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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

Winners and Losers – Two Wrongs, Kuyt Flying, Wenger’s Obits

Written by on February 27, 2012 | 29 Comments »
Posted in General, Winners and Losers

Winners – Somethings are just very difficult to explain – take West Brom for example. Through their first 24 games of the Premier League season West Brom scored just 24 goals and only once hit a high of three once in a game. In their last two matches they hit nine and Peter Odemwingie has scored five and more than doubled his output for the season.

Losers – When Newcastle United jumped into an early 2-0 lead at home to Wolves things looked great for the home support and quite dreadful for Wolves and their newly named temporary manager, Terry Connor. As it was Wolves battled back to take a vital point with a 2-2 draw. What must be of concern to Alan Pardew is that at 2-0 up his side suddenly looked very complacent. Rather than pushing for fourth in the Premier league and a Champions League qualifying spot Newcastle took on the look of a side that had done all the heavy lifting it was going to do this season.

Winners – It was an excellent week for Manchester City. A 4-0 home win over Porto meant a very comfortable passage into the round of 16 of the Europa League. Carlos Tevez returned from the dog-house (although that situation is so combustible it could turn bad again) and Blackburn Rovers were  easily dispatched 3-0. City have got that very solid look once again and have only allowed 4 goals in their last 11 Premier League games. At home in the league  City have played 13, won 13, scored 40 and allowed only 6 – phenomenal stuff. 

WinnerFrank Lampard’s goal against Bolton was the icing on the cake for Chelsea. But for Lampard it was another personal milestone. It was his 10th league goal of the season and it is the ninth straight season he has hit double figures. The goal also moved him past the great Jimmy Greaves in Chelsea’s all-time  scoring list.

Losers – Bolton was shut-out for the eleventh time this season in the Premier League and for the third time in their last four league games. Scoring is an obvious problem but 54 goals conceded in 26 games is possibly a more telling statistic. The three goals allowed against Chelsea were all of the careless variety and unless they find a way to stop conceding so easily relegation will become a reality.

Losers – Mark Hughes and London derbies just are not a winning combination. While in charge of Fulham last season Hughes did not win any of the eight London derbies. Fast forward to his new gig at QPR and a derby encounter with Fulham and a 1-0 loss. But perhaps more worrying for Hughes in the statistic of only one win in six Premier League games and a defence that has yet to record a clean sheet in League play since he took charge.

Winners – At the risk of sounding patronizing Cardiff may have finished as runners-up but they played a full part in the  drama that was the Carling Cup Final. The first half goal from Joe Mason gave Cardiff something to defend and even after Martin Skrtel equalized a more composed finisher than Kenny Miller would have sent the trophy to Wales.

Nonetheless, Liverpool was the better team on the day and if they had been sharper in front of goal the final would not have been in doubt after an hour’s play let alone two.

It was somewhat ironic that the Liverpool hero was Dirk Kuyt, a player who has struggled to retain a starting spot since Kenny Dalglish arrived. He scored the goal that looked like it was to stand up as the winner then he slotted a vital penalty. When Kuyt stepped up Liverpool had missed their first two penalties and Cardiff had scored one of two.

If Kuyt had missed the pressure on Liverpool’s remaining two penalty takers would have been immense. As it was Kuyt stroked home the penalty and Gestede missed with Cardiff’s next attempt setting the stage for a Liverpool win.

Loser – Do two wrongs make a right? Easy to say but in football that saying can be countered with “goals change games.” Although referee’s assistant Roberto Romagnoli disallowed goals for both Milan and Juventus you can’t help but feel that his failure to spot that Muntari’s header had clearly crossed the line was one that changed the outcome of the match.

Muntari’s header would have given Milan a 2-0 first-half lead and would have capped a spell in which Milan had Juventus reeling. Romagnoli was perfectly positioned to make the call as well. In the second half he raised his flag for offside Matri. The call was a borderline one although TV replay would show Matri in line. The second call offered Juve fans a point to argue but few neutrals would believe that it to be well-founded.

Winners – Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi continued their own personal duel. Ronaldo scores with a back heel from ten yards while Messi hits a free kick in the top corner from a free kick on the other edge of the penalty box.

Losers – Losing a two goal lead in a North London derby has been an affliction of Arsenal the last few years. On Sunday it spread to Tottenham Hotspur. But the thing is that although Spurs led 2-0 it was not representative of the play. Arsenal was punished for two bad lapses in defense and Spurs had one other decent chance in the first half.

Winners – Arsenal controlled most of the match and even a double substitution at half time by Harry Redknapp backfired as Arsenal took the lead. Tomas Rosicky enjoyed his best outing as an Arsenal player while Yossi Benayoun offered hard work, endeavour a statistic of 14/14 in terms of passes in the attacking third. And before anyone goes looking the passes were of the decisive variety.

Losers – Arsenal’s comeback to win 5-2 must have caused the deletion of thousand’s of articles and blogs that had been started as soon as Adebayor’s penalty hit the back of the net. Oh well give it a few more week’s and the Wenger obits will no doubt reappear.

Any winners and losers that I may have missed?

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29 responses to “Winners and Losers – Two Wrongs, Kuyt Flying, Wenger’s Obits”

  1. Rob says:

    Hahaha I loved that last one.

    Another Loser is Charlie Adam’s penalty. Seriously, what the hell was that?

    http://i41.tinypic.com/2wrmdcl.gif

  2. Gillian says:

    Ibrahimovic – because you just know he was chuckling that Aronica got sent off against Inter

  3. Soccerlogical says:

    Winners : Fans, for being able to witness two of the greatest talents in soccer history in Messi and Cronaldo.

    Losers : Delio Rossi and Della Valle for what has become of ACF Fiorentina and its bright stars.

  4. fabr04 says:

    What galled me about the non-call on Muntari’s header was that the linesman was perfectly positioned and had an unoccluded view down the line. I try to have sympathy for referees but I just can’t understand how an ostensibly top level linesman can miss that call – it was not difficult.

    On Arsenal, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it now: it is a squad built to maximize return on invested capital, not to maximize trophies. Expensive tickets + middling talent + 4th place + fairy tales about how great next year will be = maximal profitability. So for me:

    Winners – Arsenal shareholders, because the Spurs victory will buy enough goodwill from supporters to deflect questions about why management chooses not to spend the money necessary to acquire players who will help the team challenge for top spot.

    Losers – Arsenal fans, because it makes it less likely they will hold Wenger and Gazidis accountable for their poor decisions.

  5. Ed Gomes says:

    Winner: Walcott who will once again become over hyped. On the replay I watched his chip in goal wasn’t a chip at all. The ball rolled up and over leg of sliding defender.

    Losers: Arsenal and England for falling into the trap of Walcott actually developing into something special.

    Winners: Liverpool & King Kenny who are being herald for such a poor performance.

    Losers: Cardiff for not pulling off the complete Cinderella. This will take a lot out of them and I’ll be shocked if they don’t drop in the table.

  6. Erik says:

    I have 1 of each on the same play

    Losers: FIFA
    Winners: Those SCREAMING for Goal-line technology in the game

    Failing to give Muntari/Milan the goal they earned and deserved will ramp up the call for Goal-line technology in the game. It isn’t too far fetched to say that ONE CALL might determine who wins Serie A. IF the goal counts odds are Milan wins and is now up 4 points……..53-49 and is at least up 6 goals in GD (although Juve has a game in hand)

    NOW…………

    Milan is up 1 and Juve can pass them with the game in hand. IF Serie A June wins Serie A by 3 points or less Muntari’s goal/no goal will be the deciding factor. And as we all know the difference between Winning and Finishing 2nd in ANY League is huge (duh).

    If FIFA/leagues don’t want GL technology at least do what they do in Europa and CL play – station an official on each end line to determine if the ball did(n’t) cross the line. Two extra officials for every game will add some cost but think Milan would be more than willing to pay for that NOW!?

  7. J says:

    Benayoun’s runs were fantastic…much improved over the predictable movements of the other wings, so often chained to the sideline. Having a left back helps, too.

    It was nice to see Walcott finish, but Sagna and Song should share in the praise. Song is showing some touch and creativity out there.

  8. Alberta Gooner says:

    Winner

    Tomas Rosicky — MOTM in the demolition derby

    Loser

    Gareth Bale — a diving cheat who would get called out a lot more if his name ended in a different vowel

    Winner

    Guillaume Hoarau — two goals in a thrilling draw with Lyon

    Loser

    Philippe Mexes — a deserved three-match ban for a really despicable act

    Winner

    Ryan Giggs — Marks 900 appearances with winning goal

    Losers

    All the collective halfwits in the media and among Chicken Little “supporters” who suggested only RVP would make a north London XI. Glenn Hoddle’s post-match reaction on Sky was priceless when he admitted, through clenched teeth, that Alex Song was the best central midfielder in London.

  9. Soccerlogical says:

    AG – Arsenal are fighting for 4th , out of any trophy hunt and there is a good possibility that RVP may depart yet you persist with terms of chicken little and “supporters” who were correct in their skeptical view about Arsenal’s pursuits from the start of the season.

    So what exactly is a suitable term for fans such as yourself who are easily distracted by Wenger’s legerdemain of an Henry loan and an occasional slaughter of Blackburn and a triumphant derby here and there? Just curious.

    PS Song’s passing in the attacking front has greatly improved but he is still an unimposing figure for a defensive mid and is miles from an Essien, Lampard, Modric and a few others.

  10. Ed Gomes says:

    I actually happen to be a fan of Song. Maybe I’m foolish, but he would be a lot better with a better back line. Then again, mybe he should making that back line better.
    I do agree that in the way Wenger speaks sometimes, it’s as if they are the little team that could. He went on about how it would be foolish to go into debt in order to get talent. I would agree, but this is Arsenal where they just got a ton from Cesc and Nasri’s sale. Haven’t they been collecting plenty of CL money as well.
    If I was an Arsenal fan I would worried if CL money stopped coming in. I still say their Stadium/Jersey sponsorship deal will prove to be inadequate if it hasn’t already.

    I forgot one big loser: Scott Parker was awful in this match. Looked completely out of his realm.

  11. Alberta Gooner says:

    @SL

    I’ve suggested to you that Wenger gambled he could keep Fabregas and Nasri and failed. He wasn’t going to be able to get replacements once they left so late in the summer and neither Lille nor Dortmund was going to let Goetkze or Hazard go in January. You’ve just moaned and bitched for the past three years like a spoilt child and, quite frankly, I’m tired of it. What’s more, you’ve tried to pass this off as intelligent analysis. I stopped paying attention to you when you suggested we’d be better off without Fabregas last year.

    Unlike you and more recent supporters (who I’ve marked out by the posts and sense of entitlement), I’ve seen the Arsenal before Wenger and after him. Wenger has made some mistakes but I’m not part of the generation who feels smarter than the manager and that my club entitled to a trophy every year. And I sure as hell won’t spend every single bloody post pissing and moaning about it like a five-year-old throwing a tantrum in the bloody candy store.

    When Abramovitch brought oil money into the game, Arsenal were forced to change the way we did business and Wenger managed that transition as best as could be expected given the financial constraints of building a new stadium that has set up the club for success in the long term.

    In this brave new world, Wenger has worked hard just to keep us treading water. Nobody is privy to the failed transfer bids that Wenger has made in recent years, but I remember Liverpool had suggested Wenger had bid for Reina. And Dortmund suggested he bid for Goetzke. And both Smalling and Jones chose United over Arsenal. And Everton knocked bad a bid for Jagielka. And Bolton dismissed his bid for Cahill (and thank God for that — bullet dodged there). So suggesting he is reluctant to spend as you and many halfwits on Fleet Street have posited is just pure simple-minded idiocy, particularly since he dropped 13m pounds this summer on a teenager that already looks like a more accomplished player than Stewart Downing.

    I would never hold myself out to be smarter than Wenger, especially when you post your prescriptions for the club. It suggests you don’t understand the homegrown rule and budgets that Wenger needs to operate within along with a real lack of awareness of the technical and athletic profile of players sought by the club.

    It helps if you actually watched us play rather than rely on reputations or Fooball Manager ratings, which is exactly what you’ve done with Alex Song. If you really believe Essien or Lampard is better than Song is now, you’ve clearly not watched either one of them play or too much of the game is lost on you to bother having an intelligent conversation. This is generally why I ignore you. But since you asked, I figured I’d allow you the courtesy of a reply.

    It’s too bad you’re so invested in trying to prove Wenger is wrong that you couldn’t enjoy Sunday’s win. That’s one difference between you and me. I think you can read into the rest of my post to figure out the others.

  12. Soccerlogical says:

    AG – For someone who predicted Arsenal would have as good a shot at trophies as any team this season and displayed as much original preseason Arsenal analysis as a trained Wenger pony, many are just as tired of your name calling (chicken littles, “supporters” halfwits, etc)… especially when you have been proven wrong!

    When more than one of those “halfwits” and “chicken littles” has shown to have better foresight and team analysis than you.. I would suggest keeping schtum about the matter and hiding the naivete, don’t ya think?

    ED – For me and many others, the problem isn’t that Wenger is unwilling to buy expensive “proven” talent but that he is unwilling to pay an extra penny for a descent player he feels is even slightly “overpriced”.

    Additionally, why hasn’t Benayoun been properly integrated? And the likes of Park Yung and Chamakh would be 10-20 goal scorers on any other EPL team if given a proper run.

  13. Alberta Gooner says:

    @SL

    Where did I say that Arsenal would compete for trophies? I picked them to finish third in the league — feel free to look it up on the Sofaball site. The only thing that you proven is your memory is as shitty as your tip that Henry would be useless on his return. I’ve listened to you blather on this site, Bobby’s previous one and Sofaball nonstop for about the past five years and I’m hard pressed to remember any time you did anything except bitch and moan and criticize others, even back when you were going as Hatrick Vieira. It’s pathetic you are so invested in the failure of the club you claim to support. I’m done with you, troll. You are now on permanent ignore with me.

  14. Ed Gomes says:

    SL & AG, have you guys ever stop to think that you’re both right?
    To say Wenger is an awful manager is silly. Although trophies haven’t been flowing, Arsenal has been competitive for all of them. That’s no small easy feat.
    But hearing or thinking that Wenger gambled on keeping Cesc and Nasri, that’s downright scary. He absolutely knew that Cesc was gone, and that Nasri would be as well if he didn’t get a bump in salary. Gambling is for fools, and if you do that enough in the world of big time sports you will lose badly.
    If I was an Arsenal fan I would be livid. The scariest thing of all is that there seemed to be no true course of action planned for this upcoming season. And yes Henry was a distraction for the fan base. A big goal will prove to be insignificant, or just maybe it will nab you 4th place. We’ll see.

  15. fabr04 says:

    @AG: My problem with Wenger is that he is too cheap and too stubborn to spend the money necessary to solve problems.

    Examples:
    * Almunia. How many keepers did he pass up over the years in order to hang on to that clown? Everybody in the world knew he wasn’t good enough, yet every transfer period we would hear Akinfeev or Boruc or Schwarzer or Given…and every time we’d end up with Almunia.
    * Set pieces. We are poor at defending set pieces. We have been since 2005. There’s a reason Drogba has great games against Arsenal – we never have a back line strong enough to stop him because Wenger’s idea of a premiership caliber CB is Squillaci, Silvestre, Cygan, Senderos, Mertesacker, and Djourou.
    * He simply won’t pay the market rate for players. That’s why Goetze and Hazard aren’t coming – Wenger won’t pay their market value. It’s also why RVP will leave (and in a couple of years, so will Wilshere, and a couple of years after that so will A-Ox).

    That’s why I want Wenger out; he’s too stubborn to change in response to the times.

  16. Alberta Gooner says:

    @Ed

    “SL & AG, have you guys ever stop to think that you’re both right?”

    No, we are not both right.

    “To say Wenger is an awful manager is silly. Although trophies haven’t been flowing, Arsenal has been competitive for all of them. That’s no small easy feat.”

    Agreed

    “But hearing or thinking that Wenger gambled on keeping Cesc and Nasri, that’s downright scary. He absolutely knew that Cesc was gone, and that Nasri would be as well if he didn’t get a bump in salary. Gambling is for fools, and if you do that enough in the world of big time sports you will lose badly.”

    Fabregas had four years left on his deal. Wenger made a mistake in not renewing Nasri earlier.

    “If I was an Arsenal fan I would be livid. The scariest thing of all is that there seemed to be no true course of action planned for this upcoming season. And yes Henry was a distraction for the fan base. A big goal will prove to be insignificant, or just maybe it will nab you 4th place. We’ll see.”

    Henry scored two game-winning goals during his loan spell. If you count that as distracting for the fans, there’s no point in talking to you, either. Oh and by all accounts, TH had a real impact on the training ground with the likes of the Ox and other youngsters who grew up idolizing him Either you understand that or you don’t. Wenger rarely buys in January because the market is inflated. The last big purchase was Andrei Arshavin for a club record fee. How did that work out again?

  17. Alberta Gooner says:

    @FABR04

    “My problem with Wenger is that he is too cheap and too stubborn to spend the money necessary to solve problems.”

    I agree with some of your examples. What you need to understand is nobody knows the constraints he was operating under while the Emirates was being built, which has guaranteed the club’s long-term financial success. Either you get that or you don’t.

    In the past two years, Wenger has unsuccessfully bid for Schwarzer and Reina. That’s a generally accepted fact. So while Almunia was probably given too long between the sticks, I don’t accept your theory that Wenger was too cheap or too stubborn to act on it. As it happens, Szczesny appears to be solving this area for us.

    “We are poor at defending set pieces. We have been since 2005. There’s a reason Drogba has great games against Arsenal – we never have a back line strong enough to stop him because Wenger’s idea of a premiership caliber CB is Squillaci, Silvestre, Cygan, Senderos, Mertesacker, and Djourou.”

    We have been poor and that’s an area the club needs to address. But your list is a little selective. He paid 10m for Vermaelen and another 9.5m for Koscielny, who’ve worked out pretty well. Sagna cost another 7m and is one of the best right backs in the world. And Mertesacker was doing well before he did his ankle. Either you get that or you don’t.

    “He simply won’t pay the market rate for players. That’s why Goetze and Hazard aren’t coming – Wenger won’t pay their market value. It’s also why RVP will leave (and in a couple of years, so will Wilshere, and a couple of years after that so will A-Ox).”

    I guess we’ll see. Arsenal are pretty well positioned visa-a-vis most of their rivals although they need to rethink their salary structure. They’ve tied down kids to very lavish contracts while setting an upper limit of 80k (notably Bendtner, Denilson, Diaby) that doesn’t allow them to compete for high-end players.

    “That’s why I want Wenger out; he’s too stubborn to change in response to the times.”

    I’m guessing you’ve not supported us for very long. Good luck finding a replacement. Wenger may well leave Arsenal and when he does, he could have his pick of the top jobs in football. That’s because people who understand the sport recognize what he’s been able to do. Shame some of our supporters can’t.

  18. Ed Gomes says:

    Cesc having four years left on his deal meant nothing once it was clear he was leaving.
    isn’t it true Cesc actually paid some of his buy out? If so that really looks bad to incoming talent.
    once it was clear Cesc was leaving the previous year nothing was done to shore up Nasri.
    you just can’t ignore the bad planning.

  19. fabr04 says:

    @AG: “What you need to understand is nobody knows the constraints he was operating under while the Emirates was being built, which has guaranteed the club’s long-term financial success.”

    First: no, it hasn’t guaranteed the club’s long term financial success. It doesn’t matter how big the stadium is if there’s nobody there, and fans won’t keep paying high prices to watch mediocrity. And second, the Emirates isn’t being built anymore, and he still won’t spend. We’re the most profitable club in the PL and he still won’t spend. I don’t think he ever will, and that’s (one of the reasons) why we need a new manager.

    “In the past two years, Wenger has unsuccessfully bid for Schwarzer and Reina. That’s a generally accepted fact. So while Almunia was probably given too long between the sticks, I don’t accept your theory that Wenger was too cheap or too stubborn to act on it”

    I never heard about a Reina bid, but the Schwarzer bid broke down over…100K? 200K? Talk about penny wise and pound foolish! There are only two possible reasons we kept Almunia all that time: (1) Wenger thought he was a decent keeper (in which case Wenger should be fired for being such a poor judge of talent); or (2) Wenger wouldn’t spend.

    “We have been poor and that’s an area the club needs to address. But your list is a little selective. He paid 10m for Vermaelen and another 9.5m for Koscielny, who’ve worked out pretty well. Sagna cost another 7m and is one of the best right backs in the world. And Mertesacker was doing well before he did his ankle”

    I disagree with everything you’ve said here except Sagna. Mertesacker is awful. Truly awful. He is one of the most passive CBs I’ve ever seen; when there’s a ball crossed into the box he just stands there and waits for it to bounce off his head or, more likely, for someone to edge him out of position. Koscielny has some good points but would not get close to starting for MU or City. Vermaelen was good a couple of years ago but I’ve been really disappointed by him this year; I’m hoping he returns to form. But either way, the list I provided was a lot longer than yours. Other clubs have been able to find players to defend set pieces – why haven’t we?

    “I’m guessing you’ve not supported us for very long. Good luck finding a replacement. Wenger may well leave Arsenal and when he does, he could have his pick of the top jobs in football. That’s because people who understand the sport recognize what he’s been able to do. Shame some of our supporters can’t”

    Oh, I understand the sport. That’s why I would be so happy to see Wenger leave – I recognize the difference between results and excuses. Shame some of our supporters don’t.

  20. Rob says:

    Letting Wenger go would be the dumbest thing Arsenal could do, I don’t even know how you could argue that. Talk about being a victim of your own success…

  21. Alberta Gooner says:

    @Ed

    Reading in between the lines, I suspect Arsenal promised Cesc he could leave and he lined up his personal terms with Barca, who then showed what low-rent twats they are by coming in with a insulting lowball 20m offer rather than bargain in good faith. We wound up screwing around the entire summer because they were being unreasonable about their asking price. And until they got that deal settled, it would be pretty hard to line up a replacement.

  22. Alberta Gooner says:

    @FAB4R

    If you don’t understand the difference between the revenues generated by the Emirates and Highbury, there’s no hope for you. The results are pretty clearly spelled out in the club accounts. How old are you and how long have you been following the club? Just curious.

    Actually, don’t bother, I just read the rest of your post. I think I know the answers to those questions.

  23. Ed Gomes says:

    AG, the fact that Barca tryed to get Cesc on the cheap is actually Arsenal’s fault. They had a players in Cesc that wanted out, and by all intent and purposes was gone. They had to get out in front of it and didn’t.
    Even if Arsenal decided to stick it to Barca and keep him, they needed to lineup an replacement due to having a disgruntled player on their hands. Please don’t tell me how professional; Cesc would have been and played hard. Maybe even in his mind he would be, but we all know play would have suffered.
    The Barca deal for Cesc taking so long should have had no effect in planning ahead.
    It’s bad management. Whether you blame Wenger or the Board it’s up to you.

    I think that Arsenal became one of these clubs that was thrilled with the Top 4 finish and deep runs into the CL. That brought in a ton of money and everyone involved with the club was thrilled.
    Fans from many other clubs would have been thrilled with those type of results.
    The problem for Arsenal is that after years of coming so close and not winning anything, fans begin to say getting there is not enough.
    Why can Man United and Chelsea win everything. To make matters worse, now you have City spending, competing and poised to win something. If that wasn’t bad enough, Spurs and Liverpool are fighting hard to get to the spoils.
    I heard on Sky, one of Arsenals higher ups, state how Arsenal is a world class club in which players will want to come to. He went on to say that Arsenal’s CL record is great and if those world class players want to show their wears in the CL, Arsenal is a terrific choice.
    I don’t necessarly disagree with what he has stated, but he’s failing to mention how players have wanted to leave and lfet Arsenal on their own terms. What’s worse is that those players left in order to win trophies and money. Even if Cesc was a special case due to his Barca connection, do you think he would have gone back at such a young age if he was winning Silverware at Arsenal?
    Let me also ass that those same players that want CL play expect to get paid like CL world class players when they come.

    I still feel that Arsenal’s stadium and jersey deals is inadiquite. If Arsenal misses out on CL money it will be much harder to get players, keep RvP, and actually contend for the Top next season.
    You can’t hide from that fact, and the truth is that Arsenal has for the most part done this to themselves. They haven’t adjusted accordingly, and I don’t mean go into horrific debt.

    Let me add that the Arsenal higher up that I heard on Sky also said how Arsenal is positioned favourly when it comes to the FFP rules. We’ll see. If I was you AG, I would be appaled when Wenger says that they aren’t able to or unwilling to spend foolishly like City. When did this team, that just showed record profit, become the little train that could.
    When we say spend, we don’t mean do it follishly. Do your job and bring in quality players that bring in Silverware.

  24. Soccerlogical says:

    AG – Since the summer all, you have done is stand by Wenger and attack those who were skeptical of his decisions by calling them “chicken littles”, “Man City supporters” and the rest.

    Those chicken littles as you call them showed original thought and correct insight and analysis, especially compared to your generic “let’s wait and see”and “have faith in Wenger” comments which are on Sofaball.

    Now that those skeptics have been proven correct, you ignorantly and shamelessly persist with those chicken little comments even though your opinion in the summer was to the effect of “have faith’, “wait and see” and “Wenger knows best”.

    Ignorance is bliss my friend!

  25. Alberta Gooner says:

    @Ed Gomes

    Um, I think a big part of the plan was having Jack Wilshere step in and I don’t think anybody could have reasonably anticipated he’d be out for the first seven months of the season. Even Cesc raved about Wilshere’s abilities after he left the club.

    Now we could have another conversation about some ongoing issues with diagnosis and treatment of injuries at Arsenal, which apparently was a big reason why Cesc wanted to leave the club because the physios botched the diagnosis and treatment on his hamstring injuries. And I think there’s a legitimate criticism to be made about that. It’s a big reason why the club has just unveiled a new state-of-the-art training and physio facility. But that’s a slightly different subject than you chose to address with your critcism about “bad management”.

    You talk about bad planning and management as if you were privy to the inner workings of the boardroom at the club, Ed, and that smells like speculative, reactionary bullshit to me. Can you tell us Arsene’s transfer budget? Can you tell us why Nasri’s agent won’t deal with the club because of longstanding gripes with Wenger dating back to his days at Monaco? I think there’s a lot of kneejerk moaning from people who are very new to supporting the club and disappointed with a lack of silverware and really not informed about who the club has actually worked on bringing in and the state of its finances and why it signed the sponsorship deals currently in place.

    There are some legitimate criticisms to be levelled at the club but I have not read any of this thread, that’s for sure. It’s the usual ill-informed moaning along with a large dollop of assumptions and second guessing. And as somebody who has suported the Arsenal for close to 30 years, that won’t cut it with me.
    If you want to have a serious discussion with me about my club, I’m going to suggest some resources that will help you and I have productive conversations in future threads.

    If you want inform yourself about Arsenal finances, read the Swiss Ramble’s most recent blog post.

    http://swissramble.blogspot.com/2012/02/arsenals-mystery-dance.html

    In fact, you and others would do well to look at what he has to write about finances in football. This may be a little before your time, but Leeds United was once a powerhouse in English football and even was going deep into the Champions League around the turn of the century before they ran into some serious issues. For football supporters who always want to spend more or demands their club pay whatever the biggest idiot who sets the “market” is willing to spend, what happens to Leeds United is a sobering cautionary tale for those of us who choose to remember. By the way, any Inter supporters should have a look at his number crunching on their club and be very, very afraid.

    If you want to get a better idea on who Arsenal is working on bringing to the club, follow @JamieDalton82 on Twitter. A really amazing track record — he must be dating Dick Law’s daughter or something.

    I hope you do have a look at this stuff, Ed, and I would encourage others to do so, too.

  26. fabr04 says:

    @AG: I’m 43. I’ve followed Arsenal since 2005. I’m a financial analyst in NYC. I work in an industry where people who do not get good results are fired and replaced. Pity Arsenal management doesn’t work the same way.

    Actually, strike that: it’s a pity that Arsenal has so many supporters who consider “good results” to be the manager’s complaints, excuses, broken promises, poor player acquisitions, deflection of responsibility, and repeated failure to fix obvious deficiencies.

  27. Alberta Gooner says:

    @FABR04

    You are a financial analyst and don’t understand the implications of the move from HIghbury to the Emirates? I wouldn’t use Wall Street as a poster child for accountability in in the post-TARP era, either, but that’s just me.

    Given you are an analyst, your arguments to oust Wenger are also more than a little disappointing given the absence of research and context, two elements I thought were essential in your industry. If you didn’t know the club bid for Reina, for example, you need to be better informed about what is going on at the club before calling for Wenger’s ouster.

    Since finances is your area of expertise, it’s interesting why you might not have chosen to discuss why Wenger had to wait until we qualified for the Champions League group stages before making the majority of his buys in August and how that affected who was available and the market price.

    As I said, I’m willing to listen to legitimate criticisms about the club but petulant moaning doesn’t cut it as analysis for me. Oh and if you don’t rate Vermaelen and Mertesacker, you probably need to watch a few more games or a lot more carefully.

  28. fabr04 says:

    @AG – Go easy on the insults, tough guy.

    * I didn’t slate Vermaelen; I said he was good two years ago but I’ve been disappointed by his form this year. I think he’ll return to form soon, probably when he doesn’t have to cover for the many bad players we have in defense, but this year is IMHO a step down. Mertesacker just stinks; weak, passive, clumsy…he wouldn’t make the team at Stoke, let alone City or MU.

    * I fully appreciate that a big stadium brings in more revenue than a small stadium, thanks. However, as I noted on Swissramble’s blog (thanks for that, great link), Arsenal’s commercial revenues are low and weakening against competitors. That’s because Arsenal has a weakening brand, and that’s because (a) we never win trophies; (b) we don’t have top quality players; (c) the few top players we do have always move on to clubs which are willing to pay a market wage. If you haven’t already learned this, wait 12 more matches until RvP leaves.

    * Two reasons why I didn’t hear about Reina: (a) Arsenal isn’t a focal point of my life; (b) I don’t want to be depressed by Wenger’s lies and bad decisions. I get enough of that by watching matches. I did, however, learn from Swissramble that we signed Djourou to a 50K/week contract – do you consider that evidence of Wenger’s financial acumen?

  29. Alberta Gooner says:

    @FABR4

    Insults? lol Have you ever sat in the stands at a live match? I ask because this is pretty mild stuff.

    “I didn’t slate Vermaelen; I said he was good two years ago but I’ve been disappointed by his form this year. I think he’ll return to form soon, probably when he doesn’t have to cover for the many bad players we have in defense, but this year is IMHO a step down. Mertesacker just stinks; weak, passive, clumsy…he wouldn’t make the team at Stoke, let alone City or MU.”

    For a man who doesn’t like insults, your analysis is pretty interesting. I won’t comment on its merits.

    “I fully appreciate that a big stadium brings in more revenue than a small stadium, thanks. However, as I noted on Swissramble’s blog (thanks for that, great link), Arsenal’s commercial revenues are low and weakening against competitors. That’s because Arsenal has a weakening brand, and that’s because (a) we never win trophies; (b) we don’t have top quality players; (c) the few top players we do have always move on to clubs which are willing to pay a market wage. If you haven’t already learned this, wait 12 more matches until RvP leaves.”

    So if you read that piece, you’d understand why Arsenal’s commercial revenues are lagging behind right now. They sold those rights as a package to build the stadium that separates us in terms of matchday revenues from pretty much everybody outside of Manchester United.

    “* Two reasons why I didn’t hear about Reina: (a) Arsenal isn’t a focal point of my life; (b) I don’t want to be depressed by Wenger’s lies and bad decisions. I get enough of that by watching matches. I did, however, learn from Swissramble that we signed Djourou to a 50K/week contract – do you consider that evidence of Wenger’s financial acumen?”

    If you watched as many games as you claim to do, you’d understand why Wenger signed Djourou to a 50k/week contract based on his form last year, when he was excellent (although given what you’ve said about Mertesacker, I’d understand if you missed that). The fact that he’s classified as a homegrown player may also explain why Wenger overpaid for him. I recognize this might be a bit of an uninteresting detail to you but Wenger has to comply with the new rules about homegrown players in the squad put in place for the Premier League and UEFA.

    It’s fine if you want to criticize Arsenal. Just expect that supporters who’ve been around longer and take a little more time to better inform themselves about what’s going on with the club might treat you with a lot more contempt than I’ve shown you.

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