Saturday - March 25, 2017
Home    About    Writers    Links    Contact     RSS

About the Author

Bobby McMahon

Bobby McMahon

You can see me on Soccer Central most Mondays and Thursdays on Rogers Sportsnet in Canada. I write a regular column for Forbes.com and Soccerly.com and frequently guest on various podcasts and radio shows.


TANGENTS

Chelsea Stock Drops, Crouch Highlight Reel, Wigan’s Hole, Oh Canada – Oh Dear USA, Cannon Fodder + More

Written by on March 25, 2012 | 64 Comments »
Posted in General

Chelsea are still alive in the FA Cup and Champions League but they are in a precarious position in the Premier League as far as a top four finish is concerned. A scoreless draw at Stamford Bridge with Spurs means they are still five points behind their London rivals who currently sit in the cherished fourth spot. However, they are now eight points adrift of Arsenal in third.

Chelsea still has to visit Emirates but we already know that Chelsea will record their lowest points total of the Abramovich-era. The maximum they can reach is 74 points by winning all their remaining matches. Spurs had the edge on Saturday and Chelsea fans will be bitterly disappointed that their side only created one goal scoring opportunity in the Spurs penalty box in the entire game.

Arsenal made it seven straight wins in the Premier League for the first time since 2007. They rarely looked troubled against an abjectly poor Aston Villa team and strolled to a 3-0 win. The question facing the Gunners is now that they have hauled  themselves into third and also enjoy some points-padding can they handle the rising expectations of their fans?  Or is there another fade to black left in this season for Arsenal?

Peter Crouch’s goal against Manchester City was not just one of the goals of the season but one of the best goals you will see anytime, anywhere. It was stunning and as close to unstoppable as you are ever likely to find.  

Is there anyone out there who thinks Wolves are going to survive? Only one win since early December and six points adrift in last place. A telling stat – only two of their last eight games are against relegation rivals. One is next week at home to Bolton.

Two very big wins for relegation threatened clubs Bolton and Wigan. A loss to a recently revived Blackburn side would have left Bolton 8 points behind Blackburn. As it is the 2-1 win narrows the gap to just two with the Rovers and Bolton has a game in hand against Aston Villa. The score line was a repeat of the game earlier in the season and again we saw Bolton jump into a 2-0 lead by half time.

I have no idea if Roberto Martinez has a current book in the works but if he does it might be titled “Fixing a Hole.” Wigan’s 2-1 win at Anfield was only their second in their last 15 Premier League matches. With eight games left Wigan are three points and an inferior goal difference away from safety. The remaining schedule is tough – half of their games are against sides currently in the top six. But, they have pulled it off before and the win against Liverpool might be the start of another late rally.

Alessandro del Piero has spent most of this season on the Juventus bench. But when called upon by Antonio Conte this week Del Piero delivered. A goal against Milan in the Coppa Italia semi final second leg helped send Juventus through to the final against Napoli. Then on Sunday he was on the score sheet again when he finished of a beautiful set up by Arturo Vidal to give Juve a 2-0 win over Inter. Yeah for the old guys!

Delete. Delete. Delete. That is the various Toronto FC scribes recanting early season optimism about the team’s chances in 2012. Poor organization presented San Joe Earthquakes with a first half lead and the Quakes then added two more in the second half. Torsten Frings was missing through injury and Danny Koevermans only entered the game at the start of the second half. As was pointed out at the end of last season the jury is very much out on whether Aron Winter has engineered a team wide improvement or simply upgraded the side by spending money on two very good designated players.

The Olympic qualifying tournament has not gone as expected  – so far anyway. Canada beat the USA 2-0 on Saturday evening with both goals coming from corner kicks. This win came after a opening game draw with El Salvador and puts Canada in the drivers seat after two rounds of group play. Canada and El Salvador are tied on four points while the USA has three. The good news for Canada is that they play Cuba in the last game and Cuba have been the whipping boys of the group so far. The objective is to be to avoid a cross over match with Mexico in the semi final stage. Canada may achieve just that while the USA is no longer in a position to be fussy about a last four opponent. Only the two semi-final winners  move on to the 2012 Olympics.

Chivas USA pulled off the biggest upset of the third weekend of MLS play when they traveled to Real Salt Lake and left with a 1-0 win. Rio Tinto Stadium has been a fortress for Real Salt Lake in past seasons but Chivas nicked a goal through Casey Townsend and picked up their first win of the season. 

Joe Cannon pulled off a remarkable save for the Vancouver Whitecaps against DC United. From a corner kick delivery Salihi’s header was close to perfect  – on target and downwards. Cannon got down and scooped  the ball up and away before a defender finally cleared the danger. Phenomenal stuff from the Whitecaps keeper.

For Newcastle it has been a case of trying to catch a second wind over the last few weeks. A 5-0 thrashing from Spurs in mid-February was a particular low point. Now back-to-back wins against Norwich and West Brom has Newcastle tied on points with 5th placed Chelsea and they only trail on goal difference. They have an 8 point lead on Liverpool who visit next weekend.

Two goals from Zlatan Ibrahimovic turned around a 1-0 lead for Roma into a 2-1 win for Milan. It ensured that going into the quarter final round of the UEFA Champions League Milan retain a four point lead atop Serie A.  However, they lost the services of centre-back Thiago Silva for the next few weeks and that is a major setback and potential game-changer.

Who are your winners and loser from this weekend’s action?

You can get updates through RSS (top of the page), follow at Twitter BobbySoccerRep, or on Facebook SoccerReportExtra.com

You can also find other Soccer Report Extra.com contributors on Twitter by following this link.

Have some thoughts and opinions you want to express?  The Training Ground is your chance. Just click on the link.


64 responses to “Chelsea Stock Drops, Crouch Highlight Reel, Wigan’s Hole, Oh Canada – Oh Dear USA, Cannon Fodder + More”

  1. Jay houdini says:

    Hatem Ben Arfa: getting more starting time, scoring and assisting more goals. Increases a chance for a spot on France’s national team.

  2. Jay – good one. He was running riot yesterday.

  3. Erik says:

    Winner: MM – since he and Wolves parted company Wolves have looked worse and worse while MM not being a part of the debacle makes him look better and better

    Loser: RSL. Let me see if I have this right…….You beat the defending MLS Champs Opening Night at their place then you lose a home game to a P.O.S. team like Chivas? Not GOOD!

    Winner: Bolton – both on the pitch and off. On – beating Blackburn. Off – how awesome was it seeing the “Muamba” in the stands before the game!

    Loser: Roberto Di Matteo’s chances to turn interim into full-time. Unless he wins the CL he won’t get the full-time job unless he gets Chelsea into the 2012-13 CL and that doesn’t look likely.

    Winner: Man Utd – even though they didn’t play. City not getting 3 points means WHEN the Devils win today they will be 3 points up and narrow the GD even more and 1 look at the remaining sked for both – United will make it 20 by May 13.

    Loser” Inter Milan. Anyone remember when they were the best team in Italy? After losing 3-0 @ Juve I can’t seem to recall that, either?

    Winner: Wigan and Roberto Martinez. Right now Brendan Rogers is a LOCK for EPL MOY – taking a side most had finishing no higher than 19th (With most having them 20th – present company included) and one who will be staying up and mid finish mid-table. BUT – if Martinez somehow keeps Wigan UP (Don’t think he will but if he does) he deserves Manager of the Century!

  4. fabr04 says:

    Agree with Erik on Mick McCarthy. If he had stayed Wolves probably would have gone down anyway. Now, all MM has to do is collect his payout, give gracious interviews, and let the pundits talk about how much worse Wolves are since MM left.

    Loser: Owen Coyle, for telling the media that Fabrice Muamba dozed off while watching the Bolton-Blackburn match. Now Coyle knows how the rest of us feel! Why didn’t he put on the Real Madrid match?

  5. fabr04 says:

    Forgot to mention:

    Winner: Kenny Dalglish. Because even with losses to QPR and Wigan, even though his club is closer to 14th than 6th, even though he behaved disgracefully in the Suarez incident(s), even though he squandered a hundred million pounds on British talent (sic) last offseason, he STILL has the fans in his corner. He could rob a bank and Liverpool fans would say the bank was asking for it.

    Winner: Tony Pulis. 29 goals in 30 games…and nowhere near relegation. Alchemy.

    Winner: Arsene Wenger. As an Arsenal fan, I had begun to hope for a sort of “Ben Tre” season – destroy the village in order to save it – but it looks like Arsenal will cling to yet another CL season, which will enable Wenger to perpetuate his “4th place is a trophy” myth.

  6. J Rob says:

    FABR04

    Maybe you didn’t hear the booing at Anfield on Saturday. If you read the LFC boards there are lots of disenchanted fans. And most of their disenchantment is over the signings of CHAD (Carroll, Henderson, Adam and Downing).

    Here’s a small FYI. Liverpool’s net spend since FSG took over is closer to 40 Million and at the same time 30 Million has been taken off LFC’s payroll. Added to expanded commercial deals and a new kit deal it would seem LFC like Arsenal are starting to factor in Financial Fair Play already.

  7. Doug says:

    Impressive results for Canada, whose goalkeeper Misiewicz has been excellent.

  8. Erik says:

    Doug – TYVM for reminding me I left one out

    Loser: The 2012 London Olympics……….Unless something radical happens USA OR Mexico will be playing not USA AND Mexico and that won’t be good for London. Won’t be disastrous but won’t be good.

    Loser: Chelsea IF they are seriously going to make a run at Ronaldo for money so incomprehensible it is ludicrous to bring up. I guess UEFA Financial Fair play doesn’t mean anything to them since they won’t be taking part in the CL next season anyway. Right now Chelsea is Pamela Anderson: They USED to be good and attractive but now they are both old and way past their prime and not very nice to look at. but still living on past glory of when they used to be something everyone wanted a part of.

  9. Soccerlogical says:

    Can someone please explain to me any logical reason for thinking Toronto should make the playoffs and even win a cup(other than their defeat of LA in CL)? Your not gonna be a major force when your DPs’ natural position is a deep lying mid.

    If anything, Vancouver are the only Canadian based team with adequate attacking and defensive options to be title contenders.

  10. Gus Keri says:

    Another loser is CONCACAF because of its stubbornness. They have never learned from their own history. Have we seen this USA vs. Mexico before?

    I wrote about it in detail in one of my previous articles here:

    http://www.soccerreportextra.com/international/world-cups/fifa-under-20-world-cup-does-fifa-really-care/

  11. John Bladen says:

    The ‘hang Wenger’ crowd from earlier this season have gone awfully quiet of late, haven’t they?

    It could be a late fade, Bobby. “On paper”, Arsenal still don’t look as good as a couple of the clubs they are above… but those clubs are playing very badly on the run in. Overachieving (given their level of talent) has it’s downside for gooners.

    TFC are still a very bad club (even when healthy). The only reason for optimism among fans is that Winter and his team have put structure and processes in place that will help the club build a competitive side. There is little to nothing in the present squad to indicate improvement this year, but at least there is a plan in place for the future – something that hadn’t been evident until Winter turned up.

  12. John Bladen says:

    FABR04:

    Dalglish does get ‘extra rope’ compared to almost any other manager… but it’s not an inexhaustible patience as others have pointed out.

    As I said when Hodgson was fired, Dalglish’s tenure ended unhappily last time and there’s no reason to expect any different in this tour. However, even I am a little surprised at how badly he’s managed both the personnel and finances at Anfield. When he “retires” this time, let’s hope it’s the last we see of him as an alleged top flight manager.

  13. “Dalglish’s tenure ended unhappily last time and there’s no reason to expect any different in this tour.” – hardly think the circumstances are the same. KD leaving in 91 had little or nothing to do with results.

  14. fabr04 says:

    @John Bladen – Dunno about “hang”, but I’m certainly in the “fire Wenger” camp. I didn’t enter that camp because of a few bad results and I won’t leave it because of a few good results. When we’re winning, if I voice my opinion people say “why are you always so negative” and if I don’t people say “what’s the matter – can’t admit you were wrong?”

    I’m glad we’re winning, but the only thing that will get me out of the “Fire Wenger” camp is if he chooses to pay market wages for top quality players this summer. Which he won’t – he’ll just say the market is inflated by the Euros and buy Remy or Ayew or Aubameyang or some other good-but-not-great French player.

  15. fabr04 says:

    @John Bladen – Dunno about “hang”, but I’m certainly in the “fire Wenger” camp. I didn’t enter that camp because of a few bad results and I won’t leave it because of a few good results. When we’re winning, if I voice my opinion people say “why are you always so negative” and if I don’t people say “what’s the matter – can’t admit you were wrong?”

    I’m glad we’re winning, but the only thing that will get me out of the “Fire Wenger” camp is if he chooses to pay market wages for top quality players this summer. Which he won’t – he’ll just say the market is inflated by the Euros and buy Remy or Ayew or Aubameyang or some other good-but-not-great French player.

  16. Ed Gomes says:

    Nothing’s changed in my Wenger opinion. I think he’s a very good manager but to be great you need silverware. Another underachieving campaign that somehow looks triumphant due to the CL spot. Seen it all before. The cupboard is still empty.

    Lamps supposedly came out and said that the players aren’t as good as they once were. This after stating how Chelsea needs to lean on the veterans. That’s rich. How about going back to the bench and let Mata run the offense.
    Then again as a Benfica fan I prefer Lamps out there. Don’t get me wrong, I respect the vets and fear the resolve but them being on the field is better for Benfica.

    Wenger should send Christmas gifts to Chelsea’s vets/ Abram, Dalglish, and Harry. The ring of incompetence.

    Its impossible for Wigan to stay up, no?

  17. Fabr04 – just like the good but not great players he signed in the past? Vieira, Petit, Anelka, Pires, Sagna, Clichy, Nasri, Henry.
    Are you telling me you thought they were great players when they signed?

  18. Ed Gomes – I really do wonder when Wenger will win something.

    Oh just a minute…3 league titles, 4 FA Cups (2 doubles), an unbeaten season, runners up in CL, I can see how these could slip someones mind. It seems that you haven’t seen it all before.

    Underachieving campaign? So where did you pick them to finish this season?

  19. Gus Keri says:

    Sorry for the Canadian fans but Cuba just did the USA a huge favor by drawing Canada 1-1. But will the USA take advantage?

  20. Gus Keri says:

    I should have congratulated Canada fans for their qualification to the semifinals. Sorry, I forgot.

  21. Soccerlogical says:

    Bobby – I think we all agree that Arsenal lost any hope of winning the title in the first 10 games of the season (mainly due to defensive injuries).

    Everyone knew that Cesc was leaving (hell, if Cronaldo got his way and left Manyoo where he actually won silverware). Nasri was tempted by cash and better chances to win silverware and EVERYONE KNEW ABOUT ARSENAL’S WEAK DEFENSE from last season.

    So considering all the changes, lack of ANY trophies (in the past decade) and top player’s like RvP’s heads being turned by other clubs…. how does any sensible fan not leave this season with a bad taste in their mouth?

    PS Wenger chizzling a few million and getting the injured Per and Santos as opposed to defenders who were already acclimated to the EPL was a “clever” move?

    PPS A side which everyone knows is already very good YET is being held back from becoming great due to one’s HUBRIS and thrift of a few extra million in the transfer market (when his new philosophy has proven unsuccessful for a few seasons now) is not appealing to any fan except those stuck up Wenger’s ARSEnal.

  22. Soccerlogical says:

    Oh yeah, congrats to Canada on defeating USA.

    Break out the Donair sauce!!!!! 🙂

  23. Gus Keri says:

    Forget about the USA vs Mexico semifinal. El Salvador is leading the US 2-1 at the half time and they looked the better side throughout the first half.
    The US is about to be eliminated. They looked horrible.

  24. fabr04 says:

    Bobby: No, I was thinking more along the lines of Gervinho, Koscielny, Chamakh, Diaby, Silvestre, Squillaci, etc.

    But more importantly, of the 8 names you mentioned, 6 were signed in 2003 or earlier. My biggest complaint about Wenger is that the soccer world has changed in the last 10 years and Wenger hasn’t. He’s managing (and scouting, and deal-making) as if it’s 2002. It is much, much harder to find diamonds in the rough now – there aren’t enough roughs. Everywhere and everyone has been scouted. Now more than ever, you get what you pay for.

  25. Astronomer says:

    It was a pretty toothless performance from Chelsea playing in front of home support. Tottenham looked more potent throughout the game and could — or rather should — have stolen all three points.

    Lampard again played the whole game. At current form, he is an absolute waste of space (i.e. a slot) in Chelsea’s midfield.

    Yes, he still has it in him to score the occasional goal (either deflected or undeflected), but hoping or wishing for that to happen is not enough justification to keep him on the field for 90 minutes.

  26. FABR04 – the fact that you list Koscielny in that group tells me all I need to know. Gervinho only serves to reaffirm.

  27. Gus Keri says:

    And the USA has been eliminated by the cruelest of bad luck.
    What a heart-break.
    After playing their best soccer of the tournament in the second half and come back to lead 3-2, they lost on the very last hopeful shot that Johnson deflected to his net.

  28. SL – Spend more money, spend more money. spend more money – you might want to check out Liverpool.

  29. Soccerlogical says:

    Bobby – A few million more for the seasoned EPL defenders like Samba, Cahil, Alex or Figueroa insstead of saving a few million on defenders from other leagues is hardly foolishly breaking the bank is it?

  30. SL – Few people would consider these players as great catches and certainly not game changers. My understanding is that Bolton accepted the same bid from Chelsea that they described as derisory when submitted by Arsenal for Cahill.
    Three players who have been part of teams with the four worst defensive records in the PL – Moneyball revisited?
    Alex – a high line in 30 yards from his own goal.

  31. Ed Gomes says:

    Bobby, I’m not screaming for Wenger/Arsenal to go out and spend money. What’s troublesome is that everyone saw the holes on this team but nothing was done. Actually everyone knew that Cesc was gone and Wenger/Arsenal had to know that Nasri was leaving as well, yet there was no preparedness for it.
    Ultimately I agree with you in regards to Arsenal having a successful season. But you can’t deny that a top 4 finish is always the goal and not a league title.
    In my opinion, Man United could be had this season, and Man City is still learning. Couple that with Chelsea turnover, oops no turnover, and Dalglish and Harry fiascos Arsenal can count its lucky stars for the CL spot instead of the title.

    I’m not an Arsenal fan, and admit that it’s fun to tweak their fans. As you says here seems to be two extremes when it comes to them. The we’re great and we’re doomed factions. Pointing out the obvious gets both riled up.

    Since I forgot before, my wish list for relegation;
    QPR: due to Hughes
    Blackburn: Owners
    Wolves or Villa: see above

    Not that it would matter since they would ignore it anyway, but it would be great if Chelsea dropped out of European futebol completely.

    Is it safe to assume that Harry will take the England job after the season. He’ll steal more money for less work,

  32. “What’s troublesome is that everyone saw the holes on this team but nothing was done.” So what holes still exist?

  33. Soccerlogical says:

    Bobby – So you believe purchases of EPL defender like Cahill, Alex, Figueroa, Enrique, Johnson, Dan, etc and properly implementing a plan B (Benayoun, Park, Chamakh) during summer training camp would NOT have been the better option for an Arsenal side going into a season fighting on all fronts?

  34. You are now arguing two different positions than the one you started with – something you have a tendency to do when you have been rumbled.

  35. Soccerlogical says:

    How so?

    I am asking you to address my argument regarding Wenger’s defensive “options” (keeping Squollaci and Djourou and buying from foreign leagues as opposed to EPL defenders) to which you originally replied?

    AND

    Implementing a plan B.

    * This was mentioned in my original comment on “Arsenal’s successful season” and you obviously disagree with the Wenger “doubters” on this point, N’EST-CE PAS?

  36. Rob says:

    Bless you, Bobby.

    Gus-Whats the standard party line now? Can’t still be patience, can it?

    Sucks about the US. Did you get a chance to watch the game? Thanks for the heads up, I forgot the game was on until I read your comments last night!

  37. Alberta Gooner says:

    Well said, Bobby.

    Other winner is Borussia Dortmund, who managed to extend Mario Goetzke’s deal. I wonder how much Nuri Sahin’s lack of playing time affected his decision to extend to 2016.

  38. I did and pointed the short comings of your suppossedly higher caliber EPL defenders. I have no idea what “plan B” is according to you. Stock piling players because of what might happen?

    It is very easy to come up with hypothetical deals in your dream world without having to ever deal with realities.

    Benayoun became available late and was a loan signing – likely much to do with Meireles making a late move to the Bridge.
    Hard to see how Park in training camp in the summer would have made a difference. What’s more was he not set for Lyon?
    Poor Chamakh – you didn’t even notice that he arrived in 2010 not 2011.

    You insist of petty changes around the periphery – where are your gutsy changes? Who has let Arsenal down this season? Who of the accepted starting eleven needs to shipped out? This is your chance to stick your neck out instead of snipping at others.

  39. fabr04 says:

    Bobby – “the fact that you list Koscielny in that group tells me all I need to know. Gervinho only serves to reaffirm.”

    Are you implying that Arsenal fans should view Koscielny and Gervinho the way they view the players in your list? Henry, Vieira, Pires…Gervinho?

    Koscielny is a good player. Gervinho is…taking some time to adjust, but he’s working hard and showing positive signs. Heck, I even think Chamakh is a fine player; I just think he’s stuck on a team that doesn’t choose to use him in a way that maximizes his effectiveness.

    But I don’t think any of those are top-level players. I think they are slightly-below-top-level players, and they will get slightly-below-top-level results, and they will result in Arsenal being a slightly-below-top-level team. And that’s why top level players like RvP will leave, and that’s why top level players like Hazard and Neymar will not sign for Arsenal. Why should they? More money and more trophies are on offer elsewhere.

    That’s why I said what I said about Ayew/Remy/Aubameyang. Just like Arteta is a poor man’s Fabregas, those guys are poor man’s van Persies.

  40. Gus Keri says:

    Rob:

    Yes, I watched the game last night. It was similar to all the important US games in the last two decades. A lot of emotions during the game with dramatic ending. Unfortunately this time it was against the US.

    A lot of running and a lot of heart but with few flashes of intelligent soccer. This time they came from Adu, surprise, surprise.
    In the second half, when the qualification was on the line, they played their best of the tournament. They were undone by their lack of experience in the final minute.

    Overall, with this squad, they didn’t deserve to qualify to the Olympics.

  41. Gus Keri says:

    Rob:

    In regard to your statement about “standard party line,” I don’t subscibe to any one. I call things as I see them. I still support Dalglish for now.
    There were mistakes made over the past year. Nothing that can’t be rectified, though. The off-season will see a lot of changes, I believe.
    But I like to give Dalglish another year at least.

  42. Soccerlogical says:

    Bobby – Talk about going off on a tangent.

    I will make it as simple as possible:

    A) Without RvP in attack and/or Vermaellen at CB Arsenal are clearly much weaker. And we all know RvP and Vermaellen ARE INJURY PRONE!!!!!

    Arsenal’s first eleven is fine but one of the richest clubs in the world which should be fighting on all fronts should not insist on having am Almunia, Fabanski, Squillaci and Djourou on the bench, especially when a young GK and LB (Gibbs) still in development.

    *Whose fault was it for not properly giving more playing time to the likes of Benayoun, Park and Chamakh, or do you just expect them to warm the bench for months and then just come into a game and do something special? Seems like Manyoo can still score without Rooney as other strikers are given proper minutes. Not to mention Manyoo’s adequate defensive options,. I bring up Manyoo because both ARS and MU have had a stable manager for the past decade who supposedly knows the system

    B) Saving a few million and not going for EPL based defenders who could have been integrated at summer camp cost Arsenal any shot at ANY silverware. If you really think that buyong Mertesecjer and Santos late in the transfer window was just as effective as the option Wenger had ALL SUMMER of buying a FB and CB already acclimated to the EPL then we are at a impasse.

  43. FABR04 – and you again miss the bloody point that none of these players were great players when they were signed. You may not remember it but I do – Henry did not make that great a start. And the same goes for some others.
    Name me one player that Wenger signed pre 2003 that you would said was a great player before he arrived at Arsenal?

  44. SL – pointless, brick wall

  45. Soccerlogical says:

    Bobby – You’re kidding right?

  46. fabr04 says:

    Bobby – That Wenger signed? No one. But I’d say Bergkamp was pretty good before he came to Arsenal, and I’d also say he created a lot of excitement among supporters. Wouldn’t you?

    I’m really not sure where we’re disagreeing, or even if we’re disagreeing. I believe the world has changed a lot in the last 10 years. I believe footballers tend to go where the money is. I believe there are no more hidden gems, no more George Weahs for Wenger to discover. I believe there are more soccer scouts in Africa than there are Peace Corps volunteers. And I believe that in that environment, you have to either pay up or settle for good-but-not-great players.

    But hey, maybe I’m wrong. Maybe RvP will stay with Arsenal – after all, none of our last 3 captains left for more money and more trophies, right?

  47. Alberta Gooner says:

    Yeah, it’s terrible how Wenger avoids overpriced EPL defenders when he bought Sagna, Vermaelen and Koscielny, right? It’s almost too easy sometimes.

    I probably shouldn’t pick on just one “supporter”. Given some of what’s posted in this thread, it’s incredible that people would actually claim to have watched “their” club play. I appreciate Bobby’s patience when so much of the game appears to escape people who claim to “support” Arsenal on this board.

  48. Alberta Gooner says:

    Wenger didn’t sign Bergkamp. Bruce Rioch did.

  49. And Bergkamp at the time was considered a bust having failed at Inter.Also don’t remember a lot of fans being excited because most knew very little about him.

  50. fabr04 says:

    @AG – Reread my comment. I didn’t say Wenger signed Berkgamp. Then again, you’ve never shown any interest in characterizing my opinions accurately, so I guess there’s no reason for you to start now. Perhaps I should use more “quotation” “marks” to make things clearer for you?

    @Bobby -Considering Bergkamp’s Arsenal transfer set the record for highest transfer fee in English football history, I find it hard to believe it didn’t excite Arsenal fans…but I admit, I wasn’t paying attention at that time and you were, so I’ll defer to your recollections.

  51. Alberta Gooner says:

    @FABR4

    Your opinions are what they are. I was actually watching Arsenal back then so that’s one difference between us. I do recall a fair amount of excitement when Wenger purchased Marc Overmars but I suppose that doesn’t count with you as you probably haven’t heard about him. Look him up on YouTube.

    Oh and I seem to recall a fair amount of excitement when Wenger broke the club’s transfer record to sign Andrei Arshavin a couple years back — is that another deal that you missed, weren’t around for or just forgot about?

  52. fabr04 says:

    @AG – Strange, I can’t find the part of your comment where you apologized for your error. It’s almost as if you’d rather insult me than have a dialogue.

    To recap: Bobby asked if I could name a Wenger signing who was a great player at the time Wenger signed him. I couldn’t. If you can…terrific! I’m sure you and Bobby can have a great discussion about it, and I look forward to having absolutely no involvement in that discussion. Just make sure you remember the Wenger motto: if at first you don’t succeed, redefine success downward.

  53. Alberta Gooner says:

    @FABR04

    Why would I apologize for a comment that states a simple fact? Bruce Rioch signed Bergkamp.

    If I wanted an intelligent dialogue with another supporter about Arsenal’s transfer policy, I’d want somebody to acknowledge the pressures facing Wenger in building a new stadium and seeing Roman Abramovich pitch up in west London to rescue a nearly bankrupt club and price Wenger’s targets out of reach. I’d want somebody who understood the position the club was in 1997 and where it is today.

    What’s more, I’d enjoying hearing some analysis from somebody who claims to work as a financial analyst about the kind of ROI generated by Wenger in buying players such as Adebayor and Nasri and selling them for top dollar. I’d also want a conversation with somebody who didn’t constantly moan and bitch about Wenger’s failure to splash the cash for marquee names and conveniently ignore Wenger paying a record fee for Arshavin, who was broadly acknowledged as a top player by most commentators and Arsenal supporters.

    Unfortunately, most Arsenal supporters on these boards don’t want intelligent dialogue. They want to piss and moan and whine, even when the club is doing well. I don’t usually don’t bother because it is a colossal waste of time. Thanks for pointing out that I wasted 20 minutes of my life debating the point on this thread.

  54. Soccerlogical says:

    FAB – You gotta understand that certain fans such as AG have gone tipsy from all the “Wenger KOOL-AID” and thought players like Djourou are good defenders but need time to “mature”. 🙂

  55. fabr04 says:

    @AG – “I’d enjoying hearing some analysis from somebody who claims to work as a financial analyst about the kind of ROI generated by Wenger in buying players such as Adebayor and Nasri and selling them for top dollar.”

    Exactly! I’ve said many times (don’t recall if I’ve said it here) that Wenger is one of the best portfolio managers in world football, and probably THE best among big (sic) clubs. If I were an Arsenal investor I would love Wenger.

    But I’m not an Arsenal investor. I’m a supporter. And they don’t give trophies for Best ROI, just like they don’t give trophies for Most Points After Normalizing By Average Player Age or Most Trophies We Would Have Won If It Hadn’t Been For Injuries.

    There are two problems for Arsenal supporters:
    1) The profit-maximizing position in the PL standings is fourth. You make the CL but you don’t have to spend the wages necessary to go top.
    2) Most owners expect their profits to come from capital appreciation rather than cash flows. That is, winning boosts the (intangible) brand equity enough to compensate for (tangible) possibly negative cash flows.

    Or to put it another way: penny wise (cash flows) but pound foolish (brand).

    Do you think Arsenal’s brand is stronger or weaker, relative to other PL clubs, than it was in 2004?

  56. Rob says:

    Gus- Why would we get rid of Dalglish? It doesn’t matter who we bring in, the squad just isn’t good enough right now.

  57. Gus Keri says:

    Rob:

    Tell that to the ones who think they know better.

  58. Alberta Gooner says:

    @FABR04

    I pointed out Adebayor and Nasri because Wenger:

    1) bought them relatively cheap
    2) coaxed good performances out of them
    3) moved them for handsome profits when it became clear they were malcontents who would have disrupted the team

    I could have listed Mathieu Flamini and Alex Hleb on this list, by the way.

    If you actually watched the 8-2 debacle at Old Trafford, you would have seen Nasri — allegedly one of our best players — not breaking a sweat as he loafed around the middle of the park. There was no way he was going to stick around after that performance. Getting team chemistry right is something the people who think they know better than Wenger probably don’t understand. I’m not sure whether it’s because they haven’t really played or coached or experienced the game as anything more than a fan watching on television.

    As far as your comment about the strength of the Arsenal brand is concerned, two very rich billionaires are currently fighting to control the club. That should answer your question as to whether the brand has strengthened since 2004.

    There are some legitimate criticisms that can be made about Arsenal. The first is the medical staff has botched their diagnosis and treatment of player injuries on a consistent basis and that’s troubling. This has undermined player confidence in the medical team to the point that Robin van Persie wanted to get horse placenta rubbed on his injured ankle in Romania. The repeated failure to solve problems with his hamstrings also was a big reason why Cesc Fabregas wanted to leave the club. We saw Vermaelen misdiagnosed last year and the same experience be repeated with Jack Wilshere this year. This would be completely unacceptable at League Two club. I don’t know whether this is completely Wenger’s fault but it needs to be sorted out.

    Two, I see Wenger has commented that he’ll review the Ox’s current five-year deal with an eye to giving him a pay raise from his current 25k/week. We can argue the merits of whether AOC deserves it but similar pay raises for the likes of Denilson, Diaby, Vela, Bendtner and others have created problems in moving them when they have not panned out. The club had a firm cap at the top end, which causes us trouble in attracting top players but has no trouble giving Johan Djourou — our fourth-choice defender — a 50k/week deal. Now I understand Wenger puts a premium on homegrown players given the new rules put in place by the Premier League and UEFA but that’s a little much.

    Even with these criticisms, I’m not going to constantly moan and bitch about them all the time. I enjoy the game too much for that.

    You and others have the right to an opinion, whether you are concerned about a lack of silverware, calling for Wenger’s dismissal or putting forward dumbassed prescriptions (paying 17m for Gary Cahill, selling Alex Song, etc.) to solve what you perceive to be the club’s problems. Just don’t be surprised if your views are dismissed by Bobby or myself or gooners who remember where the club was before Wenger arrived.

  59. fabr04 says:

    @AG – I don’t think we disagree as strongly as you seem to think we do. I have no problem with our selling Adebayor; I always felt he was overrated based on one good season (which was largely due to Fabregas’s brilliance). I viewed Nasri the same way I viewed Andy Carroll – he showed some real talent but wasn’t so uniquely gifted that we couldn’t listen to good offers. My disappointment there was mostly due to Wenger’s failure to sign a replacement; he either didn’t expect Nasri to leave (in which case he should have monitored the situation more carefully) or he did expect him to leave (in which case he should have taken action earlier in the summer). As with most things, Wenger never has a plan B; he only has a plan A and if that falls through he blames somebody else.

    We do disagree on this, though:
    “two very rich billionaires are currently fighting to control the club. That should answer your question as to whether the brand has strengthened since 2004.”
    In the first place, my question wasn’t whether the brand has strengthened; my question was whether the brand has strengthened RELATIVE TO OTHER PL CLUBS. Again, you should read more carefully and/or avoid mischaracterizing my views. And in the second place, the number of billionaires are fighting over the club is not a proxy for brand equity; it’s a proxy for scarcity of assets. How many clubs are (a) publicly traded; (b) located in a major world city; and (c) legally allowed to be purchased by foreigners? I assume that’s why QIA bought PSG instead of, say, Saint-Etienne.

    On Arsenal’s medical staff…I dunno. I’m not qualified to offer opinions on someone’s medical decisions. But the medical staff still reports to Wenger, right? If they were doing a lousy job, it’s still his responsibility to hold them accountable and/or replace them. He chose not to.

    On the plus side, I saw today that Arsenal will offer RvP 120K/week! He’ll certainly accept being paid less than half of what Rooney makes (and 100K less than Adebayor), don’t you think? Besides, if he does leave we can just call him a mercenary like ACole, Hleb, Nasri, Flamini, Vieira, Adebayor, Toure, Clichy, etc. How dare those selfish footballers want to be paid what they’re worth! The important thing is that we blame the player, never Wenger. Right?

  60. Alberta Gooner says:

    @FABR04

    “My disappointment there was mostly due to Wenger’s failure to sign a replacement; he either didn’t expect Nasri to leave (in which case he should have monitored the situation more carefully) or he did expect him to leave (in which case he should have taken action earlier in the summer). As with most things, Wenger never has a plan B; he only has a plan A and if that falls through he blames somebody else.”

    Wenger’s plan on replacing Fabregas involved Jack Wilshere. Now you can disagree with that idea; Fabregas himself made the point that he considered Wilshere as a crucial part of the club going forward so that injury has hurt. But Wenger didn’t moan about it. He went out and got the best available replacement in Arteta, who has played extremely well. While he is not Fabregas, he has done a professional job and it’s clear to see how the team has struggled during his rare absences from the first team.

    “My question wasn’t whether the brand has strengthened; my question was whether the brand has strengthened RELATIVE TO OTHER PL CLUBS.”

    I’m not a branding expert so I have no idea what the metrics are for determing strength of brand. Because I’ve actually gone to London to pay for tickets to watch Arsenal play, I do know they consistently fill a 60,000-seat stadium despite having the highest ticket prices of any football club in the world. Or IN THE WORLD as you might put it. Is that a measure of brand strength relative to competitors? Is the Forbes valuation of sports clubs indicate the strength of the brand because Arsenal is in the top 10 of the most valuable sports clubs in the . . . sorry IN THE WORLD. That certainly wasn’t the case in 2004.

    You and I are coming at this from different perspectives. One of us remembers Arsenal long before Wenger. We use different yardsticks in measuring the progress at the club, both on and off the pitch.

  61. fabr04 says:

    @AG – “I’m not a branding expert so I have no idea what the metrics are for determing strength of brand.”

    But you are a sports medicine expert? You have no problem passing judgment on the quality of our medical staff…but on branding you can’t (or won’t) because you’re not an expert.

    I’m sorry, I think you’re being fundamentally dishonest here. You know very well that our brand has declined since 2004. You know very well that a club that doesn’t win and doesn’t hang on to its best players erodes brand quality. You know very well that Wenger has failed to sustain the momentum he built in 96-04. You simply won’t say it because it doesn’t support your point.

    I don’t think you want to discuss. I think you want to hassle me. Please don’t respond to any of my comments on future posts.

  62. Rob says:

    Gus-You got to filter out the idiots. Liverpool’s problems aren’t in their tactics, as most should be able to see.

  63. Rob says:

    FAB-What do you define as brand? I’m confused myself.

  64. Alberta Gooner says:

    @FABR04

    “But you are a sports medicine expert? You have no problem passing judgment on the quality of our medical staff…but on branding you can’t (or won’t) because you’re not an expert.”

    I’m somebody who sees a problem based on the results because I’ve been paying attention. So when Jack Wilshere goes out for an entire year right after Thomas Vermaelen missed a large part of last season, it might give people some pause for thought. Especially after Cesc’s complaints about the medical department and Robin van Persie’s aborted trip to have horse placenta rubbed on his ankle.

    “I’m sorry, I think you’re being fundamentally dishonest here. You know very well that our brand has declined since 2004. You know very well that a club that doesn’t win and doesn’t hang on to its best players erodes brand quality. You know very well that Wenger has failed to sustain the momentum he built in 96-04. You simply won’t say it because it doesn’t support your point.”

    I’m sorry that you don’t view Arsenal’s financials, club valuation by Forbes or filling a 60,000 stadum despite having the highest ticket prices in the . . . sorry IN THE WORLD as metrics for brand strength relative to 2004. You’ve not provided any alternative metrics other than “we have won a trophy and lost our best players, WHAAAAHHH!” That’s a pretty compelling argument.

    The landscape in which Wenger operated changed substantially when Roman Abramovich pitched up in west London with a limitless supply of petro-roubles to buy success. Wenger also had to deal with some financial constraints while building a stadium to ensure the club’s long-term financial success. Given those sets of circumstances, keeping Arsenal in the Champions League while blooding a new generation of players and paying off the stadium was nothing short of remarkable. Those of us who remember the pre-Wenger Arsenal — and I suspect that’s Bobby, myself and a couple others on this board — have seen the club struggle through much, much tougher times. That’s why I tend to be a touch dismissive of the moaning and sense of entitlement from the Chicken Littles.

    “I don’t think you want to discuss. I think you want to hassle me. Please don’t respond to any of my comments on future posts.”

    When you post an opinion on an open thread, you run the risk of having somebody else make a comment on it so I’m a little surprised you would make this request. However, I respect Bobby and his rules enough that I won’t bother with you any more.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

House Rules

Please refrain from posting comments that;

  • Attempt to demean, intimidate or bully fellow readers
  • Are racist, sexist, homophobic, sexually explicit, intolerant or otherwise abusive
  • Includes language likely to offend or attempts to try and circumvent this request
  • Could be considered spam

The House reserves the right to delete any such comments and to block further participation on the site.




Soccer Report Extra
© copyright 2010. All rights reserved.
 
Designed and Developed by:
Bills'eye + Underscorefunk Design