Sunderland 2-0 Arsenal: Let The Autopsy Begin

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Sunderland 2-0 Arsenal: Let The Autopsy Begin

Post by Mario on Sun Feb 19, 2012 12:50 pm

This is a blog written by Arse2Mouse which I thought deserves its own thread as it may get lost in the post-match one. I have to agree with almost everything he says.


www.arse2mouse.com/post/17878181283

Sunderland 2-0 Arsenal: Let The Autopsy Begin

Over the course of the next few days you will be told that now is not the time to analyse the season. The line will be that we’re still in fourth and there’s Champions League qualification to fight for, so we must re-focus, bounce back, show some sort of reaction and all that jazz. I disagree strongly. Of course I’d rather we finished fourth, and it should go without saying that, from a financial point of view, qualifying for the Champions League is better than not. But even if Arsene does successfully pull another qualification rabbit from his hat, it will be a mistake to view this season as anything than what it is: failure.

Failure because, even if we do finish fourth, the difference between this season and the others since we moved to the Emirates is at no point have we looked like a team capable of winning silverware. And I’m not just talking about the Champions League – the domestic cups have also looked well beyond a team of our brittleness. Don’t misunderstand me: I’m not saying we deserve silverware. Success on the pitch is not about ‘deserve’. But what I do think is that a club carrying the fourth highest wage bill in the league, £40m higher than its neighbours, ought to be capable of putting up a fight against its rivals.

And we aren’t capable.

Which is especially worrying with the visit of you-know-who looming. As Daniel Taylor notes in the Guardian – which I urge you to read without getting your knickers bunched about media bias – against the other four clubs realistically fighting for the Champions League Arsenal has only won once this season – the 5-3 against Chelsea, which now looks like an odd statistical outlier – and lost on every other occasion. Even before you start factoring in losses against Fulham, Swansea and Blackburn, it’s painfully clear not just that this is a team that has regressed, as you’d perhaps expect after the sale of Cesc, but one that’s been in regression since 08/09. If I had told you two years ago that Tomas Rosicky* would be an integral part of the team in 2012 you’d have been very astonished.

(*Not because I particularly dislike him, or think he’s awful, but we surely all know what he is and isn’t capable of.)

I’ve felt since the summer that this season represents a moment of genuine existential crisis for Arsenal. Which sounds poncey, but I mean it in the literal sense: what does Arsenal exist to do? Is it just to harvest cash from the Champions League group stages, thereby ensuring we’re a profitable far-flung outpost in our American owner’s middling sporting empire? If so, how depressing.

There are several other arguments routinely trotted out to explain why Champions League qualification is vital for the club…

1) “Without the Champions League we’ll find it impossible to keep our best players!”
There’s truth here: not qualifying will certainly make it harder to keep the Van Persies and Vermaelens, but the reality is Arsenal has lost its best players year after year while qualifying for the Champions League. I’ve no doubt it’s a lure, but it clearly isn’t a magnetic enough one on its own.

2) “Without the Champions League we’ll find it impossible to buy the best players!”
There are a couple of responses to this. Firstly, we’ve never shopped from the kind of shelf that players like Hazard and Götze currently sit on. Either would cost in excess of £30m – more than double our record transfer fee. Perhaps the penny has dropped, and this summer we’ll embark on a vastly expensive buying spree. Ask yourself if that really feels likely though. Secondly, many of the kind of players we have signed I would argue would have come to Arsenal regardless – for the wages, the history of the club, living in London, the chance to work with Arsene and any other number of factors. Or do you really expect me to believe we couldn’t have signed Santos, Koscielny or Squillaci without the guarantee of Champions League football? Mertesacker was in a team flirting with relegation. Chamakh was being realistically linked with West Ham. Arsenal, even without Europe, was an upgrade.

(Incidentally, Suarez and Modric both signed for clubs not playing in the Champions League. Deals can be done if you’re savvy and willing to spend.)

I find it a depressing indictment of the amateur accountants we’ve all become that when you start talking about the importance of the Champions League no-one ever gives “because we might win it” as the answer to why it’s so cherished. No surprise, perhaps, given that in 14 years of qualification we’ve only been eliminated at the final and semi-final stages once each. Valencia, with two sets of runners-up medals, arguably have a better record.

No, the reason the Champions League is so important to us, is financial. On Monday the ever-diligent Arsenal Supporters Trust will publish a paper setting out exactly how important qualification is to Arsenal’s books. I don’t doubt they’re right (even if I will probably have to self-harm in the toilets at work while reading it.)

More interesting, I suspect, will be the club’s next set of accounts, which are expected to show significant profit. The reaction to that is easy enough to predict. We can and should debate the manager’s position, but the scale of rebuilding job – bear in mind that something still has to be done with Vela, Bendtner, Denilson et al(munia) – means we also need to start asking serious questions about the owner’s intentions and commitment. Arguably we ought to have been asking them forcefully much earlier.

For me, Kroenke looks like the wrong man at the wrong time. We might have been able to muddle through with his sort of ownership, which is seemingly based on not investing a penny and assuming Arsene would work miracles ad infinitum, if Utd were our only competitor. But this is a post Mansour/Abramovich world. We’re trying to fight men armed with laser guns using a matchlock pistol. That plan was never going to be sustainable in the long-term.

(For a start, I’d prefer we at least armed Pat Rice with a Kalashnikov.)

We live in a free market economy and Arsenal is a non-quoted PLC, so my views on the ownership count for nothing more than my ability to withdraw my ticket money. In fact one fan suggested that’s what I should do if I’m unhappy and I suppose he’s right, but again it’s depressing to be reduced to mere consumers whose only right of redress is to reject the thing they love.

According to this year’s Deloitte Football Money League, we’re the 5th most cash generative club in the world. We are almost entirely self-sustainable fan-funded. But what happens if the team keeps declining? What happens if we don’t qualify for Europe at all? And if the season ticket waiting list really starts to shrink?

Does Stan Kroenke have the answer to these questions? Is he even aware of the level of discontent? What kind of manager does he think should eventually replace Arsene? Will it have to be another nickel and dimer? Does Kroenke even watch the games? Could he name our starting back four next week? (Trick question: no one could these days.)

I’ve don’t know, because I know almost nothing about the man. No club ‘deserves’ silverware, but Arsenal does deserve an owner for whom Arsenal is their #1 priority. It should be the first thing they think about in the morning and the last thing when they go to bed. Given the breadth and location of his other interests it’s impossible to think that’s the case with Kroenke. So I’m worried. That’s what this is: me worrying about the long-term future of the club. It’s not about trophies. I’ll still support if we never win anything again. And it certainly isn’t a cry for Usmanov to come in either. But what I’m trying to do with this brainspill is to say all this is the kind of stuff we should be debating now. Politely. Logically.

I’m not interested in being told we have to wait until the end of the season to have the discussion. Because after that it’ll be, ‘Well, we have to wait until the end of the transfer window to evaluate’. And then the cycle starts all over again. I’m terrified by the amount of work which needs to be done at Arsenal and how long it might take, especially if as seems likely we lose the skipper. The side requires transformative change, not tweaking, but there is a kernel of exciting young players in place. Wilshere, Ramsey, Miyaichi, Coquelin and Chamberlain – the poor bastard who none of the seniors saw fit to console either after the OG or at full-time. On Wednesday night I felt embarrassed and numb. Now I feel worried. Because when this man is starting to make sense, you know you’ve really lost the plot.

– TDC

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Re: Sunderland 2-0 Arsenal: Let The Autopsy Begin

Post by Marko Maksimović on Sun Feb 19, 2012 1:30 pm

Agreed with everything he's said. Good find Mario!

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Re: Sunderland 2-0 Arsenal: Let The Autopsy Begin

Post by Michael Schatzky on Sun Feb 19, 2012 2:10 pm

Mario Leontiou wrote:

We live in a free market economy and Arsenal is a non-quoted PLC, so my views on the ownership count for nothing more than my ability to withdraw my ticket money. In fact one fan suggested that’s what I should do if I’m unhappy and I suppose he’s right, but again it’s depressing to be reduced to mere consumers whose only right of redress is to reject the thing they love.

A

– TDC

Good article, good points throughout , thanks for posting Mario.
I know what I want from Arsenal, as emotionally based as it is, but what do the owners and board want? It's all mere speculation.
Kroenke bought the club on the cusp of Arsenal paying off it's debts and starting to turn into a cash making machine. I'm sure I can assume he wants on-field success as well. But trying to divine how much he wants it is futile.
I'm left trying to interpret quotes from Peter Hill Wood , the old windbag, stating that Arsenal have "contingency" plans if we don't qualify for the CL next year.
What does that mean? That Arsenal have plans to keep the revenue flowing , ie monies for them , and ensure that we remain mildly competitive? Or that Arsenal have a plan to try to quickly return to the CL and try to win the league as well.
I do not doubt Wengers' desire to win , I just doubt his capacity to do so anymore. This is his team, this is his squad. Kroenke has said Wenger has the job for life if he wants it.
Who will pressure him to change his ways if the "ways" aren't working? It's the same principle as getting better performances out of starters by having squad members chomping at the bit.
So what exactly is the point of Benayoun if he can't get a game ahead of an overtired, half crocked Ramsey? Or if Arshavin can't come in to play behind RVP instead of Walcott at CF?. Or making use of Chamakh as a target man, or Park or ...

If it's alright for the board and owners to regress to mediocrity with Wenger in charge as long as the money comes in , then all you can do is not pay to watch Arsenal until they start to lose money.
But what do I know about what is going on ?

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Re: Sunderland 2-0 Arsenal: Let The Autopsy Begin

Post by John Foxall on Sun Feb 19, 2012 3:33 pm

The reality is staring us in the face. Here's today's post from Goodplaya, who never minces his words:

It is time for Arsene to go. Now.

FOR many years writing the statement above would have caused my fingers to flinch.

No longer.

The time has evidently come for Arsene to go. He is by no means the only one to blame and of course replacing him won’t make everything OK.

Of course, the players who yesterday appeared happy to amble while their opponents chased everything should not be absolved of their responsibility, nor the board who seem so adrift from reality. Yet irrespective of what the truth of our transfer business is (and I haven’t yet seen it properly explained), the manager appears incapable of getting anything like what he should be getting out of what he has got.

The manager has seemingly lost all ability to put us on back on track after a setback. Yes, I know we responded well to adversity against Villa in the last round but that was the exception rather than the norm. We know the pattern all too well: that tame defeat will be followed by tame defeat. One of the things that, for me, marks Alex Ferguson out after all these years is that when his sides do lose, you’d always back them to win in their next big game.

The opposite is true of us.

And you know what else? Following Arsenal is boring at the moment. It is stale, repetitive, uninteresting, predictable. Not simply because we are not being successful but because season after the season the same failings are repeated, except ever more acutely.

We’ve become fourth place junkies. You know I’d rather we didn’t get it because every year we do get it, it is as though actually everything is OK when in fact it is not.

The club is constipated. It needs change and I think it needs it now. I can’t really see what the point is in sticking with Arsene til the end of the season. If we don’t get fourth place, so be it. Life will carry on.

As it is, the next two home games are almost a perfect storm: a rampant Spurs come to the Emirates next Sunday. Realistically, they must be favourites. Then it is Milan. Maybe we’ll beat Spurs and salvage pride against Milan. But surely it is only delaying the inevitable?

It is not that Arsene Wenger risks sullying his long term record. Its glory is secure and the last seven years will be an easily forgotten footnote to the magnificence of what went before. Magnificence that I will always be grateful to Arsene for providing.

But it would be sad to see his departure become unnecessarily acrimonious.
Let’s get on with it.

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Re: Sunderland 2-0 Arsenal: Let The Autopsy Begin

Post by Chris Chan on Sun Feb 19, 2012 4:26 pm

Following Arsenal is boring at the moment. It is stale, repetitive, uninteresting, predictable. Not simply because we are not being successful but because season after the season the same failings are repeated, except ever more acutely.

this

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Re: Sunderland 2-0 Arsenal: Let The Autopsy Begin

Post by nick koupparis on Sun Feb 19, 2012 10:29 pm

[quote
It is time for Arsene to go.

Alisher Usmanov, the Uzbek billionaire and Arsenal shareholder, has laid the blame for the team's failure to win any trophies in the last six seasons at the door of the club's board.

The 57-year-old, who is not an Arsenal director even though he owns almost 30% of Arsenal Holdings, believes self-interest among the board members is stymieing the club's chances of on-field success.

Usmanov also said that there would need to be a switch in emphasis if he is to end up on the board. He told the News of the World: "If the role of a board member is to oversee a trophyless period while making significant personal profits and asking fans to pay inflation-busting ticket price increases then, no, I would not want to be on the board.

"If instead it is to try to deliver sustained success, to increase your personal investment in the club, to help develop the commercial position and to ensure the fans have a say in the running of the club then, yes, I think I certainly have something to contribute.

"In terms of doing things differently, let me give you a very clear example. Arsenal has all of its major commercial contracts coming up for renewal in the next couple of years. It's no secret that to maximise the value of those you want to have success on the field and be winning trophies. To do that you need to invest now in building a winning team. This is simple commercial logic. Whether it comes to pass, we shall see."

Arsenal's season collapsed following their Carling Cup final defeat to Birmingham in February, with their challenges in the Champions League, FA Cup and Premier League all crumbling.

Usmanov is of the opinion that the manager Arsène Wenger needs to be given the financial backing to bring in experienced players to complement the talented young players they have.


Last edited by nick koupparis on Sun Feb 19, 2012 11:07 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Addendum)

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Re: Sunderland 2-0 Arsenal: Let The Autopsy Begin

Post by Zaid Derweesh on Mon Feb 20, 2012 3:09 am

Great post.

On Usmanov, his timing is devious, but he's right - if we want to be in a strong position when it comes to renew commercial contracts, you want to have a winning team. Not a team in freefall. Which is what we are right now. Some investment now would go a long way. We need a radical overhaul, and we won't get one.

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Re: Sunderland 2-0 Arsenal: Let The Autopsy Begin

Post by vyom.chaudhary on Mon Feb 20, 2012 5:55 am

nick koupparis wrote:[quote
It is time for Arsene to go.

Alisher Usmanov, the Uzbek billionaire and Arsenal shareholder, has laid the blame for the team's failure to win any trophies in the last six seasons at the door of the club's board.

The 57-year-old, who is not an Arsenal director even though he owns almost 30% of Arsenal Holdings, believes self-interest among the board members is stymieing the club's chances of on-field success.

Usmanov also said that there would need to be a switch in emphasis if he is to end up on the board. He told the News of the World: "If the role of a board member is to oversee a trophyless period while making significant personal profits and asking fans to pay inflation-busting ticket price increases then, no, I would not want to be on the board.

"If instead it is to try to deliver sustained success, to increase your personal investment in the club, to help develop the commercial position and to ensure the fans have a say in the running of the club then, yes, I think I certainly have something to contribute.

"In terms of doing things differently, let me give you a very clear example. Arsenal has all of its major commercial contracts coming up for renewal in the next couple of years. It's no secret that to maximise the value of those you want to have success on the field and be winning trophies. To do that you need to invest now in building a winning team. This is simple commercial logic. Whether it comes to pass, we shall see."

Arsenal's season collapsed following their Carling Cup final defeat to Birmingham in February, with their challenges in the Champions League, FA Cup and Premier League all crumbling.

Usmanov is of the opinion that the manager Arsène Wenger needs to be given the financial backing to bring in experienced players to complement the talented young players they have.

I believe this quote is from last year.Does News of the World exists anymore??

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Re: Sunderland 2-0 Arsenal: Let The Autopsy Begin

Post by Jonathan Prendergast on Mon Feb 20, 2012 6:31 am

I think a lot of red herrings are being thrown in.

Does it really matter if we have some crap players to get rid of? Isn't it more important to bring in better players to push those players further away from the first team?

Is anyone really saying 'wait until may before you judge'? I think people are pointing out that we are still 4th, so despite being poor this season, it is not a disaster just yet.

Also, as far as I understand, the owners don't take dividends? So what is Usmanov referring to? The increase in value of the shares?

I don't think we need an overhaul, dissolution of the board, change of ownership or manager. I think we need to sign 2 to 3 experienced winners. So next time we have a few injuries, or things don't go our way, they will pull the team over the line. But everytime we start to consider who we could buy, we realise that it would mean a dramatic change to wages at the club. A change that could quickly double our wage costs. It's a tough position for our club, but I think Wenger is the man most likely to achieve success in such circumstances.

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Re: Sunderland 2-0 Arsenal: Let The Autopsy Begin

Post by nick koupparis on Mon Feb 20, 2012 7:19 am

vyom.chaudhary wrote:
nick koupparis wrote:[quote
It is time for Arsene to go.

Alisher Usmanov, the Uzbek billionaire and Arsenal shareholder, has laid the blame for the team's failure to win any trophies in the last six seasons at the door of the club's board.

The 57-year-old, who is not an Arsenal director even though he owns almost 30% of Arsenal Holdings, believes self-interest among the board members is stymieing the club's chances of on-field success.

Usmanov also said that there would need to be a switch in emphasis if he is to end up on the board. He told the News of the World: "If the role of a board member is to oversee a trophyless period while making significant personal profits and asking fans to pay inflation-busting ticket price increases then, no, I would not want to be on the board.

"If instead it is to try to deliver sustained success, to increase your personal investment in the club, to help develop the commercial position and to ensure the fans have a say in the running of the club then, yes, I think I certainly have something to contribute.

"In terms of doing things differently, let me give you a very clear example. Arsenal has all of its major commercial contracts coming up for renewal in the next couple of years. It's no secret that to maximise the value of those you want to have success on the field and be winning trophies. To do that you need to invest now in building a winning team. This is simple commercial logic. Whether it comes to pass, we shall see."

Arsenal's season collapsed following their Carling Cup final defeat to Birmingham in February, with their challenges in the Champions League, FA Cup and Premier League all crumbling.

Usmanov is of the opinion that the manager Arsène Wenger needs to be given the financial backing to bring in experienced players to complement the talented young players they have.

I believe this quote is from last year.Does News of the World exists anymore??

Yes it's an old quote - but I think time has given it more force - the contrast between silent Stan & Usmanove ...
Leads me to believe that the latter is more in tune with the majority of fans.

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Re: Sunderland 2-0 Arsenal: Let The Autopsy Begin

Post by John Foxall on Tue Feb 21, 2012 3:57 pm

Jonathan Wilson's column in Sports Illustrated:

Wenger and Arsenal's decline due to idealism or fundamentalism?

Read more: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/soccer/news/20120220/wenger/#ixzz1n20HeZJO

There is probably no better account of a leader in decline than the depiction Gabriel Garcia Marquez gives of the final days of Simon Bolivar in The General in his Labyrinth. The great liberator is seen as exhausted and paranoid, clinging ever more desperately to the doctrines that made him great even as he drifts down the Magdalena toward death. Soccer managers tend not to have sufficient longevity for their decline to achieve such an epic feel, but the protracted misery of Arsene Wenger does. All great men, perhaps, are doomed to slide into self-parody.

The early Wenger was a pragmatist. He had what, at the time in England, were idiosyncratic views on nutrition (which can be summarized briefly thus: broccoli good; beer bad), but he recognized what he had inherited in the legendary back four (Lee Dixon, Tony Adams, Steve Bould and Nigel Winterburn), and used that as a base as he won the league in his first full season. The title in 1997-98, lest we forget was won on the back of an improbable run of 12 clean sheets in 14 games. That Arsenal was as implacably remorseless as anything delivered by Herbert Chapman or George Graham, whose methods were more overtly results-driven.

As time has passed, though, as he had success and began to be revered as a guru in his own right, Wenger has become increasingly insistent on playing his way, which is to say in a manner that delights the eye but seems almost to regard defending as distasteful. There was a period four or five years ago, as Sol Campbell creaked to the end, when it seemed that Wenger heard the calls for a new center back and a new holding midfielder and decided willfully to ignore them as though to assert the supremacy of his method over the ideas of outsiders. Only now, as the reluctance to bring in new talent goes on, does the possibility that he was acting under severe financial restrictions become credible.

Defeat to Sunderland in the FA Cup on Saturday, sounding the knell on what is likely a seventh straight season without a trophy, seemed particularly cruel, for Sunderland, at least since Martin O'Neill took over, is precisely what Arsenal is not. It is a band of moderately talented players who are supremely organized and highly committed, a side for whom, at the moment, it's sufficient to say, "We'll stop you playing," because such is its confidence and sense of purpose that an even game is a won game. Look at the individuals in Arsenal's lineup and imagine them playing with the same ferocity as Sunderland; it might not win the league, but the top four would be guaranteed.

The problem is that Arsenal -- that is, Arsenal the psychological emanation as formed by fans, directors and journalists -- cannot look beyond its own decline. Sunderland is fired by thoughts of what could be, while Arsenal cannot but look at Mikel Arteta and remember Cesc Fabregas. It cannot but look at Tomas Rosicky and recall Samir Nasri. And that's if it's only employing short-term memory. Sebastian Squillacci or Sol Campbell? Andrey Arshavin or Robert Pires? Kieran Gibbs or Ashley Cole?

The Arsenal project was idealistic and it was predicated on success. Stay here, it said to players, and you may not make the best money in the world, but you will win trophies in a thrilling style. Mathieu Flamini was the first to call Wenger's bluff, leaving for AC Milan in 2008. Until then, those who had left Arsenal had gone at Wenger's behest, either because they weren't good enough or because they were at the peak of their market valuation. Flamini went, though, despite Wenger, seeing better money and a greater chance of success elsewhere. He was the first of a wave and as Nasri, Kolo Toure, Fabregas and Gael Clichy have departed so the possibility of the sort of success that would keep other gifted players at the club recedes. Robin van Persie will turn 29 in the summer; can he be blamed if he seeks silverware elsewhere?

Wenger, meanwhile, retreating further into his bunker, recites the mantra about financial doping and keeping the club in the black. And it's true: to qualify regularly for the Champions League while spending as little as he has done is astonishing. But idealism has its limits; sometimes holes have to be filled. If Wenger really is refusing to spend when money is available, then he has ceased to be an idealist and has become a fundamentalist.

If, though, as seems more likely, the money is not available, and he is sticking to a budget given to him from the board, then that in itself raises questions. The move to the Emirates Stadium in 2006 was supposed to generate the funds that could allow Arsenal to compete with the very best -- even if it meant short-term retrenchment while interest on the loan was paid off. Recent figures suggested that Arsenal's matchday revenue is so great that in two games it outstrips what Sunderland makes in a season. Yet that money is not being spent. Why? Because of Wenger's ideals? Or because the owner, Stan Kroenke, is refusing to release it?

The signings Wenger made late in the transfer window -- Andre Santos, Per Mertesacker, Mikel Arteta, Park Chu Young -- were depressing because they were neither one thing nor the other: neither the sort of fresh young talent Wenger could mould (until they sought trophies and better wages three years down the line) nor the proven talent of the absolute highest level that could yet salvage the project.

Saturday's loss was a shambolic display -- poor defensively, as Arsenal have regularly been of late, and lacking conviction, as though the players looked at a bumpy pitch, felt the icy whip of the wind off the North Sea and decided it wasn't for them. There has always been a trace of that tendency in Arsenal's purism but lack of motivation now seems a more general problem, of which Arshavin is the embodiment.

Arsenal might still be fourth, a remarkable achievement in the circumstances, but the capitulation at Fulham and Saturday's limp display -- as well as the more obvious humiliation at Old Trafford -- show a team for whom mental weakness has become not merely a flaw but a defining trait. What's worse is that the philosophy on which Wenger's Arsenal was based now seems unworkable.

Jonathan Wilson is the author of Inverting the Pyramid; Behind the Curtain; Sunderland: A Club Transformed; and The Anatomy of England. Editor of The Blizzard.

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Re: Sunderland 2-0 Arsenal: Let The Autopsy Begin

Post by ralph avedikian on Tue Feb 21, 2012 4:35 pm

''Arsenal's matchday revenue is so great that in two games it outstrips what Sunderland makes in a season. Yet that money is not being spent. Why? Because of Wenger's ideals? Or because the owner, Stan Kroenke, is refusing to release it?''

We need to know the answer to that before judging Wenger.

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Re: Sunderland 2-0 Arsenal: Let The Autopsy Begin

Post by John Foxall on Tue Feb 21, 2012 5:30 pm

ralph avedikian wrote:''Arsenal's matchday revenue is so great that in two games it outstrips what Sunderland makes in a season. Yet that money is not being spent. Why? Because of Wenger's ideals? Or because the owner, Stan Kroenke, is refusing to release it?''

We need to know the answer to that before judging Wenger.

But Wenger is not just being judged on the financial resources that available to him. Supporters rarely have a complete understanding of why a club is doing well or doing badly, but we are able to judge performances on the pitch at the very least. It is on these stale performances that he should be judged, first and foremost.

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Re: Sunderland 2-0 Arsenal: Let The Autopsy Begin

Post by ralph avedikian on Tue Feb 21, 2012 6:25 pm

My point was that if all that Wenger can spend is what he is spending, he is doing great, if he has more money but he is too stubborn to spend then he should leave.

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Re: Sunderland 2-0 Arsenal: Let The Autopsy Begin

Post by John Foxall on Tue Feb 21, 2012 6:30 pm

ralph avedikian wrote:My point was that if all that Wenger can spend is what he is spending, he is doing great, if he has more money but he is too stubborn to spend then he should leave.

But only if you decide to judge him on this one criteria as though it was the "magic all or nothing criteria". Just look at what Martin O'Neill is doing at Sunderland. Getting more out of the pot is what is needed, not the bare minimum.

I find it hard to believe that fans can accept the money argument. We have spent plenty of money, albeit not as much as the other clubs. There were seasons when we far outplayed other sides (ex. Chelsea in 07/08, Manchester City in 10/11) yet finished behind them due to collapses. Why is money irrelevant in the first two-thirds of the season but not in the last third. These arguments just don't hold up.

I expect the eternal response: "But who could do better on this money?" My answer would be that a) we can't find out if we don't move on, b) we're not advancing as it is, we're badly stagnating, c) this is hardly a project that will encourage players to join and perpetuate the famous 'business model' that is so dear to the club. We have to show promise of something better, that is so clearly not possible under the repetitive disappointment of our recent seasons.

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Re: Sunderland 2-0 Arsenal: Let The Autopsy Begin

Post by ralph avedikian on Tue Feb 21, 2012 6:34 pm

Well, everyone rages on here about how we are a mid-table club without RVP.
(not that i agree). So if we do finish in the top 4 Wenger would have got more of the pot.

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Re: Sunderland 2-0 Arsenal: Let The Autopsy Begin

Post by John Foxall on Tue Feb 21, 2012 6:41 pm

I don't follow. If Wenger achieved a top 4 finish without RvP that might be some sort of achievement. With RvP and with Liverpool and Chelsea struggling I don't see it as any particular achievement. We'd be the least mediocre of the lot.

As for this 'top 4' nonsense. It really can't be used as an alternative achievement every year. Most of our exits from the FA cup since 2005 have been mediocre, embarrassing or annoying to fans (think of the games we haven't targeted and sent B sides out in.)

I for one think the league is our bread and better. Doing well (improving on previous years for example) in that bodes well for other competitions. All this focus on top 4 is the world upside down for reasons of 'financial stability', not something I get too excited about, and yet another excuse to deflect from actual lack of success. The idea of the European Cup was that the best in each league would compete in it, not use it to sustain themselves financially. Look at how Napoli are approaching it this year - all or nothing. Sure, they probably won't get back in it next year but they're living in the present. Always thinking about the future makes no sense. A manager must find other ways to make the team improve now rather than blame it on partially accurate statements. When he uses Chelsea's riches as an excuse for why we can't compete, does he also mention the impact their incompetent owner's interventions have had on their sustainability in recent seasons? Of course not. He's interested in making points to his benefit, not on giving the full picture.

Imo he should take the France job. One last hurrah then retire after the world cup in 2014.

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Re: Sunderland 2-0 Arsenal: Let The Autopsy Begin

Post by ralph avedikian on Tue Feb 21, 2012 6:49 pm

I agree with everything and with this 'top 4 is an achievement' thing but I don't think we can realistically challenge for the league unless we have money to spend on big players.

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Re: Sunderland 2-0 Arsenal: Let The Autopsy Begin

Post by John Foxall on Tue Feb 21, 2012 6:59 pm

I would accept a visible improvement of some kind!

This does not include an improvement within one season. These happen within the cycles of individual seasons and the overall improvements can only be judged at the end of the season. Only once have I seen such an improvement since we last won the title, in 07/08. That side should have won the title, questions of money aside!

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Re: Sunderland 2-0 Arsenal: Let The Autopsy Begin

Post by Sami Rockfeller on Wed Feb 22, 2012 2:53 am

ralph avedikian wrote:I agree with everything and with this 'top 4 is an achievement' thing but I don't think we can realistically challenge for the league unless we have money to spend on big players.

I don't see how that matters. What about the years when we did have a good squad and still did not manage to win? We were leading the table for most of last season and yet we crashed and burned towards the end. It is easy to blame everything on our (supposed) mediocre budget but the fact is our manager hasn't been able to get the best out of all our players these past few years, add to that selling of our best players and we have the perfect formula of how not to win stuff.

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