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Arsenal- Pointless in Europe

by SimonSEEZ

Arsenal had a second chance to make a first impression in Europe and yet again we failed. Work and traffic combined to ensure I watched only the last 15 minutes of the game and I don’t think I will invest time to seek it out and relive the terrible experience.

I tried to follow the game on radio but commentaries around here are really poor to be honest. You either have to deal with a perpetually shouting Murphy on Brilla 88.9FM (no one really has time to deal with someone shouting after a hard day’s work) or you listen to the guys on Naija Info 99.3, to be honest they are quite fair, however, how I can’t deal with a live game commentary show where people call in. I don’t understand it, I am watching a football game, and rather than listen to commentary on the TV, I listen to radio and then pick up my phone and call a radio show to talk about the game? Anyone who does that in my opinion is not worth listening to. Never makes sense to me.

What doesn’t make sense also is how results have gone this season, at every important hurdle we have a chance to make an impression, we fail.

1st game of the season – Loss

1st Champions League game of the season – Loss

1st game against top four side – Loss

Opportunity to register champions league points at home – Loss

The Capital one game against Spurs was the only result this season we have really enjoyed and for a team of Arsenal’s stature, to be in the position we are in the Champions League is really poor. A Gooner tweeted yesterday after the game stating Arsenal as a football club was underachieving and those thoughts went with me to bed. Are we underachieving or rather our position and results so far are just a reflection of the quality and amount of investments we make?

Our unwillingness to pay the going rate for players across Europe means we are behind the likes of City, Chelsea and United in domestic competitions and increased revenue for EPL clubs means they can attract the quality needed to make life hard for us. Wenger’s is averse to spending for the sake of spending hence his preference for developing his squad and looking for internal solutions to Arsenal’s problems. To be honest, with or without investment, the quality of players we have should comfortably beat Zagreb and Olympiakos and if we have failed at these hurdles the blame lies solely at the managers desk.

His responses yesterday to questions asked about his recent team selections reflected anger and the expectation is that he translates that anger on the training ground to the players he fielded.

I make the decisions and selections for the team and I’m responsible for it. I know many things that you don’t know and that you ignore. You cannot select a team by using a poll and getting everyone’s opinion before the game.

You can’t argue with that statement, in truth, as much as like to assume we know everything and have all the information about the players, Wenger knows things about his team that we do not know and might never know except someone writes a book and also he cannot select a team based on who the fans would like to see. However, he is paid and very well at that to make the investments (internally or externally) that would make whichever team he decides to select to represent Arsenal Football Club the best possible team to win every football game.  Has he done that?

Seeing all the goals yesterday and I think Ospina certainly should have done better for the second and third. It was Wenger’s decision to field him so he is solely responsible for the outcome we saw on the pitch. I assumed the decision to play Ospina against Dinamo Zagreb was due to the supposed quality of the opposition we were facing and to ensure he was match fit should we ever need him to replace Cech.

The fact he featured yesterday, gives me the impression that part of the deal for Ospina to stay was he would feature in all cup games. Else how do you explain resting your sole summer purchase in the position were you felt you needed improvement in a must win game. The manager’s response when the question was poised to him was:

That is a simple thing. David Ospina played 19 games last season and kept 14 clean sheets and last week he had a fantastic game. No keeper is mistake free, it could have happened to Petr Cech as well.

Can you really argue with those stats? Stats never lie they say, however anyone that works with data will always tell you , you can always compartmentalize anything you want using data . If the manager felt Ospina is that trusted, why did he make the investment in Cech? Was Woijiech that bad for a second choice keeper? There is a reason he signed Cech and that reason must have included nights like yesterday.

Arsene and Arsenal have failed yet again, and our future in Europe looks bleak. You always get the impression, the team is ready to take the next step, that readiness as is does not seem to translate to any real action to make that step forward. Hopefully, we remedy this pain with a win against United. Have a good day friends.

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Enigma September 30, 2015 - 12:37 pm

My dear Simon Wengers time has been up a loooong time ago till he goes I’ll just keep supporting and enjoying /feign indifference to results

SimonSEEZ September 30, 2015 - 1:46 pm

To be honest, I have always being a big Wenger supporter but recent results have really shaken my stance. I am beginning to ask if my love for him is not purely emotional.

Olayinka321 September 30, 2015 - 7:13 pm

Simon,I am just going to ask you a few questions….
1) Is Arsenal a Super club?
2)Can we compete with the super clubs on the pitch and in the transfer market?
3) did we av same chance with all other teams to strengthen our team or not?
4) Some years ago,we were all told that we dint av the financial strength to cope wit the super clubs cos of the stadium,r we still building a stadium?
5)like u rightly pointed out; why cant we afford to pay the going rates for obvious talents that wld improve our team?
6) in all honesty,can Arsenal win the EPL?
7) in all honesty,can Arsenal win the UCL?
8) in relation to numbers 7 n 8 above,can Arsenal win both competitions with Wenger in charge?
9) If you claim we are a super club,why dont we operate in d same vien as super clubs( strive to win the epl n ucl,not js making up the numbers cos whether u like it or not dts wat we r doing)
10) I cant remember as a person bt can u tell me the last time Wenger came out to CLEARLY tell us what exactly our targets are in the epl and d ucl,last I remember was wn he said d famous ‘top4 is as good as winning a trophy’
I have a lot of questions,bt let me js leave you with these 10….i am doing my ‘plenty talk again’…and I dint even see d game yday o,imagine I did…looool

SimonSEEZ October 1, 2015 - 11:54 am

Hello Yinka

10 questions is not few. But I will answer.

1. Yes, Arsenal is. (FanBase , trophies won and financial details proves that)
2. We can compete on the pitch, in the transfer market? some of these clubs in the same bracket as us are sponsored by countries.
3. We had same chance and we strengthen the goal keeping position.
4. Stadium has been built and payment plan restructured. We were free of that burden a few years ago and purchases of Ozil and Sanchez are pointers to what more free money can afford us.
5. The manager makes that decision. He is right sometimes, some other times he is wrong
6. Yes we can.
7. No we can’t
8. I do not know
9. We have an ideology that guides us. FFP’s failure has hampered that ideology from working.
10. The top 4 is as good as a trophy comment has been taken out of context. It was not meant to have a literal meaning, rather contextual. Ask Spurs, Livepool and recently Man United fans if finishing is champions league places is not an achievement.

Olayinka321 October 1, 2015 - 2:04 pm

Simon,dont mind me and my ‘few’ questions,bt in response to your answers,here are my counter-arguments
1)in your response to number 1,u said we r a super club,i agree with you on the basis of fanbase and financial details(Afc has declared profits consistently since 08 or so) bt wn u say trophies won,i wld like u to put ‘DOMESTIC’…because we avnt featured even in the final of the ucl since our barcelona game some years ago less having the tots of winning a european competition
2) I agree some super clubs are sponsored by countries bt I wld like to bring to your notice d team called Atletico Madrid,i do not think they av as much financial backing as we do,and dre r a force to reckon with in europe
3) on ur response to question 4,so we agree d money is dre,like we r made to believe every transfer window,so which is ur school of tot,a) dre r truly no quality in d market dt wld improve our team. b) we as a team are unwilling to pay the prices required in this present market.
4) ur response to number 9,u actually…really… believed the FFP wld work?wld deter teams from going about thier biz? These super clubs run the regulatory bodies,dts why dy r super clubs,yes dy wld get transfer bans and fines,bt wld that stop them frm buying players at inflated prices? I think not…see the teams dt r supposedly supposed to run into trouble wit the FFP rules,did dy get dier players? Yes…did dy get ‘punished’? Yes(registering less players and a fine)
5) response to 10,d statement was made,whether its now bin blown out of context or not,it has passed a message to d players,fans,rivals,opponents,which is,we dont really want to win this,as far as we r there or thereabout,we r fine…we see managers of ‘TOP TOP’ clubs go all in to make a mark on the UCL,to win thier domestic leagues,bt for us,we get into d 2nd round of d ucl,we lose d 1st leg,dn put in a fight in d 2nd leg,we get dumped out (as usual) dn all of us(manager,players,fans) console ourselves by saying we almost made it,we were an away goal frm qualifying or we needed 5more mins of injury time etc…dt my friend is not a sign of a team dt wants to win the ucl,its js a team dt js wants to be counted as a 2nd round feature in d ucl,and our epl form?lol…its bin wat?I cant even remember how it feels to win d epl…as for d teams u mentioned;united,liverpool ds teams have been dre(europe)and done dt,my point is we are comfortable with just bin dre…why? Dm say make we nor win am?

SimonSEEZ October 1, 2015 - 3:45 pm

1. We agree on one .
2. I would like to see A. Madrid for the next 3-4 years to see what they achieve. Time will tell of their run is an exception or a norm.
3. It is a mixture of both . For instance , in the strikers dept, I too didn’t see any realistic improvements.
4. I hoped FFP would work. Hope is not a bad thing.
5. Everyone wants to win and I believe the club too wants to win. For years we were hampered by stadium developments, however, now that we are free, I hope the guys that run the club make the necessary investments needed to make the dream a reality. When we see physically we can have a discussion about the statement on top 4.

Zeal October 1, 2015 - 10:02 am

Chai.. My belle + my head..
Oga Simon, I gbadun this ur write up honestly..
I have stopped bothering about Arsene and his silli decisions(Most times). I know we are stuck with him for at least 5 more years and this trend will continue. He’s too rigid for my liking and I bet with this same character, we can’t achieve anything better than those finals we got already in Europe. I don’t get freaked with his Every season UCL appearance, e no move me..
That said for the manager, I think to some extents our players too fail him.. Are we going to say this same squad can’t defeat Olympiakos at home and get a draw(At least) on the road against Dinamo? But this isn’t the first time they are failing the senile man yet he doesn’t do the needful.
U con dey transfer ur aggression on Radio presenters? Buhaha, baba take chocolate jare #TongueOut..

SimonSEEZ October 1, 2015 - 12:02 pm

Thanks Zeal .

I don’t think he will here for 5 years though. I think this is and should be his last contract. Agree with you on the players bit. When you look at our team sheet, do you see it and say ,”Fuck we losing this game against Olympiakos”? No way. That team should beat them. So the problem lies real deep in how they apply themselves and Wenger needs to raise his hands there.

Let’s be honest. Those radio shows are awful.

Olayinka321 October 1, 2015 - 2:11 pm

Zeal baba! I hail,I agree with u on some points…we prolly wld b stuck in d same cycle for d next 5yrs…also the players atimes fail the manager and themselves cos its not me dy r doing o…and yes!d team we put out shld beat olympiacos all day everyday,bt dn see what dy came up wit…smh

Chidinma October 1, 2015 - 3:07 pm

I want to be very frank with my believe. Last season Burnley were promoted to the EPL and took a risk of going back to the championship. When they got relegated they regretted their choice of not taking a risk by spending.
Arsenal was like Burnley this season. We choose not to take a risk. Wenger made it obvious that no risks would be taken, not in buying promising players like Martial or spending big on players like Man City. We were just going to play it safe. After all the team can compete in all competitions we were involved in this season. Cohesion and all was all we needed. Our loss to Monaco was a blip and things like underestimating the opposition and a poor showing by Giroud cost us.
I agree with Arsenal and Wenger and all the WKB(Wenger Knows Best). But really can success be achieved without making a risk. And when I mean making a risk. It’s not the type we just made. It’s like companies refusing to expand their brands or explore new waters because they may fail. I honestly don’t know how Wenger won the EPL but am sure he took risks in getting players and paying money for them.
For how long would Arsenal turn out the same tactics. Fail to win when it’s expected of them. Fall the hands of their supporters. As a female supporter that’s very difficult as your male friends wonder just why you would support such a club.
Can’t Arsenal turn out a few positive stellar surprises like the one against Man city and Man Utd (Fa cup) last season. In both games we had surprises for the opposition(Welbeck and coquelin). Now we just like a broken record playing the tunes of songs heard thousands of time and beyond.
Football is a game of passion. It’s not just a game to make money and take very little risks. Else you would pay the ultimate price of failing to achieve when expected of you.

SimonSEEZ October 1, 2015 - 3:37 pm

Hello Chidinma, thank you for your comment. I am assuming its the first on this blog.

You make very stellar points and I partly agree with you on Wenger or Arsenal’s risk adverseness. Wenger takes risk albiet risks with younger players, investments in Walcott, Ramsey, Chamberlain, Jenkinson etc . His kind of risk however is not the Raheem Sterling or Martial type where you seek nearly instant success for investments made or the Chelsea kind where they can afford to spend millions on players who dont work and can continually loan them out and make further purchases.

Wenger right or wrong, would rather look for value. Value being a term that is firstly relative and secondly open to ones perception of what value is. Spurs and Liverpool are perfect examples of how spending does not necessary translate to success and Wenger choose to improve his team this season by cohesion as you rightly stated.

You would also see from Ian Wrights and Dixon comments that Wenger puts a lot of faith in his players and his players have failed him. He continually does this, and likes to give his players the freedom and confidence they need to express themselves. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

A key problem is most of Arsenal’s policy seems to be what Wenger thinks, how much input do other staff have in making these policies, we do not know.

Chidinma October 1, 2015 - 5:13 pm

It was my first comment. I understand where you are coming from. I guess it’s about different perceptives and collective work. Hope Arsenal can improve on their indifferent form this season though. Beating man united on Sunday would be a welcomed starting point.

SimonSEEZ October 1, 2015 - 8:54 pm

Certainly Chidinma, a win against UNITED would erase some of our current worries

Dozie October 2, 2015 - 9:40 pm

opinions changing after every result. can we have these such discussions let’s say after we won 5-2? because if win by Sunday Yinka won’t line up 10 questions here

Zeal October 2, 2015 - 11:05 pm

It’s normal Dozie.. When you fail to plan well and things are going on well, people won’t talk but will be patiently waiting till when things fall apart to get back to u for not planning well initially. Expect Lil issue from fans when we win but not that it doesn’t mean they don’t knw somethings aren’t right yet. They will address that same issue when we drop unnecessary points.. you gats live with that.. Between u are coming after 3days to say this? Am sure u wouldn’t have said this immediately we lost.

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