcome Ancelotti, but then I would welcome Neil Warnock if it means never again having to look at that nasty, manipulative, disgusting old fraud Wenger perched on the bench like some constipated owl, pissing and moaning at the zombified ragbag of ambitionless staff he's paid to keep schtum for as long as he's in charge.

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Arsenal Truth can be found on twitter @ https://twitter.com/trutharsenal

Comments should be intelligible and relevant. All others will be binned.

Wednesday
Jan102018

Wenger's players suffer from the 'law of collective averages'

Babatunde M. Olayinka writes:

Dear Arsenal Truth, 

Welcome back from your long sabbatical away from the blog. Or, did you return since and I didn't notice? 

I think I totally get your point that a team with Arsenal's resources and rich history (3rd most successful English football club) should not be relying on referees assistance or mistakes to win, draw or lose matches. We should be much better than that.

Sadly, when the team is reduced to garbage, as we have had for the past 10 years, and no longer compete for the available top honours, fans are naturally motivated to seek solace in an alternative narrative. Hence, the referee and FFP become easy scapegoats.

Do not blame fans. It's what we do. It's who we are. I have an in-law who believes that whenever Arsenal loses, regardless of how shitty the performance was, it’s all "ojoro", meaning Arsenal was cheated. Nothing you can analyse or show him will change his mind. That was a few years back. Now, he is finally seeing the light of how truly crap we've become. He hardly watches our games anymore. Like so many of us in this part of the world. Whilst our love for our club will forever remain strong, we needed to make a conscious decision to choose between Arsene Wenger's Arsenal on one side and our good health and sanity on the other. The choice is easy.

Every great player that comes to Arsenal these days becomes good and any good player becomes average.  Average players become shitty. That's our current reality and this stems from the law of collective averages if I might term it that. When you throw a brilliant child into a class of equally or more brilliant children, this new child is heavily challenged and digs deep to maintain or improve his performance with the consequence of getting phenomenally better. 

Likewise, throw same brilliant student into a pool of average or poor performing students, over time this student tends towards the class average and becomes worse off. There are too many names to cite in Arsenal over the past 10 years who fit into this bill that I just won't bother. But the reality is through a farcical combination of poor training, poor player selection, poor preparations, poor strategy, poor plan B, poor leadership, poor motivation and poor consequence management,  Arsenal have become an over achieving mid-table team.

That's all we are now and things will continue to get worse unless the club owners rescue the club from the steel clutches of Arsene Wenger. which they don't seem able to or interested in doing. This is never about financial doping by other clubs. That contributes maybe 5 to 10% to success. But the remaining 90% is down to the basics of what makes football the beautiful sport. And we just aren't doing those things any more.

__
AT

Some of Arsenal's most passionate fans hail from Africa. Thanks to Babatunde M. Olayinka (Tundy) for his insightful contribution.


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Comments should be intelligible and relevant. All others will be binned.