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All Ages

  • Amiya Saha
  • April 09, 2018 05:55:57 PM

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Latest Arsenal and Manchester United News, Transfer Updates, Match Day previews and reviews of EPL and Champions League. Blog by passionate supporters.

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Retrospective Part Two | The appointment that could have kept Wenger in his job

The clamour for Wenger’s resignation grew louder as the 2017/18 season ran out of steam and Arsenal lurched from one bad result to another. There were stories floating around that training methods of Wenger hadn’t changed and had become stale, that players were assuming control and that dissatisfaction in the dressing room was growing. Wenger... The post Retrospective Part Two | The appointment that could have kept Wenger in his job appeared first on...

Wenger on his future

The clamour for Wenger’s resignation grew louder as the 2017/18 season ran out of steam and Arsenal lurched from one bad result to another. There were stories floating around that training methods of Wenger hadn’t changed and had become stale, that players were assuming control and that dissatisfaction in the dressing room was growing.

Wenger never appeared to doubt himself but secretly he was now powerless to prevent the next sequence of events. The board held an urgent meeting after Gazidis and Invisible Stan Kroenke, held phone talks on Arsenal’s next move.

It was decided that Wenger must leave, with Kroenke extremely keen to offload all responsibility for the on field mishaps. Wenger was told at a brief session with the board that he would have to go but that his contract would be respected in financial terms and that they would wrap it up in a “by mutual agreement” statement, preserving what little self respect he had left.

Gazidis had managed to oust the Frenchman, with a view to assume control but was unaware that he too was surplus to requirements. The friction between the pair had become unbearable and although Wenger maintained a dignified silence he had no time for a man who knew little about football and seemed to care for it even less.

Wenger’s inflexible stance had made it impossible to keep him in post and the board that once seemed to hang on his every word and let him have free reign within the club, unceremoniously pulled the rug out from under him.

Few were surprised regarding the outcome but the timing of it was curious with the season incomplete, yet the truth was that Wenger had dug his own grave by refusing to change and relinquish control. He had pandered to certain players causing a massive rift and was beginning to be more caretaker, minder and social worker than manager.

Had Arsenal had the balls, they could have reshaped the club around him by ensuring that the burden of running of 90% of club matters was taken from him. Had Raul Sanllehi been onboard earlier, Wenger may have survived.

Sanllehi was an out and out football man, unlike Gazidis, and someone that could have eased the pressure by assisting the Frenchman in the way David Dein had some years earlier. There was another even more crucial appointment that would have been beneficial, Sven Mislintat.

Both the appointments of Sanllehi and Mislintat arrived at Arsenal too late to save Wenger but rewind the clock to 2015 and he may have stood a chance.

Gazidis himself was ignorant to what was required and lacked the respect to enforce change of any relevance, in fact, apart from Kroenke himself, Gazidis was equally loathed by Arsenal fans and his departure was far more satisfying.

If only, is a term that frequently comes to mind and the Arsenal board are guilty of a lack of clarity and strength. Wenger should have been made to relinquish some power, not least the first nod on recruitment. His focus should have been on performance. Wenger over complicated his life because he was allowed too many fingers in too many pies, from the academy to the first team.

So if it were possible to rewind the clock to 2015. Arsenal with hindsight, should have initiated a bold plan to restructure and relieve the pressure. In 2015, Wenger was still in a position of strength, still blessed with the genuine faith and belief of the Arsenal hierarchy.

The Fans discontent was beginning to increase and the anti Wenger rumblings were not just whispers, once loyal fans were starting to question if Wenger was the right man.

READ MORE: Arsenal Fans Are Used To Going Into The Season With Hope, And Only Hope But Is It Any Different This Season

Even though Ivan Gazidis was a constant thorn in his side, the Frenchman was able to continue as he saw fit and in his darkest hour, it was the acquisitions of Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez that kept his head above the water.

A forward thinking Arsenal back then could have shown their ambition by appointing a certain Sven Mislintat, who’s reputation was heading in the opposite direction to Wenger’s own.

The ‘Lone Wolf’ or ‘Diamond eye’ as he is often referred to had built up a complex, global scouting network, which even today, is said to be the best in the world.

Wenger didn’t know it but he needed someone like Mislintat as the foundations he built began to crumble beneath his feet.
Had Arsenal football club acted earlier, been more insistent and shown far more courage by installing Sven Mislintat, perhaps things may have been very different.

In the modern game, clubs are investing heavily to find new talent, Mislintat had the experience and know how to find him exactly what he needed. If proof were needed, look at the signings prior to the Germans departure. Bernd Leno, Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi for the equivalent of loose change by today’s standards.

Guendouzi costing a paltry £7million is now worth between £31m/40m which is staggering. Compare that to Mo Elneny who arrived in 2015/16 for around £11m and is now worth £7m and you can see how wayward Wenger’s latter purchases were.

Wenger wasn’t exactly someone who liked to relinquish power and there may have been problems but Mislintat and Wenger could have developed an understanding that would have accommodated the other, although differences of opinion would have been inevitable.

The fact that Mislintat is so highly regarded in football, has led to the German preserving his reputation at all costs. He is less likely to work under instruction and more likely to work to his own secretive brief until contracts are exchanged, which Wenger would have found as frustrating as Arsenal did.

However, the benefits of his talent spotting and value added by his acquisitions is undeniable. His top signings include Mats Hummels, Robert Lewandowski, Ilkay Gundogan, Ousmane Dembele, Raphael Guerreiro and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, millions and millions of pounds worth of world class talent which is reminiscent of Wenger’s initial revolution from 1996.

Regardless of this idea, Wenger had probably gone as far as he could with the gunners but perhaps, if this scenario had played out, he may have added to his trophy collection of three Premier Leagues, seven FA cups and seven Community Shields.

READ MORE: Who Is Going To Partner Saliba In Arsenal’s Back Four Next Season ?

The post Retrospective Part Two | The appointment that could have kept Wenger in his job appeared first on Arsedevils.


Retrospective Part One | Could Arsene Wenger have been saved ?

Arsene Wenger is back in the news after a period in the football wilderness. The man of whom it was said couldn’t live a day without it , has proven everyone wrong. He didn’t jump straight back in , he took time out to assess his life and if he had the desire to manage... The post Retrospective Part One | Could Arsene Wenger have been saved ? appeared first on...

arsene wenger, sir alex on arsene wenger, arsenal manager news, arsenal news, arsene wenger update, arsene

Arsene Wenger is back in the news after a period in the football wilderness. The man of whom it was said couldn’t live a day without it , has proven everyone wrong. He didn’t jump straight back in , he took time out to assess his life and if he had the desire to manage in the cut throat world of football.

As a result, it’s good enough reason to re examine his reign, the reasons for his dismissal and if there was anything that could have been done to keep Wenger at the helm.

It’s not been forgotten that the first 10 years of Arsene Wenger’s career in North London, was filled with unparalleled success. However, it wasn’t just about the trophies, it was about establishing a football philosophy which was dependent on excellence.

It had to be exciting, exhilarating and entertaining, Wenger wanted football that made you leap out of your seat.  Fast paced, one touch football which left mouths open and was subjected to a series of replays, in an effort to marvel at its execution and deliver glowing analysis.

Wenger reshaped Arsenal and filled it with a steady supply of World class players that would set the bar for the premiership and the club.

Bergkamp was already there but for the team to function & flourish, Wenger searched the globe to build a succession of majestic sides that took on the all conquering Manchester United juggernaut and at times, played them off the park. The list is extremely impressive and is comprised of Overmars, Pires, Vieira, Anelka, Petit, Henry, Reyes, Cazorla, Fabregas, Ljundberg, Kanu and the Judas brothers, Van Persie and Sanchez.

However there were many wide of the mark and as success dried up and a steady exodus began, the quality of signings became more miss than hit.

READ MORE: Does All This And Science That Emery Is Pulling Constantly Mean Anything To The 11 Men On The Field

The Midas touch appeared to desert the great man and the eye that had been such a gem finder, tended to suffer from catastrophic cataracts.

The latter signings were more a roll of the dice or a spin of the roulette wheel and I recall Wenger himself saying that his transfer activity was in place of a gambling habit. He stopped short of risking the shirt on his back by refusing to pay exorbitant prices. In a way he was right to resist but he could no longer find the rough gem he was used to unearthing.

In terms of English talent, Wenger claimed the prices were deliberately inflated, which of course they were.  The sudden scramble for English players meant it was cheaper to shop overseas through a network of scouts and Wenger put out his recruitment tentacles across the World.

Overtime those sharp recruitment connections became blunt, as clubs around the globe employed a similar structure. Wenger’s kingdom was becoming a house of cards, deprived of success. Starved of cash, in conflict with those inside the club and at odds with the supporters. His loyalty and values meant that he was drifting further off course and his failure to be ruthless would be his undoing.

When he spoke of his team’s failures he often attributed it to youth of lack of consistency but never the personnel. He would never go against his protective instincts and would shield his players from criticism.

From early 2007, Wenger was a man under siege. Weighed down with debt and expectation because of the move to the Emirates. The man who enjoyed complete control lost it all to finance a stadium and that included the ability to compete and maintain success.

The inventive and revolutionary Wenger eventually got left behind, as everyone tried to emulate the style and success but not only did they catch up, they eventually left the Frenchman as a mere spectator, looking on as a victim of footballs equivalent of technical plagiarism.

His parting left behind mixed feelings. Firstly, there was relief because Wenger had become blinkered to his own failings and more importantly, that of his team. Like many great managers, their time comes and goes without explanation. They are unable to rekindle their success or work out what they need and Wenger could no longer stop the rot or keep up the pretence.

The truth is Wenger was ousted because he was reluctant to give up on his ideals. He was unwilling to compromise or ignore his loyalties. All which are fine virtues that technically make the world a better place but they don’t mean a thing in football.

Per Mertesacker recently revealed his thoughts on Wenger and said,

“Arsene Wenger was always the kind of manager whose belief in his team’s qualities was steady as a rock and who approached matters with never-ending patience. He didn’t lose his nerve during losing streaks, either. He stuck with his convictions and his players, no matter how strong the wind was blowing. It was his greatest strength. Wondering whether it was also his greatest weakness and whether he was too lenient with us in, in my opinion, a little too simplistic.”

Many more would say the same, Wenger is known for his stubbornness and single minded perspective and it was almost inevitable that the club and manager would part company, in the saddest of ways.

On reflection, could Wenger or Arsenal have made a change to gain a different outcome ? The answer of course is yes, but the Hierarchy weren’t ballsy enough to take on the pugnacious Frenchman.

READ MORE: Arsenal Fans Are Used To Going Into The Season With Hope, And Only Hope But Is It Any Different This Season

The post Retrospective Part One | Could Arsene Wenger have been saved ? appeared first on Arsedevils.


Incredible, Gary Neville- the underminer doesn’t trust key Arsenal player

Former Manchester United Captain, now football pundit Gary Neville is known for his comments and opinions, especially on Arsenal and his latest target may surprise a few supporters. It’s not Granit Xhaka, it’s not Unai Emery or Mesut Ozil. It might have been Shkodran Mustafi except he hasn’t been playing to merit any harsh words... The post Incredible, Gary Neville- the underminer doesn’t trust key Arsenal player appeared first on...

Gary Neville, Bernd Leno

Former Manchester United Captain, now football pundit Gary Neville is known for his comments and opinions, especially on Arsenal and his latest target may surprise a few supporters.

It’s not Granit Xhaka, it’s not Unai Emery or Mesut Ozil.

It might have been Shkodran Mustafi except he hasn’t been playing to merit any harsh words recently. No, the ‘underminer’ has found a new target in Bernd Leno, based on his goalkeeping gaff against Spurs before the international break.

It was a shocking error and he atoned for the mistake during the same game with a series of fine stops, but Gary Neville forgot to mention those.

Gary Neville, a failed manager but fairly rich critic said of Leno in his column:

“We talked about the goalkeeper, Bernd Leno’s mistake,”

“I don’t quite trust him.”

“I don’t think he’s anywhere near the class of the other top goalkeepers we have in the Premier league”

When strikers miss a penalty or a defender makes a howler of a mistake, it tends to be forgotten if it’s rare, but that doesn’t appear to be the case for a goalkeeper. Yet, some of the best goalkeeper in the World have made bad decisions and have cost their teams dearly.

There’s not a goalkeeper in the game today who is impervious to flapping in the high pressure, high tempo, cut and thrust of the Premier League and the standard is generally so high that it’s impossible to maintain that level through a season.

Leno gave an honest appraisal of his mistake against Arsenal rivals in the NLD when he said:

“I couldn’t catch the ball completely and then I tried to get up but Eriksen scored, it was unlucky but that is the life of a goalkeeper. For me, it was then like the team, I had to stand up.”

“It is not a big problem just because we conceded a goal, I had to stay positive and I thought after that I did a very good job. I think it was a very difficult start but then we said as a team on the pitch after going 2-0 down ‘we have to stay positive.”

A lot of the problems at Arsenal have been due to defensive lapses and poor performances from the available cover and Petr Cech found that after his move from Chelsea to Arsenal that he had a lot more work to do with a patched up, haphazard backline than he had done previously.

It’s a problem that’s still not completely resolved but if a goalkeeper isn’t afforded the right cover, his job is made a thousand times more difficult. In the North London Derby, Arsenal were pulled out of shape with the left side continuously open to counter attack and that wasn’t down to Leno.

Over recent seasons, goalkeepers have been pilloried for performances and a season or two ago it was the turn of Spurs keeper Hugo Lloris.

In 2017/18, it was Liverpool’s Loris Karius, who had a night to forget against Real Madrid in the Champions league final. Liverpool lost 3-1, with Karius single handedly playing the role of pantomime villain for two of the goals.

Peter Schmeichel, who was considered to be one of the best keepers in Manchester United’s history, was voted the IFFHS World’s Best Goalkeeper in 1992 and 1993 yet he made numerous errors in his illustrious career.

From missing the ball completely, to passing to the oppositions striker or mistiming a dive, Schmeichel had his fair share of clangers, but United never lost faith in him. Even the greats such as Gordon Banks, Pat Jennings and Peter Shelton had off days, but it never harmed their legacy.

READ MORE:

Does All This And Science That Emery is Pulling Constantly Mean Anything to the 11 Men on The Field

Not Agent But Arsenal Actually The Reason Why Zaha’s Dream Move Never Materialised

Who is going to partner Saliba in Arsenal’s back four next season ?

Leno’s gaff was poor but it certainly doesn’t define him as a keeper, similar to the underminers managerial spell with Valencia, which came to an end after just under four months.

Under Gary Neville, Valencia won just three of their 16 league games and just 10 of 28 games in total, which proves we are all human.

Keep following Arsedevils for more news and updates on Arsenal.

The post Incredible, Gary Neville- the underminer doesn’t trust key Arsenal player appeared first on Arsedevils.


Aubameyang Could Leave Arsenal In The Summer As One Final Big move Beckons

Most Arsenal fans will be mortified at the suggestion of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang leaving the Emirates but at the age of 30 and with the suggestion of strong interest from Real Madrid, it may be almost impossible to prevent. Most goals in the Premier League since Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's debut in February 2018: 🇪🇬 Mohamed Salah (39)🇬🇦... The post Aubameyang Could Leave Arsenal In The Summer As One Final Big move Beckons appeared first on...

Aubameyang, Lacazette and Aubameyang

Most Arsenal fans will be mortified at the suggestion of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang leaving the Emirates but at the age of 30 and with the suggestion of strong interest from Real Madrid, it may be almost impossible to prevent.

Real Madrid offer the striker one last chance in one of the best stadiums in the world with one of its biggest teams and Arsenal could insist on a figure of around £65m or possibly a lower figure with the inclusion of Dani Cabellos as part of a complicated deal.

Aubameyang apparently promised his grandfather that he would move to the Spanish giants,

“Before he died two years ago I promised him that one day I would play for Real Madrid, My grandfather was from Avila, not far from Madrid.”

As much as it would be a wrench to lose the Gabonese striker, in business terms it represents a master stroke that could add to the transfer coffers and help Emery complete the rebuild.

Arsenal have plans in the pipeline and they include Wilfred Zaha, David Neres and Yannick Carrasco, so before Arsenal fans start to cry into their programmes, they need to appreciate that there are other priorities which will also include a creative midfielder and another central defender.

Aubameyang has now contributed to 46 goals – scoring 37 himself and creating a further nine – since his Premier League debut after the Watford game which Arsenal drew 2-2. Aubameyang also scored the most goals in the Premier League last season and was joint top scorer with Mane and Salah, scoring 22 goals in total.

All those stats indicate that Aubameyang is one quality striker and Real Madrid will look exactly for a player with such goal scoring qualities to support Benzema in the attacking frontline. Many pundits have praised him highly for his commitment and hard working qualities and all managers who have managed him have highly spoke about Aubameyang and how he has that skill to be at the right place at the right time.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp praised Aubameyang before the Liverpool game and said,

“I have to say his finishing is incredible. Combine that with his speed and it makes for a really interesting opponent. Now he is playing on the wing again in a 4‑2‑3-1 which means he has to defend as well, but he is ready for that. He is a really good player.”

If Aubameyang has another golden boot season, the price could increase and the deal will look even sweeter. His age is the deciding factor and had he been 5 years younger, it may have been worth resisting any form of bid but now, if Zidane comes calling it could be a forgone conclusion.

READ MORE: Does All This And Science That Emery Is Pulling Constantly Mean Anything To The 11 Men On The Field

The post Aubameyang Could Leave Arsenal In The Summer As One Final Big move Beckons appeared first on Arsedevils.


Players have the upper hand with Arsenal held to ransom by German duo

There was a time when clubs had control and determined the destiny of a player, but that went out the window with the rise of the superstar footballer and the ridiculously inflated wages they subsequently received. Arsenal are proof of a club that has been held to ransom by its unwanted German duo. The Gunners... The post Players have the upper hand with Arsenal held to ransom by German duo appeared first on...

Mustafi, Ozil, German duo

There was a time when clubs had control and determined the destiny of a player, but that went out the window with the rise of the superstar footballer and the ridiculously inflated wages they subsequently received. Arsenal are proof of a club that has been held to ransom by its unwanted German duo.

The Gunners tried their best over the summer to cut the financial umbilical by actively seeking alternative destinations for German duo Mesut Ozil and Shkodran Mustafi, but both refused.

It seems a fruitless exercise on their part and both will probably only be used in emergencies or as cover for injuries. Emery had spoken of his long term plans to the German duo, giving no assurances.

So, it’s a stand off that the club, manager and players could do without and which sees both players stock at rock bottom. The only hope is that someone comes in for one or both in January, but it really seems unlikely. You can check out how punters around the world are making money by predicting how Arsenal are going to fare this season with this guide for asian handicap betting.

Unless Ozil can recapture his magic touch and Mustafi stops playing with two left feet in defence, the German duo are likely to play a series of lesser games or just eek out their lucrative contracts until they leave on a free.

Arsenal managed to tie both hands behind their backs during their restructure and in the process, the German duo ended up with lucrative and binding contracts. In hindsight, had Sanchez not made such a song and dance at the time of negotiations which eventually saw him leave for Manchester United, they may well have shipped Ozil out at that point.

READ MORE:

Does All This And Science That Emery is Pulling Constantly Mean Anything to the 11 Men on The Field

Not Agent But Arsenal Actually The Reason Why Zaha’s Dream Move Never Materialised

Who is going to partner Saliba in Arsenal’s back four next season ?

Arsenal were obviously worried that both departures would cause uproar and decided to offer Ozil a king’s ransom. It turned out to be one of the worst deals in the club’s history as they let other more productive performers like Aaron Ramsey leave, but one suspects this was purely down to his injury record.

It will be a master stroke if the new regime can offload the German duo before their contracts expire for a reasonably small return as it will allow the club to invest elsewhere. Fingers crossed that they both get bored with training and not playing.

Keep following Arsedevils for more news and updates on Arsenal.

The post Players have the upper hand with Arsenal held to ransom by German duo appeared first on Arsedevils.


Does All This And Science That Emery is Pulling Constantly Mean Anything to the 11 Men on The Field

Arsenal have been reducing their outgoings of late, from players contracts to cheaper coffee, so I found it staggering that Unai Emery has 23 first team staff and I’m not talking about players. It appears that as the game has developed, managers and assistants who were mainly responsible for training and fitness are now almost... The post Does All This And Science That Emery is Pulling Constantly Mean Anything to the 11 Men on The Field appeared first on...

Arsenal, Saliba, football

Arsenal have been reducing their outgoings of late, from players contracts to cheaper coffee, so I found it staggering that Unai Emery has 23 first team staff and I’m not talking about players. It appears that as the game has developed, managers and assistants who were mainly responsible for training and fitness are now almost obsolete in football. They have been replaced by a plethora of individuals that would be the envy of the European space agency.

Along with the usual first team coach, assistant manager and goalkeeping coach, there is a head of performance, a sports scientist, numerous physios and even a soft tissue therapist. Not the Kleenex variety.

Then there’s a gang of analysts, analysing the stuff analysts analyse including a video and data analyst and there’s even a data scientist.

I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a laboratory beneath the Emirates, where they mutate genes and manipulate embryos, trying to make a high functioning footballer from human tissue and pig intestines. Which would explain the existence of Granit Xhaka and Shkodran Mustafi.

So, it appears that football is now the preserve of the professors, scientists and theoretical physicists and if Albert Einstein were alive today, he would no doubt have a job counting Keepie uppie’s for Bayern Munich or collecting blades of grass to analyse a player’s speed.

For anyone like me who is confused by this scientific approach, Dorin Moise explains:

“Football analytics is all about using data about previous events in order to have an indication about the outcome of future events.”

“It is not new: it started somewhere in the 50’s and one of the first coaches to use it was a Russian trainer called Valeri Lobanovsky, in an era where a computer was taking up rooms.”

“I found a correlation about the DIKW pyramid and the usage of football data:

  • 1. Data – numbers and metadata collected using manual operators, tracking devices or video tools
  • Information – when data is put into context. One indicator that recently became mainstream is the ‘expected goal‘ (xG) – a percentage associated with every shot based on previously aggregated data.
  • Knowledge – when information is combined with previous experience. Example – aggregating information about indicators like xG (xG for, xG against, non-shot xG, xG difference)
  • Wisdom – using previous levels to take strategic decision enabling competitive advantage.”

READ MORE:

Suggested Arsene Wenger Return to Arsenal Is All Bit Baffling To Take

This is How Arsenal Need to Lineup To Secure All Three Points In Another Bitter and Feisty Tussle Against Newly Managed Watford

Emery gets a sea of defensive options as missing stars reach near fitness after International Break

To be completely honest, I have no idea what all that means to 11 hairy men chasing and kicking a piece of leather or those stupid enough to travel hundreds of miles to cheer on a team of well paid strangers.

Bill Shankly once said:

“Football is a simple game made complicated by people who should know better.”

He had a point.

Follow Arsedevils for more news and updates on Arsenal

The post Does All This And Science That Emery is Pulling Constantly Mean Anything to the 11 Men on The Field appeared first on Arsedevils.


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