Friday
Mar182016

Roberto Martinez – another clown

My respect for Everton manager Roberto Martinez has nosedived this season; and even more so following his daft remarks concerning Arsene Wenger.

When you look at how poor the Premier League is at present, Everton should be pushing top four, not lingering in mid-table. Their squad is packed with brilliant young talent like Lukaku, Stones, Barkley and Deulofeu, and those players also have the experience of Howard, Baines, Coleman, Jagielka and Barry behind them. However, under Martinez’ guidance Everton have only managed 9 wins in 28 games.

With Arsenal travelling to Goodison Park this weekend, Martinez has labelled Wenger “an inspiration”. Martinez says that Arsenal can still win the title, but if they lose to Everton they could be 14 points behind Leicester by Saturday evening, which would surely end their feeble challenge. So in effect, what Martinez is saying is, Arsenal can catch Leicester - by beating his own team.

On the topic of critics, Martinez goes on to say, "It's the modern world we live in; when we're so easily led to criticise.”

“There is a need to have an opinion and criticise the losing team. The modern game is ruthless and at the back of a defeat you'll get criticised - and everyone has an opinion and everyone knows better than you and that's disappointing.”

Who does that sound like? Clearly, Martinez has no option at the moment but to bow down to his “inspiration” and create his own brand of Wenger bullsh*t, as both managers are busted flushes trying to prolong their stay at their respective clubs by aggressively rubbishing critics.

One has to wonder where Everton would be had David Moyes not gambled his career on Man Utd. When Moyes joined Everton he dug them out of relegation in his first season and qualified for the Champions League the year after. From then on, he finished 11th, 6th, 5th, 5th, 8th, 7th, 7th and 6th.

Despite a good start, finishing 5th, Martinez performance has nosedived over the last two years as Everton finished 11th with 47 points last season and are currently 12th with 38 points. Apart from Moyes’ first season, the Scotsman never had point totals that low in all his years at the club, despite playing in a league of a much higher standard and having a paltry net spend. In fact, Moyes' net spend per season was £803,000 - Martinez' net spend is £34.5m.

Now that Everton has been taken over and big money has landed on the club’s shores, the new owners need to throw Martinez out. Like Wenger, Martinez has no understanding of the defensive side of the game and fans must surely see that he's never shown in his career that he's a competent defensive coach.

Back to Arsenal, who predictably folded against Barcelona this week losing the tie 5-1 on aggregate. I thought Barcelona never really moved out of second gear over both legs. Credit where it’s due, Elneny scored a nice goal on the night, but the rest was the epitome of predictability.

Is Theo Walcott’s career over? Wenger preferred Alex Iwobi to him at Camp Nou, which I found hilarious. He also preferred Flamini to Coquelin, which tells its own story. What was also hilarious is that 20% of Barcelona fans didn’t bother turning up to the game.

The knives are out for Wenger this week, with a lot of ex-players having a dig:

Alan Smith says, “If they fall away, then the board have got to seriously look at the manager's position and I think Arsene Wenger will have to look at his position too.”

Ian Wright says, "At some stage it's got to happen and I think something's got to happen this season with what's happening with Arsenal, especially if they don't win the league."

Emmanuel Petit says, "Should he stay as manager at the club? I don't know. It's probably the time for him to stay but in a different role at the club... I think they need something new."

Paul Merson says, "People may say there's nobody better than him, but there's a thousand managers who could come in and get Arsenal in the top four. If Leicester or Tottenham win the title then I just don't see how he can keep his job."

—oo— 

Comments should be intelligent and well-written. All others will be binned.

Tuesday
Mar152016

Scumbag Wenger hanging on like a dead man

What a shame that it should come to this. You could write a book about it – ‘How to Decimate Your Own Legacy’.

Who was that person that guided Arsenal to three Premier League titles between 1997 and 2004? Seemingly intelligent, erudite and revolutionary – his name was Arsene Wenger. Totally unrecognisable now, he should probably be the greatest Arsenal manager in the club’s history. Instead, through his own arrogance and avarice, he has become one of the most obnoxious and incompetent managers in Arsenal’s long history.

While time and hindsight may declare who is or isn’t a club legend, it will likewise decree the complete opposite. For me, Wenger's journey really is an object lesson on how power, when unrestrained, can be allowed to corrupt; distorting the ego and exposing the ugly character beneath.

I fully understand how people want to hold on to the incredible success Wenger initially had, paint a rosy picture of it and hang it on the wall - ignoring his failures for fear of tainting those memories, but it’s not failure that is the problem, it’s HOW an individual fails.

Like the worst politician, Wenger has always tried to mask his hubristic tendencies. Cowering behind his reputation, he’s spent a decade trying to manipulate the agenda from every angle, often at the expense of doing the right thing for the club. On many occasions, controlling the narrative and attempting to stage manage people’s perception of him has come at the expense of what’s best for Arsenal, yet all he has achieved is to slowly chip away at the pretence of his competency and mortally tarnish his own legacy.

I didn’t watch Watford, but that’s irrelevant. After four paltry wins in 14 matches, the chickens have come home to roost yet again as Wenger oversees yet another shambolic collapse - the collapse to beat all collapses seeing as Arsenal are now Leicester City’s bitch. Wenger’s feeble excuses regarding financial inferiority have always been deflectionary garbage, but they’ve now been reduced to dust.

On the player front, it’s wholly evident that there are splits in the dressing room. Certain players are giving up, many don’t care. As has been obvious for years now, players turn up on their own terms not Wenger’s, and his only hope of rectifying that is blind hope.

What I find so ghastly about him, apart from his tactical ineptitude, arrogance and inability to man manage, is the endless stream of risible excuses that pour from his mouth. His half-arsed explanations have become so lazy, patronising and contemptuous, that even the most hardened Wenger acolyte must surely be numb to his ludicrous alibis.

Furthermore, how dare Arsene Wenger brand those who are perceptive enough to see through his serial incompetence as “farcical”? His seething contempt for anyone that dare question his management borders on despotism. His verbal press conference attacks, evidently contrived, are designed to prevent the media from bleeding the truth to what he arrogantly perceives to be a witless public unable to think for themselves.

 “Judge me at the end of the season” – Wenger’s annual stock-in-trade response - are the words of a coward that refuses to be held accountable for his failures. The man is a thief and a control freak, hording and abusing power to preserve his influence and pilfering the supporters’ hard earned via a morally indefensible salary.

Wenger needs to stop this farce immediately and do the honourable thing; otherwise his career will come to a very ugly end. Although half the fan base is pretty much sick of him, he seems intent on alienating every last supporter until the bitter end. Yet, like all dictators, those with a mental disorder – Hubris Syndrome in Wenger’ case - are rarely able to constrain their behaviour.

But we must remember at all times, Wenger is not bigger than Arsenal and not synonymous with Arsenal. WE are The Arsenal. The supporters will support when the players have left and the managers long gone. And the supporters themselves will pass on the baton. The board and its employees are merely temporary guardians, whereas the supporters represent the institution ad infinitum.

Arsenal needs root and branch change. First Wenger, then the two unaccountable clowns that sit at the top table - Gazidis and Kroenke, who display their ineptitude by refusing to do what any other club in world football would have done years ago, handed Wenger his P45. But these scumbags have rigged the game – they’re all in it together, palming each other off with bonuses, salary increases and “dividends” at the supporters’ considerable financial expense.

If they refuse to act individually or collectively, it is now incumbent on every supporter to defend the principles of Arsenal Football Club and look to remove this collective of spongers.

Win, lose or draw, supporters need to make sure these last remaining games are a living hell for a manager that has lost the plot, but worse, has the temerity to pour scorn on those that rightfully criticise him while exploiting the ignorant naivety of those that continue to excuse the inexcusable.

Wenger can win the league for all I care, changes nothing, and w
hile I see little hope of vast swathes of supporters making his tenure unbearable, I do see it as my duty to try to influence it.

—oo— 

Comments should be intelligent and well-written. All others will be binned.

Monday
Mar072016

Battle of Shite Hart Lane

The top of the table clash between Tottenham and Arsenal on Saturday characterised the pig swill viewers have had to put up with in what has been the worst quality PL of all time.

Let’s be honest, Tottenham are a consistent side but they do not resemble anything like champions and Arsenal are a side of era-defining mental fragility. It was such a poor game, with 20 grown men running around like headless chickens pulling shirts and tripping and fouling each other while struggling to string more than three passes together, or anything resembling the quality you would expect from two teams supposedly challenging for a PL title.

In the early part of the game, Spurs failed to make their possession count. The occasion got to them and they struggled to play with any calm or intelligence.  

When Arsenal opened the scoring with Ramsey’s deft flick, Spurs looked bereft - but you never have to wait long for Wenger’s chumps to shoot themselves in the foot. Early in the second half, Coquelin got a second yellow for an absurd late challenge on Kane and Arsenal duly imploded and let in two stupid, needless goals.

The difference between the two managers is that Wenger is an imbecile that never learns. Having warned Coquelin at half time not to overstep the mark, the muppet still got himself sent off. More perceptive managers would have removed Coquelin from the field of play (or left him on loan at Charlton), just as Pochettino did with Eric Lamela when it was clear that he was starting to lose his head.

But Spurs bottled it. At 2-1 up, they lost their shape and composure and Hugo Lloris made a terrible mistake in allowing Sanchez’ tame daisy cutter to beat him.

Ultimately, both teams imploded at crucial moments and demonstrated their historic fallibilities. This means, Leicester might have less to do than they think to win this title. With both North London clubs now bottling it on a weekly basis and extra games to play in Europe and the FA Cup, Leicester might only need to win 5 of their remaining 9 games.

But the fact is, no team has played better than Leicester this season or is playing better than them at this moment in time. Whether The Foxes like it or not, the title is in their hands. Their only concern now is to avoid picking up injuries to key players, otherwise no other team they face between now and the end of the season should frighten them.

If there is a threat, I now believe it’s Man City who have a final chance to build momentum with a series of easy games. 

++++ 

Ospina (7) Made some good saves, shame he didn't fancy catching anything
Bellerin (5) Positional play a bit suspect
Mertesacker (4) Still going through the motions after winning the World Cup
Gabriel (4) Plays like he looks, assembled from various body parts
Gibbs (4) Is, was and always will be a clueless oaf
Coquelin (3) Played like a Charlton midfielder
Elneny (4) Mediocre at best
Ozil (2) Auditioning for the Invisible Man again
Ramsey (4) Typical Ramsey, great technique for the goal but fuck all else to his game
Sanchez (4) Scored a lucky goal, otherwise poor
Welbeck (5) Stretched Spurs defence but will never be prolific


—oo— 

Comments should be intelligent and well-written. All others will be binned.

Thursday
Mar032016

Arsenal fans must boycott matches/Swiss Ramble

Further hysterics at the Emirates last night as Arsenal collapsed to a half-strength Swansea team whose manager was laid up in a hospital bed. Arsenal took the lead with a good goal from Joel Campbell, but when Ozil claimed he was fouled in his own half, Arsenal’s dumbo defenders waited for a whistle while Wayne Routledge nipped in and scored.

Although I didn’t watch the game, when Peter Cech flapped at a 74th minute cross and Ashley Williams bundled it in, I knew The Gunners were sunk.

Unfortunately, Cech is not the keeper he used to be. He wears a head guard because of a serious injury he picked up many years ago playing for Chelsea and is now cowardly in certain situations. In the dying seconds, he went up for an Arsenal corner and appeared to pull his hamstring chasing Swansea players back.

I watched Leicester on Tuesday and they were unfortunate not to beat West Brom. Because their attitude was spot on, Leicester fans should still be very happy despite dropping two points.

However, Spurs really struggled physically against West Ham. Harry Kane looked exhausted from minute one. Had he been fresh, I would have backed him to score one of the two half chances that came his way.

Apart from the fact they were tired, Spurs lacked physicality in midfield without Dele Alli and Moussa Dembele. Chadli and Mason were too weak in the challenge to give Spurs any sort of grip on the midfield, while full backs Rose and Walker were replaced by the inferior Tripper and Davies. Too many changes in a tired team meant Spurs couldn’t respond adequately to West Ham’s early goal.

It’s obvious to me that Tottenham have to get knocked out of the Europa League by Borussia Dortmund if they want to challenge for the title.

Manuel Pellegrini is now vindicating the Man City board’s decision to sack him. Once the first goal went in, Man City folded like a pack of cards against Liverpool, losing 3-0.

Because Man Utd stole a late win at home to Watford, they’re now level on points with Pellegrini’s men, but have much harder games to come. Despite City being so flaky, I can see them going on a winning streak now, with a string of easy games incorporating Aston Villa, Norwich, Bournemouth, West Brom and a severely weakened Man Utd.

If Arsenal lose to Spurs on Saturday morning, the title dream is doubtless over. If Gooners have anything about them, they will boycott the following home game against West Brom. Apparently, there was a small boycott at the Emirates on Wednesday, with hundreds of empty seats in the upper tiers.

Basically, if you’re fed up with Wenger, stop talking about it and do something. The idea that fans are powerless is nonsense; no manager or owner has ever been known to survive the supporters' long-term wrath, and there’s no better way to protest than by not turning up.

Fans see it, the owners see it, the media get hold of it and if enough people don’t bother showing up it demotivates the players, which is obviously a huge cause of concern for the manager and the board. The only way Wenger is likely to leave in the short-term is if Arsenal finish outside of the top 4, and there is a chance of that happening if their current form continues and that is compounded by severe supporter unrest.

++++ 

On Monday, the website Swiss Ramble published details of Arsenal’s latest set of accounts.

Here are some highlights:

- Arsenal's cash balance stands at £159m, but will rise to approx. £250m by September

- £45m of the cash balance needs to be kept aside for player amortisation

- Arsenal have more cash in the bank than any other club in world football

- Stadium debt repayments remain at £14m pa - equivalent to Theo Walcott’s annual salary x 2

- Arsenal have the third highest net spend in the Premier League over the past three seasons

- Arsenal have the seventh highest revenue in the world, having overtaken Chelsea last season

- Arsenal enjoy the highest match day income in the world

- Bar Juventus, Arsenal’s commercial income trails every team in the Deloitte Money League Top 10. Considering Wenger keeps reminding us how Arsenal are in the CL every year, it makes you wonder what Ivan Gazidis is doing to earn his £2.2m salary (and bonuses) if he can't take advantage of the club's profile

- The wage bill gap of the top 4 giants is closing: Arsenal £192m (current amount not published in latest accounts but probably higher due to spate of new contracts), Chelsea £216m, Man United £203m, Man City £194m. The difference between Arsenal and Chelsea is probably three very well-paid players, of which Arsenal can easily afford.

—oo— 

Comments should be intelligent and well-written. All others will be binned.

Monday
Feb292016

Sack Wenger, put Bould in charge

Been ill this weekend, hot and cold sweats, slumped in bed aching all over. On the plus side, this gave me the opportunity to watch more football than usual.

Leicester vs Norwich was a dire game. The away side were well-organised and made it difficult for The Foxes, but the quality of football was not great. Nothing Riyad Mahrez did came off and Jamie Vardy struggled to find space, disappearing from the game until the last minute. In a game with only four shots on target, Cameron Jerome missed a simple header that could have put a dent in Leicester’s title ambitions.

But when it became obvious Norwich were showing no ambition, Claudio Ranieri played two up top and Leonardo Ulloa sneaked in at the far post to grab a very late winner.

For a team whose entire game is based on counter-attacking, Leicester will struggle against teams who are happy to concede possession. That means, considering their league position, they have no easy games.

On Sunday, it was the turn of Arsenal and Spurs to make up some lost ground. With the Europa League weighing on the legs of Pochettino’s men, they had a bad first half and fell a goal behind to Swansea. But yet again Tottenham demonstrated character and maturity – traits they’re not usually known for. Despite Lukasz Fabianski making a string of excellent saves, Swansea eventually folded under Spurs’ combination of quality and pressure.

Christian Eriksen is their Dennis Bergkamp. Although not able to provide Bergkamp’s sublime moments of genius, he is the floating pivot that glues the team together, both scoring and creating goals.

The other half of North London is everything that Tottenham are currently not. 10 years without victory at Old Trafford, Arsenal faced what was, without doubt, the weakest Man Utd side I’ve ever seen.

The entire defence was devastated by injury, with Michael Carrick and Danny Blind forming a rocky central defensive partnership, flanked by right back Guillermo Varela – making only his fourth game for the club, and Marcos Rojo who was injured in the second half and replaced by unknown rookie Fosu-Mensah. With 18-year-old Rashford up front, Utd didn’t look much capable of doing anything at either end of the pitch.

Man Utd were so weakened, that before the game Sky pundit Graeme Souness claimed this was a “chance in a generation” to beat them. Thierry Henry commented “[Arsenal] have to win, and win well”. Instead, an insipid Arsenal side were out thought and out fought – and subsequently beaten.

Although nobody played well, a special mention for Theo Walcott – the emblem of everything that is wrong with Arsene FC. Weak, spineless, lazy and brainless, Arsenal are stuck with this useless joke for another three years as nobody will pay his ludicrous wages, and Walcott’s complete disinterest signals he’ll be happy to sit out the best years of his career making cameo appearances off the bench.

By the time Walcott is 30, his pace will be cut by two yards and his career effectively over. I had to laugh when he was substituted, exhibiting that little pussy handclap he does. If a footballer ever stole a living, it’s him.

Walcott should have been a sprinter not a footballer, although left to his own devices he’d probably run in the wrong direction.

To be honest, I’m running out of adjectives to sum up Wenger’s disastrous management. After a decade of failure, the players do not believe in him and are no longer inspired by him. It’s clear as day that he has no ideas whatsoever and is trailing behind most modern managers.

Once again, Arsenal’s approach to the match was built on a foundation of arrogance, lack of focus and Wenger’s famous lack of attention to detail. The players seemed surprised by Utd’s work rate, organisation and energy. Over-confidence was quickly replaced by fear when youngster Marcus Rashford hammered Gabriel’s miskicked clearance into the top corner.

Despite Utd’s side being full of players playing out of position and unknown kids, their ability to adapt was superior to Arsenal. Risibly, Wenger try to defend himself after the calamitous 3-2 defeat  - stating that Man Utd still had a lot of money on the pitch. Do you reckon he’d have said that if Arsenal had been beaten with 14 first team players missing?

Now Arsenal have to get their season back on track by beating relegation threatened Swansea on Wednesday. Although it will sadly never happen, anything but victory would signal a great opportunity to sack Wenger and give the job to Steve Bould on an interim basis. Even though Wenger has paid him off and turned him into cone man, Bould was educated by the master George Graham and knows the club inside out. Maybe he could sort out the Arsenal defence and inspire them into saving the season? Give him three months, if it doesn’t work out look for another manager in the summer.

Tomorrow night, Leicester face West Brom – the best defensive team in the lower half of the table, who arrive on the back of a 3-2 victory against Crystal Palace. This is a real banana skin for Leicester, especially if they play like they did against Norwich.

Tottenham face a tough trip to West Ham and Man City travel to Liverpool. These midweek fixtures represent a great chance for Wenger to scramble some points back, maybe his last chance. He’ll be bricking himself on Wednesday night. With the fans ready to crucify him, if Arsenal fail to win the coward won't shake the opposing manager's hand and will disappear down the tunnel quicker than a rat up a  drainpipe.

—oo— 

Comments should be intelligent and well-written. All others will be binned.

Page 1 ... 5 6 7 8 9 ... 18 Next 5 Entries »