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Tuesday 2 May 2017

Arsene Wenger.

While it may not necessarily be the case that the majority of Arsenal fans have turned against our most successful, and longest serving manager, those who have are certainly the loudest. The chorus of disenchantment has been silently simmering in the background for years, slowly swelling like a dim flame burning brighter as more firewood is tossed onto it. The media perception of Wenger has become pity; pity for a man who once revolutionized the sport in the country, for a man whose team played a caliber of football previously unseen in England, for a man who never wavered from the strength of his convictions, for the man who once made everyone question the way they thought about the game ; for a flawed genius.

Wenger walked into every stadium with the arrogance and swagger that left most drooling in jealousy in anticipation of not just the defeat that often followed in those early years, but the footballing lesson that encapsulated the flair, artistry and invention of this once most astute and cultured of managers. Wenger is in every sense a student of the game, aiming to not only play in what many consider the right way, but in his own words, to strive for perfection ;  “I believe the target of anything in life should be to do it so well that it becomes an art..." Chasing fantasies of perfection used to be the Wenger way; the Arsenal way, but now even a strong challenge seems so far out of reach. 

While it now seems likely that the security and comfort of Champions League football, and the now annual embarrassment that sees our exit from a competition we have never truly done much in (One final, another semi final and a couple more quarter finals attest to that) is also out of reach. The wheels are coming off the Wenger bandwagon, with each defeat scarring a former victory.  How far will it have to go before there is no memory of those great Arsene Wenger teams? The answer is subjective of course, but there is, to my mind at least, considerable credit still left in the account. There probably always will be for me, however, that doesn't mean I don't think it is time for change. 

Arsenal football club has become complacent, content with being above average, but nothing more. Or at least that is the public perception. Wenger will argue, and all those who know him will surely attest to, the ambition he has and that he so desperately wants to succeed, and I believe that. I question whether he is now able to make Arsenal successful, with any illusions of being the best now confined to history. However, I don't think that Arsenal as a club are ambitious, or set up in such a way to maximize their huge potential. London's most successful team and one of the richest clubs in the world acting like beggars with an inferiority complex, is not how ambitious clubs act and  it's not how successful clubs act. 

Something clearly must change at Arsenal. In my opinion it is far too simplistic to believe that a change in manager alone will usher in a new era of success. There is a culture of acceptance, a preconceived belief that we cannot compete and will never compete with the madness of 'financial doping', as Wenger himself so eloquently put it. This made sense in the years after moving from Highbury, the mecca for those of us who live in nostalgia and perhaps, not reality. Achieving champions league football throughout those years may yet prove to be Wenger's best work, as he himself has previously admitted, but that time is over. It is time to move on. 

Wenger likes to speak of mental strength and when everything goes wrong, inevitably mental weakness, without taking any culpability in the erosion of confidence himself. Publicly stating that Arsenal cannot compete with clubs for Mbappe, for example, as he did last week sends out the wrong message not only to the fans, but most importantly to the players. It subconsciously sends out the message that Arsenal cannot compete and that seeps out, crating an atmosphere of doubt; feeling beaten before taking to the pitch. Collapsing when the slightest thing goes wrong, just like at the weekend at White Hart Lane conceding two goals in quick succession. How different things are from the days when opposition teams lined up in the tunnel at Highbury already feeling beaten. 

Where is the Wenger that stated he wanted to ' Make arsenal the best club in the world', back in 1996? He might say it again from time to time, but just like when he first arrived no one really believes him; the key difference when he arrived being that results quickly showed his ambition was realistic, now it seems like the desperate whims of a mad scientist struggling to find the right formula.This Wenger you might ask, who is he ?-  Arsene who? 

While this article may come off harsh, I am a huge fan of Wenger. I don't agree with the volumes of abuse leveled at him, and certainly not the vindictive personal attacks that follow every loss. Victoria Concordia Crescit, loosely translated as 'Victory through Harmony' is the Arsenal club motto, and while someone who doesn't like Wenger can certainly claim he is not living up to the 'Victory' side of the motto, can that same fan really say he is living up to the 'Harmony' side? Arsenal as a club have always prided itself on being classy and respectful, if you can't do that then you are just as bad as the players who were slated for being not fit to wear the shirt at Crystal Palace. After all, it is far easier to be harmonious than victorious. 

Arsene Wenger is far from the worst thing at Arsenal and in some ways the more I think about life after Wenger the more I begin to appreciate him. He will never truly earn the plaudits he deserves until he becomes just a name in the history books or cast in bronze outside the stadium. I would also like to highlight that I fear for the time he is gone. Consistency may be boring, and that may be the worst thing you can say about Wenger but it is still limited success. 

Looking at the club from the outside is worrying as it is no secret that Wenger is the only football man with any authority at the club and a big part of me feels that Wenger stands alone in holding the ceiling from caving in entirely. The board remains very stand offish and the majority shareholder merely a ghost. That infamous quote from Sir Chips Keswick, the chairman, that 'When Arsene has a plan we back him, and when he doesn't we shut up' is clearly not a healthy way to run any business, and questionable in every way possible. At the very least Arsene Wenger needs more help, but therein lies the problem; his stubbornness won't allow for it, thus unless he leaves nothing will change and the cycle will continue. The whole structure of the club needs to change. 

While it is time for Wenger to go, I should also highlight that Arsenal are in the F.A cup final and in his darkest hour he may still win a trophy. There is still an outside bet of making the top four, with all hopes surely dependent on a win against Manchester united at the weekend, ironically managed by Jose Mourinho. Can Wenger stir up one or two last great performances? Perhaps, that was the semi-final victory. If Arsenal were to somehow finish in the top four and win the F.A cup then it would be extremely harsh to sack him, but the club needs change. After a successful season, you might ask why I would ask for a divorce. 

The truth is that I don't see Arsenal winning the league again under Wenger, much less challenging for the Champions League. If Wenger stays I only see the situation devolving further, and no one wants that. Arsenal and Arsene need a fresh challenge. Arsenal can be more successful, but I only think that because Arsene Wenger made me think that. Arsenal were a hugely successful team before Wenger took over and the assertion that he 'made' the club is disrespectful to what came before. Arsenal were great and he made them better. The memories of his earliest teams will remain ingrained on my memory, and every great team will always be compared to the 'Invincibles', probably never outdoing them, and that is also the sad irony of it all; we may never be better than we were when Arsene Wenger truly made us great.

Friday 19 August 2016

Jimmy Dunne: A Profile Of A Forgotten Irish Man.

The second article written by Cian Manning (the first of which can be read clicking here) focuses on a forgotten Irish man, who while only playing at Highbury for a brief period, it was so at the beginning of  one of the clubs most successful periods. A forgotten man, much like football before the arrival of the Premier League, nevertheless serves as a reminder of the former special relationship between Arsenal and Ireland which culminated in the 1979 F.A cup winning squad comprising of 6 starting Irish Gooners (7 Irish players would appear in the 1980 final loss to West Ham), from Frank Stapleton to Liam Brady and David O'Leary, managed by Terry Neill, both sides of the border uniting as Arsenal's backbone, unfortunately in the decades since, the decline of Irish players at Arsenal goes hand in hand with the decline of Irish football...


Born in Ringsend, Dublin in 1905 Jimmy Dunne first experienced a revolution of sorts in Ireland before going on to score in twelve consecutive games in the English topflight, a record that Jamie Vardy could not equal even in the media-hyped and globally adored Premier League. From a Republican sympathetic family, Dunne was mistakenly arrested by Irish Free State forces and subsequently rightfully released. In 1923 a spell with Shamrock Rovers led to a move to English Third Division side New Brighton. By 1926 he transferred to Sheffield United for £700 and with Billy Gillespie of Northern Ireland he formed a prolific partnership for the Blades.

Nevertheless, it was not an instant success with Dunne even being transfer listed after playing just 11 games in his first three seasons at the club. As the world economy took a downturn in 1929 Jimmy Dunne’s fortunes and goal-scoring exploits were on the rise. The 1929/30 campaign saw him score thirty-six goals in 39 games, only to better it the following season with forty-one goals in the same amount of appearances.

It was the 1931/32 season in which he achieved the record for consecutive goals in games. He scored over thirty goals in four consecutive seasons for Sheffield United, however the club was in financial trouble. The following year he transferred to Arsenal for £10,000. A league title was achieved in his first season at the club before moving to Southampton after three seasons. Cliff Bastin claimed that Dunne was one of the best centre forwards he played with, but the arrival of Ted Drake in 1934 hastened his departure. Though he achieved silverware with the Gunners is time there was not as goal laden as with Sheffield. In total he scored thirteen goals in thirty-three appearances.

He amassed 170 league goals in English soccer. Furthermore, Jimmy Dunne is second on the list of players from the island of Ireland (both north and south) to have scored in the most goals in the English top flight. He is sandwiched between two Northern Ireland men in Derek Dougan of Wolves and George Best of Manchester United fame.

Also, for all his achievements he has the distinction of having played for both the IFA (Northern Ireland) and the FAI (Republic of Ireland). For the former he played seven games scoring four goals while with the FAI he became their record goal scorer of 13 goals in fifteen matches. A record that was not surpassed till Noel Cantwell reached fourteen in the 1960s. The Cork man and Manchester United FA Cup winner did so playing as a full-back.

However, in 1937 he was offered a return to his first professional team of Shamrock Rovers in Ireland as player/manager. At Milltown his blend of experience and youth saw league titles and cups aplenty and instigated an era of continued success. One of his key signings that was an integral part to the future of Rovers was Paddy Coad. Sadly, he did not live to old age to sit back and recount his successes. In 1949 he died at his home in Sandymount in Dublin. Though the foundations he laid at Rovers were enhanced by Coad who reluctantly succeed Dunne upon his death. The Waterford man would lead his team to three League of Ireland titles and an FAI Cup and he-himself was described as the greatest Irish player to have never played in England.

Perhaps one could assert that Coad succeeded as Rovers manager the greatest Irish player to have played in England. Though his playing days at Arsenal were few and brief he played a part in the ushering of a successful few seasons in the latter of half the 1930s. The club went on to win two more league titles and a second FA Cup. The arrival of Dunne to North London could be described as akin to Denis Bergkamp or Davor Suker to the club in the 1990s. Players with record, ability and reputation that played an important role in driving the Gunners on to further success not just by their playing but also their attitude. With that, it is saddening to note that Dunne is not further recognised in both England and Ireland. Perhaps Jamie Vardy not equaling the record has done more to recognise his feat which has lasted over eighty years.

Written by Cian Manning.

Wednesday 17 August 2016

A Hotspur Homage to a Gunner God: Why Wenger Was Right and how Pochettino is the next Prophet.

I have not been active on this blog for numerous reasons and it is, perhaps, the current situation Arsenal have once again found themselves in that has me coming back to it in an effort to scratch an itch that can't be found. Nevertheless, this is an article ( I have a second that I will publish, for those interested) that a good friend of mine wrote and sent to me last year, and for whatever reason I never got around to publishing it. He is a Spurs fan and he uses the word soccer, but if you can forgive him that it is a good read. There is a lot of debate with regards the manager and the need to categorise which side you stand on, so it is nice to take a break from that debate and hear another perspective. As it was written during last season, there are of course, many references to that- note the lack of Leicester! It is quite odd how the mood at a club can change so quickly...


As a Spurs supporter it’s very hard to say, or write in this case, that Arsene Wenger is the greatest manager in certainly the history of the English Premier League, and a revolutionary. However, when looked at rationally and with cold calculus which never lies, it’s rather obvious. Often the prophet or preacher is chastised and ridiculed in pointing the path of piety for a bountiful reward. Only when martyred is he/she revered. Whether its Jesus Christ, Woodrow Wilson, Billie-Jean King or Bill Hicks is only after their life (or after their resurrection, and yes I know Billie-Jean King is still alive with Emma Stone rumoured to portray her in the retelling of the famous ‘Battle of the Sexes’ game) that we come to recognize their virtues.

Such assessments may take the reading of a thousand page book, a League of Nations, a film or YouTube, but Wenger’s achievements can be assessed by the very fact of where Arsenal are right now. Nearing twenty years in English football, he has lead his sides to three league titles and six FA Cups, continued appearance in the top echelons of European football and a stadium that rivals that of the NFL. The forerunners of this seasons Premier League playing enchanting football says it all. Of course, as a reader of an Arsenal blog, you already knew and believe that. Hard for a Tottenham fan to argue against that silverware with a couple of league cups and the prestigious (my word and opinion) Peace Cup in 2005. Though how Wenger managed to achieve this is where the gospel lies and enlightenment ensues.

To me, Arsenal appear to be the perfect ‘hipster’ club, up until Wenger’s arrival in North-East London, the Gunners had intermittent periods of success, enough to sustain the famines that inspired Nick Hornby’s devotion. If Aston Villa is the club of choice for David Cameron and Prince William, the very fact that Fever Pitch follows an Arsenal fan in a singular success for the 1980s, then turned film starred Colin Firth. The man who would be portraying a King for Academy Award glory. At least George Graham’s side was more entertaining than the King’s Speech. Perhaps one could argue that Wenger was the original ‘hipster’.

Wenger was favoured over the mercurial Johan Cruyff for the job. If he was able to out philosophize the Zen of ‘Total Football’, than he was clearly already going to be a success. Not only does he transform the Gunners from dull and dank to the beguiling entertainers of the English game. He reinforces the idea of preparation, more emphasis on diet and nutrition with scientifically timed training and recovery sessions to benefit his players; it all sounds like Roy Keane’s wet dream. Nevertheless, the innovation does not end there. Many articles have been written by the nurturing of young talent and his stringent economic principles that have strengthened an identity, but to my own amazement he assess his player’s mentality on a regular basis. So much for the hairdryer treatment, it would appear that Wenger knew when to show a player the door before a flair up, both Adebayor and Robin Van Persie are perfect examples.

And it’s Adebayor where one can see that the Argentine Mauricio Pochettino is of the same soccer gene pool as the French man. In showing Emmanuel Adebayor the door at the start of the season not only followed Wenger’s assessment but also demonstrated the cool ruthless calculation of the business world that they both apply, to not waste time on hopeless causes. Pochettino’s emphasis on youth (which has been precipitated by the ridiculous divining out of the Gareth Bale transfer fee and with a view to financing of the clubs new stadium…yes, 61,000…1-0 to the Spurs!) has seen figures such as Eric Dier, Delle Ali, Harry Kane and even the expensive Lamela thrive and even flourish. Though the former Espanyol man may not fit the economic-centric dynamics of Wenger, he certainly applies a modicum of it to his own transfer dealings.

When offered QPR’s Charlie Austin as a substitute for Sadio Berahino instead of accepting Levy’s offer he choose not to follow it. Perhaps this also offers him leverage in the future, in not accepting Levy’s way he is not accountable for when it dithers (which has happened to other Spurs managers on too numerous occasions) and with the two Spurs may finally have Ying and Yang. Pochettino’s footballing philosophy, a disciple of Marcelo Biesla (linked with Swansea City, and the hipster manager of them all) with the financial brilliance of Levy stands Spurs well in the future. If you ask me, granted a White Hart Lane worshiper, who were Arsenal’s greatest partnership? I wouldn’t say Henry and Bergkamp, but Arsene Wenger and David Dein. For both of whom the club’s transformation would not have been possible. For all the beliefs in philosophy and reliance on plans, often history is the result of chance by circumstance. However, that discussion would be for another day or judging by this article and the editorial sensibilities of Cosmic Kid cut in its infancy after this post.

The last question I hear you say I haven’t clarified? (One of an assortment of voices in my head), Yes, Pochettino will surpass Wenger as the next prophet. Why? Because he has things in place that Wenger didn’t have back in 2006 when Arsenal left Highbury for the Emirates. Spurs playing staff are on the incline, the trajectory that is afforded youth though not a given is most definitely a positive. The stadium will take care of itself, with Levy in mind I certainly would not have any major worries over it financing. However, the real test is can Tottenham avoid the same path that befall Arsenal over the years that followed. In ’06 Wenger’s Invincibles were on the decline, the side he rebuilt never got the chance with the departures of Flamini, Hleb, Fabregas and Van Persie over the years hindering any near success. Now finally, the verve is back and the Emirates is on the cusp of what could be a great era. The major key is stability which is offered in abundance. The fact that Pochettino’s managerial career isn’t laden with silverware is the very personification of Spurs in the 21st Century, the hunger and desire is there. The two should remain happy bedfellows.
Yet both Arsenal and Spurs have the one thing that a rudderless Chelsea, a hapless United and a lackluster Liverpool lack, an identity. And no amount of money can buy that. The most valuable thing in modern day soccer is time. May both clubs forge further with success…maybe titled in Spurs’ favour. If Spurs could follow such stability, there may be some important derbies to come over the years.

Written by Cian Manning.

Saturday 17 October 2015

Out Of The International Fire And Into The Premier League Frying pan (A Watford Preview, Of Sorts)..

At last we come to the end of another insidious international break and go back to the rumble and tumble of the Premier League. When we last we met football at club level we had dispatched Man United with a form of Blitzkrieg that any Army General would be proud of, never mind any football manager. It was the culmination of a week's worth of pain, or rather a midweek slump in the Champions League. It is worth reminding people that we won the game before United in the league 5-2 at Leicester, at that stage they were the only remaining unbeaten side in the division. We are on good form overall in the League and you could say that the West Ham loss on the opening day was perhaps our darkest hour; but even then one can look at the ease and luck with which they disposed of both Liverpool and Man City and find it hard pressed not be to impressed with the Hammers start under new boss Slaven Billic.

We have had other hairy moments, the draw at home to Liverpool, or the loss at Chelsea. However, no one can truly judge a match that was so clearly decided by the referee's ineptitude, and a draw at home to Liverpool is clearly not the end of the world. Don't believe the negative hype around Arsenal, we are contenders this season; the United victory can be a springboard for our season; lets focus on making sure that performance was not our finest hour this year. If we do that, it will be worth every penny, highest ticket prices in the land, or not.

The international break, it seems, went well for Arsenal which is a sentence I never thought I would type. Sanchez added to his goal tally; Ozil added to his assist tally, Chamberlain finally hit the net again, Ramsey scored for a Wales team who qualified for the Euro's next summer and so on; but the biggest news is the fact that at the time of writing there have been no injuries. Wenger has said that although he is still waiting to see a few players, ( Alexis included, who went off against United with an injury as we all know) they had all texted to say they were fine. This is great news. Obviously the medical team will assess the players but it looks positive. The only question that remains is whether to risk certain players or whether they are too far into the dreaded Wenger-ism that is the; 'red zone'.

The red zone is the term the manager uses when certain players have niggles of bruises or have played too many games, and thus, their involvement in the next match will risk an injury or a more serious injury. It is a tricky situation for the manager to negotiate; does he risk Sanchez if he is not fully fit with Bayern Munich up next on Tuesday (A must not lose game) ? We all know the Chilean will want to play in both matches, but if there is any risk of injury then he should be benched. The logical answer is to say that Bayern Munich are the form team in Europe at the moment and to beat them we will need our best players, so rest him at Watford, but i'm not sure. It looks as if the odds are against us in Europe this year and I genuinely believe the team is capably of putting a strong challenge for the title this year.

If I were the manager and I absolutely had to make a choice, (after all this is all pure speculation), I would probably go for the Watford game and keep the League as the main focus this season. The Champions League always looks out of reach for us; even if we manage to get through the group it would take an awful amount of luck for us to win or have any chance of winning the competition. It can be done; Liverpool 2005, Chelsea 2012, to use English examples, but the difference is in the League we can win without needing to rely on luck. In general i'm not one for prioritizing competitions but this season I can see the sense in it. Beat Bayern Tuesday night and i'll probably feel different about it, however...

Anyway on to the game itself Saturday and as I said we are looking in good shape with regards to injuries and add to that it looks as if we have a few players returning to the squad. The manager revealed that Arteta and Flamini should be back but Koscielny will face a late fitness test. Again there is no need to take a risk with him as we have Gabriel and Mertesacker who were excellent against United.

City lost Aguero and Silva to injury on international duty so this looks like the perfect time for the team to put a good run together and hopefully capitalize on any slip ups from City. Next week there is the small matter of the Manchester derby which means one of the teams, at least, will drop points in the next couple of weeks. So let's just hope our own team can get the points on the board as it looks as if we are capable of getting maximum points from the next batch of fixtures leading up to the next international break.

Looking at the fixtures in the League after the trip to Vicarage road we play Everton at home then Swansea away before hosting the old enemy at the beginning of November. Obviously the North London derby is always incredibly important but after beating that lot at the Lane already this season you would hope the team will go into the game with confidence; the most difficult game looks like the trip to the Liberty as we don't have the best record there. That was one of the lowest points of last season, losing there after going a goal up. Let's hope we put it right this time around.

Providing the team is fit and ready I would be tempted to stick with the same lineup from the United game, it looked like the team found the right balance between fast attacking fluidity and a compact defence. Besides it is still only October so all this talk of rotating players is perhaps, a little early.

Watford have looked strong defensively this season and are well organized They have picked up a couple of impressive results such as the 2-2 draw at Everton and see themselves sitting firmly in mid table (only 6 points behind us too). They have only conceded one home goal this season which is countered by the fact that they have matched that tally from a scoring sense. It will be a tough game and as the stats suggest it will be tight, I expect goals. I'm going for a 2-3 away win; but just hoping for any win.

Right that will do for today

P.s  Like the blog on Facebook here (I just set up the page last week).. 

Have a good one,

Subjectively, Cosmic Kid.

Friday 16 October 2015

Does Wenger's Address At The A.G.M Suggest He Will Leave When His Contract Expires?

Here is the full transcript of the Managers address at the AGM; he spoke well on a number of topics such as the fact that results affects him more now rather then when he first arrived at the club,standing by his transfer policy and a possible departure date. Anyway this is taken from The Guardian.


“Nice to see you. I had the luck and the privilege to celebrate on 1 October my 19th year as the head of the club as a manager. I would like to thank you for this confidence and the board as well. We have gone through some fantastic periods, as well some difficult periods, but they were always on my side. And I rate that. If I did not rate that I would not be here any more.

“When I arrived we were 80 people at the club, the share price was £400. Today we are about 550 and the share price is I don’t know how high at the moment [£15,000-£16,000]. But I have none, don’t worry. I never wanted one because I never wanted to be accused to make some decisions to favour the share price to go up in value. And I am quite happy I didn’t.

“But I must say the first years of my career here were quite easy, from 1996 to 2005. It was a period where it all went really easy, smooth and well. We were always dominating, mostly in the league or the FA Cup.

“Then came a second period when we moved into this stadium. It became much more difficult because we face more competition and because we were under restricted finances and the target was to stay at the top of the league and to qualify for Champions League every year to repay our debt back. I must say we did it. Sometimes within a sceptical environment, and most of the time having to fight until the last minute of the last game of the Premiership.

“When you are the supporter or manager of a club you are always told what you don’t do. I understand that, we are in a society that is like that. But looking back I am, of course, proud we won titles and FA Cups, but as well I believe the first quality of a club is to be consistent. If you look back we have 18 consecutive years in the Champions League qualified.

“Only one club in Europe, Real Madrid, has done better with 19. I can understand it is not enough. It shows the quality of our behaviour has paid off at least with consistency of results. We want more and I am the first to agree that it is not enough. If it was easy everyone would have done it. Sometimes it is important to remind people that to remain at the top is difficult. And we do not rate that enough.

“I believe too if you ask me to do it again I would say no, let somebody else do it because I will not take that gamble any more because it was so difficult.

“Since two and a half years we are out of this period, much more at ease financially. Because the weight of Champions League income is not as big any more. Because the broadcasting has gone up and commercial income has gone up and the weight of the income in the Champions League is not as big any more.

“In the last few years we have built a core of people around the team who can help us more. As manager, I get an unbelievable amount of detail and data on every single game on every single day. What was 18 years ago my eye, now I have to select the four or five pieces of information to be efficient. About 20 people working around me every day, who work very hard to get us stronger every year. It demands a lot of energy.

“I believe we move forward, but I must say it is difficult because people are better informed, know more, than 19 years ago. What is fantastic in football is you have 10 people and me as a professional and sometimes the guy who is not a professional can be right.

“The only thing for sure is I make everything possible to make sure I make the right decision for the club. It is not off the cuff. All the advice we get we consider. But we have more information than people who just have an opinion. But the world has changed. We are equipped around our team to say we are really advanced in the way we work and the way we prepare and the way we develop players.

“You want to ask me: “Will we win the championship this year?” I think we are back in contention and we have a good chance. All the numbers confirm we have the potential to be in the fight – the chances made, the number of chances we give away, the number of dangerous situations we create. And as well in 2015 from 1 January, what was for me the turning point in the history of this team, in the calendar year we have taken more points than anybody. That means the trend is right.

“What we do is consistent. Even if we had a bad start to the season we managed to come back and are only two points from the leaders. That means we have recreated consistency. We have to show what we showed against Manchester United. Be capable to win the big games, show that level of urgency in every single game and show the consistency we have shown since the start of 2015.

“Last year we finished third and won the FA Cup. We won it for the second year running and I think we have won it more than anybody else. We want, of course, more. We have the potential to do more and will fight very hard for that.

“We are not scared to spend the money – I know I have that reputation. We have shown in the last three years if the player has the quality, we spend the money.

“Success is about talent and cohesion. Cohesion is always brought from people who are educated at the club. It means a lot when they wear the shirt, they have worn it from when they are young and they know what it means. We do not want to dismiss that. You need people who carry the values of the club through the generations. We are very proud of the players we bought but also I am very proud of players like Francis Coquelin and Héctor Bellerín, who have been educated here. That is important as well. They don’t always get the rewards they deserve because they don’t score goals but they really want to do well for the club. We have to find the right mixture of top, top players from outside and those we develop from the inside. That is why we invest in youth.

“I know we face some adversity sometimes but I am more motivated than ever, more committed than ever. I was a bit more relaxed 19 years ago when you know if it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work.

“Today I know what it means for people. I know how sad people are when we don’t do well, when we lose a game. The responsibility on my shoulders is much bigger. I am resolute to commit absolutely until the last day of my contract to bring back big success to this club, and leave as well one day in a position where it can do even better when I leave. It is for me very important that I leave the club in the shape that the guy who comes after me can do better.

“Let’s be honest, we face more and more competition, even in England, from other clubs. We have to be stronger in future to fight against this kind of competition. But we will. Thank you again and hopefully see you next year.”


There has been a lot of speculation that the Manager was hinting at the fact that this will be his last contract and that he will leave the club at the end of next season. Whether it is true or not it is the first time we have heard any real discussion on the issue that has some basis in fact, and not the wishes of those who want the manager out of the club when their local supermarket runs out of their favourite flavour of MnM's.

Anyway its just more speculation, do you think the manager will leave when his contract ends? Will he only go out winning the League like Ferguson? Who knows, discuss below in the comments, but once again keep the labeling Arsene in/out nonsense to another place!

Have a good one,

Subjectively, Cosmic Kid.

Sunday 11 October 2015

A Question for Serious Men; Koeman Says Mourinho's Chelsea Should Be More Like Wenger's Arsenal..

*A little announcement first as I have finally set up the blog's Facebook page so go ahead and 'like it' here: It would be greatly appreciated, thank you!*

Now onto the real reason you are here ( I think..).

We are Arsenal fans, and as such have become accustomed to 'nice' football, fast incisive play with a view to scoring.....eventually. While most enjoy and praise our brand of football, there have always been the naysayers sitting in the dark corner dissenting at each and every opportunity. They say things such as 'yeah it's pretty but its not effective' or 'whats the point in playing well if you don't win anything'. First of all this is complete bullshit. Now, allow me, if you will, back up my assertion with a rebuttal; 1) Why can't you win playing 'nice' football?, why is there some strict belief that playing well doesn't equate to points on the board?  2) The best team, arguably, in the modern era played 'nice' football- Barcelona (who we beat, playing 'nice' football, by the way) and arguably the Premier League's greatest team played 'nice' football- Arsenal 03/04 and 3) Why are so many managers now trying to get their teams playing 'nice' football?

It is one of those blanket statements that people make that really have no basis in fact that irritates me. Why is it that when a team who doesn't play 'nice' football, say Chelsea, it's not down to their style of play? I never hear, (apart from the odd rumblings from fans), pundits, journalists and the like say 'they didn't win because they played too defensive, or too long ball'.

Most times when Arsenal lose there is a mention about the style of play, about the 'tippy tappy' nature of our game and how that prevents us from scoring a goal. Now, sometimes this is true and as fans, we have all been there, shouting at the T.V or the pitch; 'JUST SHOOT!!' That's natural and sometimes it does prevent us from scoring and sometimes the passing nature of our play is perfectly suited to the oppositions strengths. However, that is true for every team. No team is perfect; no team can go a season without losing a League match (Well, besides Arsenal in 2003/04, that is). They will all lose at some point; but its not always down to the fact that Arsenal play 'nice' football. Sometimes, you know, the opposition is just better.

Why is there such a backlash, at times, against teams for trying to play 'nice' football, and to make games exciting?  Although they may ultimately fail, why blame a team for trying to take the initiative and being positive after they lose? Why not go after the teams who don't try and be positive in their play? Or better yet, why don't people who analyze games relax about how the team likes to play and focus on the reasons the team lost that day. It is not always down to a particular 'philosophy' ( I hate when managers and fans use that word).

You might argue that playing in a certain manner allows the opposition plan and set up accordingly, but I would counter that with the fact that teams who play 'nice' football are all about movement and creativity, and, therefore they also perfect the art of playing in tight spaces. They plan for a well marshaled, deep back four as much as the opposition will plan to stop all the 'nice' football. Why isn't there anyone saying that Mourinho is as predictable as Wenger, as he always lines up defensively? Sure, the details may change but the narrative is always the same with Mourinho. If Wenger doesn't 'do' defence then Mourinho doesn't 'do' attack.

Now onto the reason for my ranting, which is to say that it was refreshing to hear Ronald Koeman criticize Mourinho for being too defensive and basically what I was saying in the last couple of sentences above. Here is what he said via Goal;

"Chelsea prefer to defend when attacking is also an option,"
"Mourinho always chooses to defend. Even if his team goes 1-0 up, they would rather defend their lead than try to score more goals.
"Yet Arsenal can kill an opponent. That is why their victory against Manchester United was so impressive.
"Attacking-wise, they completely destroyed United. For 20 minutes, they played the most fantastic football, while Chelsea do the opposite thing.
"By defending, Chelsea give their opponent a chance to come back in the game. It was a shame that Mourinho was putting attention on the referee after we beat them.
"He wanted to have a penalty in the first half. But, in the first half at Stamford Bridge, Southampton should have had two penalties."
He makes a good point, and I said something similar when both Chelsea and Arsenal were knocked out of the Champions League last season on twitter  (I do say some things of note, every now and then) ;

"Question; Wenger gets slaughtered for going too attacking against Monaco, Shouldn't Mourinho be killed for going too negative against 10 men?"

It's a strange football environment we live in where it seems that to go out and try do something the right way only wins you more criticism. Everyone talks about liking 'nice' football, but when they see it they criticize it. Anyway its a question for serious men.

By the way I kept highlighting 'nice' football for no reason at all, it just seemed like something I should do to make up for my laziness in not using another adjective.

Right I'll Leave it there- Remember if you like the blog or any of my posts please do share them as it would be greatly appreciated! Also comment below, plenty to talk about, if only to criticize me for many of the reasons you should do!

Have a good one!

Subjectively, Cosmic Kid.

Thursday 8 October 2015

Wenger: Cazorla's Quality Won Over My Doubts..

Looking back to 2012 I seem to remember that the signing of our little Spanish maestro seemed to come out of no where. While he was relatively well known, Cazorla, given the amount of International experience he had, it's quite strange, how there wasn't more interest form other clubs. We signed him for under £20 million which is a bargain whatever way you look at it and he has gone on to become instrumental for the club and has nailed down the central midfield position as his own.

When the club signed Mesut Ozil, Santi was pushed out wide to accommodate for his arrival and this impacted upon his form and efficiency. In his first season (2012/13) Cazorla scored 12 goals, strangely enough all coming in the Premier League, whereas his goal return went down the following season to 7. Although it must be pointed out that he did play in less games, but it was his general performances which weren't holding up in comparison to his first season; he just isn't made to play out wide in the Premier League.

Last season the manager finally found the right balance and moved Cazorla into the centre, further back in a double pivot (usually with Coquelin) and while his goal tally didn't see a miraculous jump, (going up by one to 8 overall for the season), his form and contribution to the team did. Cazorla was excellent in this position and is perhaps best summed up by his fantastic performance away to Man City. Just look up that run he made in the second half dribbling away from three or four players and then making a block at the end; it was everything you could ask for from a central midfielder.

I find it amusing when people talk about Cazorla playing in that position, Gary Neville for one has constantly raised doubts about his physical stature against the big teams. However, it seems that the big matches are where Cazorla shines best. City away and Liverpool at home last season and United this season.

Cazorla has made the midfield position his little playground, his ability to use both feet and how fast he can switch the ball onto either foot combined with that burst of speed to get away from people is crucial to our game. He is the cog in our quick transition play and can adapt better than most in different styles of play; whether we play on the break or try to dominate possession. With 33 assists (All stats taken from already to his name as an Arsenal player none of his Premier League peers can boast better, since his arrival in 2012..

Anyway here is what Wenger had to say about the signing, admitting he had his doubts at first, again from the official club website;

“You could question whether he was physically equipped to play in the tough Premier League, “It's true that I had that doubt, but his quality was so big that I was ready to take that gamble.
“His technical quality, his right foot, left foot, his availability, his vision and the quality of his passing made me go for it.
“I thought, 'If there is a team in the Premier League where he has a chance to make it, it's with us.' That's why I went for it.”

He went on to describe when he first saw him and came recommended form Pires;

“I think I first saw him when he was about 20 or 21. He was not a regular player, but in some games we watched you could see he had talent.
“After that Robert Pires moved to Villarreal and played with him. Sometimes I asked Robert, ‘Are there any good players there?’
“He said to me straight away, ‘Cazorla is a fantastic player’. So Robert was a scout for me! He at least confirmed the impression I already had about Santi.”

So there you have it; Santi Cazorla the gift that keeps on giving.

What do you think of his overall contribution to Arsenal? Let me know in the comments. I also posted a piece on international football earlier that you can read by clicking here

Until Next time, Have a good one!

Subjectively, Cosmic Kid.