Sunday, March 27, 2011

Arsene Wenger- A stiff-necked manager?

30th September 1996, Arsenal F.C confirms the appointment of Arsene Wenger. David Dein the then Arsenal vice-chairman was the brains behind this move. At that time Wenger was anonymous in England

The Evening standard newspaper greeted his nomination with the headline “Arsene Who?”

The Frenchman succeeded Bruce Rioch who was ousted in august 1996. In his first season in charge arsenal finished third behind Newcastle united.

In his second season in charge arsenal won both the league and the FA cup. It was the second Double in the clubs history. They won the league with two games in hand.

The following seasons were unfruitful and led by near-misses. In the year 2002 Arsenal again won the double and went an entire season unbowed away from home.

The 2003-2004 season is perhaps etched in every Gooner’s mind as it was in this momentous year that Arsenal completed an entire season undefeated, the only side in English football to have done this after Preston in over a century. In doing so Arsene Wenger’s legendary side rightly earned the tag of INVINCIBLES.

The following year Arsenal won the FA cup after canning united on penalties.

 Total trophy count till date under Wenger’s dominion:
A.      3 League titles
B.      4 FA cups
C.      4 FA community shields

In the year 2006 Arsenal moved to the 60,000 plus state of the art Emirates Stadium from their iconic stadium in Highbury. The man behind the making of this suave and spacious stadium was again Arsene Wenger.

Now what a large section of fans omit to see is that in making this transition from Highbury to the Emirates, the club incurred a massive expenditure which directly led to a colossal debt.  

There are certain questions that any gooner who has called for Arsene Wenger’s sacking should ask himself?

1.       Has Arsenal always been devoid of trophies?
2.       After the construction of the Emirates, did the manager have vast resources at his disposal?
3.       Is the manager solely to blame for the teams adversaries
4.       Can anyone else foster young talent and turn obscure players into world-class players?
5.       Can anyone else replicate the legacy this man has built?

If yes, the following are the answers to the above questions

1.       The club has been second best once in the champion’s league, Five times in the premier league, once in the FA cup, twice in the FA community shield and twice in the league cup. Thus it is not reasonable to say that Arsenal have not been on the top. The manager cannot be trounced for near-misses at the summit; the recent 2-1 defeat at the hands of Birmingham in the league cup final was purely a defensive error and not a tactical error made by a manager.
2.        The construction of the new stadium came at a monumental expense. With arrears of 470 million pounds to be repaid, it is unwarranted to say that the manager had a vast array of funds at his disposal. The absence of major-signings can only be attributed to the paucity of funds available.
3.       Thiery Henry, Denis Bergramp, Cesc Fabregas, Nicolas Anelka, these are some of the umpteen green talents that have been reared into first-rate players by the French-man.
4.       Is Wenger only at fault, I think not. The manager can only galvanize the players off-the pitch but on the pitch it is the players who have to render. A classic illustration of this is Chelsea F.C- last season Carlo Ancelotti won Chelsea their first double and this season his exit is being speculated, so has the manager’s competence diminished or the player’s performance weakened.
5.       The answer to the last question is a simple NO

       Agreed that the fans have been frustrated by this drought and their behavior is justified. But it must be understood that sacking Wenger is not an option. His obstinacy has been a hindrance at times but his contribution cannot be trivialized. His removal will only add to the chaos as his successor might not attune to the clubs pre-set philosophy and style. 

      People sieve Wenger as a penny-pincher. But his frugal nature has made this club a financial power-house. Would you fans like Arsenal to be thrown into the hands of selfish and profit-oriented owners like that of United and Liverpool?  Aren’t the examples of notorious owners like the glazers and hicks & Gillet testimony to the fact that financial solidity is of utmost importance to a club’s long-term prosperity    
All said and done, as a staunch supporter i strongly feel that the manager has been despairing by continuously placing his faith in under-performing players, and this is one grey-area which needs to thoroughly rectified..
Trophies are perhaps the most important yard-stick to measure a clubs eminence and it would be naïve to suggest otherwise. 

   However I ask all my fellow gooner’s to be resolute in their adhesion of our manager. For this forbearance will unmistakably guide the path towards laurels soon.
      In  “Arsene we trust”

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Are Arsenal's claims becoming shallow with each game ?

 Please Note-This article is a gooner's reaction to a highly frustrating and dismissal performance by his team after they failed to beat a team that is battling relegation.  

14th February 2011 Arsenal recorded a historic win against the mighty Barcelona. Andrei Arshavin carved his name in history books with the winning goal. The magnitude of this victory was so big that it seemed to be-little arsenal's 5 year trophy drought.

A month later the very same arsenal team which was earlier touted to achieve a quadrupole crashed out of  three tournaments in a span of two weeks. Mounting injuries and successive defeats have brought arsenal's season on the brink of disaster.

Arsene Wenger is undeniably  arsenal's most successful manager, his contribution towards building the club cannot be replicated. If any one deserves credit for making Arsenal a role-model for other clubs with regards to management and financial stability it has to be him.

However his policy off-late has back-fired with catastrophic results. Arsenal's defence is pathetic to say the least, the french duo signed in the summer form anything but a strong partnership at the back. Sebastian squilachi, Abu Diaby, Denilson and Thomas rocsicky are certainly not competent enough to be playing for this club.

Although a lot of people might dis-agree with me, But diaby and denilson should be sold as soon as possible. The former is never fully fit and certainly cannot cope with the premier leagues physicality and the latter is simply not that good. His passing has been dreadful and he just cannot do any justice to his role of a holding mid-fielder.

Although fans would like me to be patient and wait till wenger's youth team blossoms and brings laurels to the club. I certainly feel that this attitude has led us down, just by concentrating on the development of the youth the club has been turned into a training-ground.

Unitl the manger starts taking some tough decisions, there is no way the situation will improve. If Fabregas wants to leave for Catalonia this summer let him LEAVE. The club is better off without a player who's heart is not where his mind his. Let Fabregas leave gracefully and he shall always be remembered by fans as a faithful.

SELL under performing players, if a player has been consistently under performing sell him. this would do the club as well as the player a whole lot off good. Start bying some proven players who can stand up in times of crisis and take the role of a leader and inspire others to victory.
It is not so much as this teams lack of quality that is appalling but its lack of a winning mentality that has led it down. The ability to grind out victories against the most resilient opponents is completely missing.

In the end it seems fair if rival fans mock Arsenal right now. It is hard and bitter to digest but the club has absolutely nothing at present to boast about.
The era of the INVINCIBLE' S has gone,stop hanging on it and look at the present.Struggling against relegation threatened teams is certainly not a mark of champions.

Banish the excuses, injuries and  poor refereeing are faced by every team on the planet and are inevitable. A team worthy of becoming champions is one which fight's and wins despite things going against it and currently Arsenal is far from anything close to being called a champion.

Call me a pessimist but i certainly don't see any positives until we start admitting and working on our weaknesses 

P.S- This might be Manchester united's worst team to win the EPL, but if you look at it the other way, Arsenal's current team which is said to be its best in recent times is not even good enough to beat Manchester United's worst squad. Its not a star on United but a matter of shame for ARSENAL

Saturday, March 12, 2011

A gooner's life.

As i write this a part of me is crying.

27th March 2011..Arsenal lost the carling cup final to birmingham city, they squandered their biggest chance in six years to end the trophy drought.

8th April 2011..Arsenal were sent packing out of the champions league by arguably the best team on the planet. barcelona defeated arsenal at the camp nou in a match where the visitors failed to take a single shot on goal.

12th April 2011..Its the FA cup Quarter final, and arsenal face the daunting task of visiting Old trafford. Needless to say they lost the tie and are out of the FA cup.

The gunner's season is over..

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Fabregas to leave Arsenal for Chelsea?

Roman Abramovich is planning a big money move to bring Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas to Chelsea.
The billionaire has plans to hijack Barcelona's summer bid to bring the Arsenal captain back to Spain, according to reports in the Sun.
Further reports indicate that the Blues see Fabregas as the perfect partner for Frank Lampard in their midfield, and Abramovich has sanctioned a £50 million bid in order to lure him over from Arsenal.
This could just be the opening bid, as Arsene Wenger has slapped on a £60 million price-tag, which would not be too far a stretch for Chelsea's owner.
It could be harder to persuade the player himself, as he is keen to return home to play with his childhood friends at home in Catalunya.
Fabregas said to the Sun that returning to Barcelona to play for his idol Pep Guardiola and alongside the world's greatest players like Gerard Pique, Andres Iniesta and Leo Messi is what he seeks, but although the La Liga giants do want him, there are doubts they can afford to outbid Chelsea.
Although most Arsenal fans would consider the move impossible, it is interesting to note that Liverpool fans would have not imagined Fernando Torres in a Chelsea shirt a mere month ago.

Roman Abramovich clearly does not understand that there players who value their club over other things.
Agreed that Fabregas wanted to depart for Catalonia but that was mainly beacuse of his desire to play for his boy-hood club.He has reiterated time and again that the only club he'll ever play for after Arsenal is Barcelona.
Moreover Arsenal boss has always insisted that their captain is NOT for sale. And if a transfer does happen the Spanish outfit will have to pay a hefty sum.
The Russian Czar is deluded in believing that he can buy Fabregas for 50-60million pounds.But in reality Arsenal is way better off than Chelsea financially so the question selling him for money does not arise.

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Fernando torres saga..

When the January transfer window opened nobody in the whole of Merseyside would have expected Liverpool F.C’s star striker Fernando torres to make a switch, let alone join a rival team. Agreed Liverpool were going through a rough phase but under there new manager Kenny danglish things certainly looked to be improving.

Chelsea first made a 35million pound bid for El-Nino only to be rejected outright. Kenny danglish himself came forward and rubbished all claims regarding the striker’s sale to the blues insisting that the player would not be sold any price.

But what shocked the football community and LFC fans in particular was torres himself requesting a transfer from the club. After his first appeal was turned down Chelsea made a renewed offer worth 50million pounds, an amount UN heard of in English football. The result led to torres being sold to Chelsea and Liverpool securing the services of Newcastle wonder boy Andy Carrol and Ajax captain Luis Suarez with the money.
The transfer of Torres to the west London club is said to be the brain child of Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich.

With LFC supporters feeling hurt by what is bring called as an act of betrayal on the part of Torres, Chelsea fans are relishing the prospect of making their front-line all the more lethal with the addition of torres and the likes of Drogba, Maloda and Anelka already present.

The timing of this transfer has made it all the more interesting with the switch looking like the Spaniard was trying to abandon ship.More than the transfer itself the comments made by Fernando Torres after making a move were clearly unwarranted and distasteful.The forward claimed that he wanted to join a club that plays at the top level and that he had clearly made up his mind 18months before when Xabi Alonso left and the club was on a down swing. 

Whether Fernando torres will be able to justify the hefty price paid by his new owners is a question only time will tell...

Friday, January 14, 2011

Will the gunner’s finally conquer..??

As the Barclays premier league kicked off in August, Arsenal started another quest to end their 5 year trophy drought. Since arriving at the emirates in 2006 the gunners have done almost everything right apart from adding some new silverware to their trophy cabinet.

The season began on a good note with Theo Walcott showing that he was ready to put the World cup catastrophe behind him and show the world what the English lad is made off. With their talismanic captain Cesc Fabregas opting to stay at the North London club for another season the gooners felt that this could be their season.

Fast forward 3 months and almost one-third of the season is over with the gunners in a comfortable position at the top of the table. In other competitions most notably the Carling cup where the gunners have reached the semi-finals they are doing well at the moment.

But these three months by no means have been easy for the club. As it has seen some of its most important players get injured yet again. Their defense which is the shakiest at present due to the absence of Thomas Vermaelen has looked bare at times. However certain good things have also come to light, like the potential that the likes of Samir Nasri and Jack Wilshire hold.

Even in the absence (due to injuries, I think ARSENAL is plagued with injuries) of Cesc Fabregas and Robin Van Persie the team seems to have done really good. Marouane Chamakh though not a great clinical finisher has sometimes been the Mr. ‘Dependable’ for Arsenal especially with the aerial threat he has. Bacary Sagna is finally showing that he is capable of becoming a world-class player, the right-back has not only been solid in manning the right flank but also has the ability in assisting the forwards with inch-perfect crosses.

The main point that I am trying to drive here is that if the gunners play with a little more conviction, a little more faith in themselves they can be the most feared lot on this planet. Only if they can become a little more ruthless in their games and learn to close out early and not throw away games like the one against the Spurs where they lost despite a 2-0 lead, they can actually win competitions instead off forever staying in the second or third spot.

 I have felt the frustration of seeing the likes of Manchester United and most recently Chelsea edge past us and win whereas we seem to be doing every thing right but are still unable to find that killer punch which separates us from finally becoming champions. It is time that Arsenal stops resting on its past laurels and starts adding silverware to its glorious heritage.

On a personal note to Mr. Arsene Wenger, it wouldn’t be too bad if for once he spends some big money in bringing some proven steel to the emirates. Would it be too bad if he sidelines his youth policy for one season so that the men in red and white can at least lift one trophy and erase the mental block that has started developing that although they play the most entertaining brand of football, only to fall short in those decisive moments.

So in the end only one question remains, Will the Gunners Finally conquer?  Only time will tell.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Their past came back to haunt them again…

The gunners played the red devils on Monday night hoping to silence their detractors for ever. The Odds were heavily stacked against them; every where match-pundits had already proclaimed a victory for united even before kick-off. In the last 26 years Arsenal had failed to score more than one goal at Old Trafford in a single game. Their last victory to United came in 2006, history and statistics were certainly not on their side.

Even though a victory for united seemed inevitable.  Arsenal faithful across the globe sat with bated breaths, keeping their fingers crossed hoping that this time for once the players can crunch out a victory albeit a narrow one but a win at the theatre of dreams.

But after watching the game most of the supporters were left with a sense of déjà-vu. We were outplayed for a major part of the game, the tight possession and slick passing for which the gunners are famous was completely missing.

Arsene Wenger’s biggest trump card Samir Nasri remained anonymous for most part; the little Russian Arshavin seemed out of touch and struggled to keep possession. Maroune Chamakh’s aerial threat suddenly became invisible. 

Arsenal’s is considered to have the strongest bench strength in the league and in the second-half Van Persie and Fabregas were brought on along with Theo Walcott in a last ditch effort . However they were helpless and could do nothing and in the dying minutes of the game, as the clock inched towards full-time whenever the gunner’s got hold of the ball a dim ray of hope arose in the minds of the fans that an equalizer might just be on its way, a victory was out of question a draw still seemed a possibility.

It was ironical that where the big guns failed to deliver the most convincing performance came from Wojciech Szczesny a rookie goalkeeper who was making his premier league debut against United.

Manchester United was rock solid in defense; they restricted the gunner’s free flowing football whose woes were already compounded by a slippery pitch. The most appalling fact was that Arsene Wenger’s side had no aces up their sleeves to match the tactical brilliance shown by their counterparts.

And in the end when the final whistle was blown the axe fell. All the hype before the match, the verbal lashing of tongues seemed futile. United had once again proved that there is still a long way before the men in red and white can beat them in their own backyard.