The last ten days have been introspective for Arsenal as a club and its supporters. Wenger1000 has dominated the media.
We have been thrust into looking into the past – It’s been wonderful selecting our favourite teams yearning for Patrick Vieira, yearning for Thierry Henry yearning for those super technical athletes with a winning mentality players prepared to fight for their profession.
So many blogs and well written articles eulogising over Arsene Wenger, the stadium, the training ground and sustainability of our club.
It makes you proud – too proud – We lose a game – The world ends.
Let’s look deeper – In my opinion Arsenal have reached a ‘Glass Ceiling’ we are seeing trends here that are staring us in the face.
We cannot approach the big moments that define you as a sporting organisation without preparation. We look like a plucky small club but we have built the expectation of a BIG club but we are not being as BIG as we are.
We have conceded 17 goals in 3 away games against our direct rivals and we have conceded 17 goals in ALL the other 28 games.
I see a trend which does not belong in what I call high performance elite sporting organisations which Arsenal are. You need to always push forward so you do not become stale and limited.
This is High Performance – The stages of managing high performance teams/organisations. There are simple leadership fundamentals that we should be following. In January there was a lot of talk about Julian Draxler. I was really excited as it seemed a continuation of a new strategy. With Ozil, Lukas Podolski and Per Mertesacker already on board, I was ready to rake in the cash with my William Hill world cup free bet offers this summer.
It never happened – we hesitated.
All this talk of DRAXLER I want to introduce you to DREXLER-Sibbet.
WHO I hear you say, who does he play for?!
See below Drexler/Sibbet…Stages of Team Performance…
Wenger has been at Arsenal for 1000 games. My thought is Wenger is at the stage of Renewal. Can he renew Arsenal for a third era or has he reached burnout – can he either control the next phase by elevating himself in the organisation and control change from a higher role (the board).
Or will he stay on and try to reinvent himself at the front-line by changing his lair; his management team and his players.
The above model shows how it’s important to have clear goals and a clear strategy – Arsenal have done well recently via Ivan Gazidis to make our strategy transparent. We have a clear understanding of our Accounts, our commercial strategy has improved and our transfer strategy, is starting to change, the age dynamic of the squad has risen, the English core has been signed. Also we signed MESUT OZIL. The harder you work on creating a clear strategy the higher the level of performance will be.
We are starting to see collective goals that HAS forged an excellent team spirit this season. When you spend time understanding what you are trying to achieve you have a greater chance for high performance consistently as a team.
Bringing this back to Arsenal – The stage we are at is RENEWAL. Can we sustain this without change? Wenger needs to master change at Arsenal and admit maybe at 62 he is not the best one to be leading us into the new era.
Wenger himself said his reign is in 3 slices – The era where we could compete and win, the era where Arsenal built a stadium and had to make £30 million profit when others lost £150 million a season. For me this is his true legacy for which he gets little credit.
We are now in the third era where as a club we have the revenue of nearly £300 million similar to Bayern Munich but I do not think we have the people infrastructure that they have at Bayern to bring us forward to the level we need to reach.
I love to talk about the make-up of the team on the pitch and we can agree disagree on what makes the correct physical/technical balance to win games like at Chelsea and Manchester City – I believe Wenger is no closer to realising he HAD the solution in 2004 and has moved away from those basic fundamentals that made us a team to fear. Wenger has created a team with limits.
The beauty of Sport is not knowing what you are going to see, the unpredictability the fact that your sporting experience has NO Limits. Wenger has created a cosy LIMITED team and the beatings show clearly we have a team with a glass ceiling with little accountability for not reaching the top table.
We talk about strikers and centre midfielders – it’s so much bigger than this. This is about poor management, poor preparation. Arsenal and Arsene has built a huge football organisation but we are NOT a serious football club. That hurts me but it’s true. We allowed Chelsea to KILL Arsenal, they planned for it and they did it.
If we are serious our preparation for matches must be better, we go into games with no plan, no urgency, no belief, no attention to detail. It’s quite humiliating to be honest, and what is more humiliating is the fact this has happened many times. Not learning from mistakes or even attempting to learn is what is really humiliating.
We are and have been easy to play against for years. It started with Fergie and the 50th game. He targeted Jose Reyes and rotation fouled him. The referees in the EPL allowed it to happen and we were derailed.
It’s a simple plan that we fall for every time – How to beat Arsenal?
1. Set your team up with 2 Defensive centre midfielders and fast forwards who press Arsenal high.
2. Plan to always not let Arsenal get into any rhythm with passing – tackle tackle tackle.
3. Wait for the error as Arsenal will always play the same way – through the thirds slowly with small players who cannot evade the press.
4. Score the first goal – Arsenal rarely come back and will capitulate and lose their shape.
5. Play fast transition football as Arsenal have too many players who can’t run.
6. Keep pressing and enjoy your win sleepy Arsenal will allow it.
- Fergie did it many times using Darren Fletcher and Anderson to kick us. David Moyes beat us this season at OT by putting Phil Jones in centre midfield.
- Brendan Rodgers used Henderson and Joe Allen, not superstars but given specific roles to press and unsettle.
- City used Yaya Toure and Fernandinho and pushed on Pablo Zabaleta to transition against us fast.
Finally everyone knew Jose Mourinho would use David Luiz and Nemanja Matic to do the same and let me tell you we were lucky Chelsea could not pick the fast running pressing Ramires and Willian because if they had played we could of lost by TEN.
Every leader has limits, every leader needs to be renewed to sustain performance. If you are smart you control that change yourself proactively.
Wenger is showing signs of burnout by making the same mistakes time and time again and taking too long to correct them. We are not being a big team yet we have but a big club. We need some big people to take us on.
I’m not sure Neil Banfield and Boro Promovic alongside Steve Bould and Wenger are enough.
I believe we are at a major turning point in our history. We have the funds to turn a new page – we are Renewing.
- Liam Brady moving on is huge – A Pillar of AFC going.
- The arrival of Andries Jonker bringing a new coaching philosophy for our Academy.
- Changes to Hale End – Upgrade of facilities.
- A new Chairman in Sir Chips Keswick.
- A new Board member in Josh Kroenke.
- Changes to London Colney as it’s looking tired England no longer using it as their training base and now using Spurs training ground.
- Review of our Injuries – Others use data analytics to a higher level (CFC) than we have managed at Arsenal.
Arsenal as a club are always forward thinking and innovative – I have no issues with losing a match as long as we learn from the mistakes.
Arsenal are not learning, we are slow hesitant in relation to decision making – we Need RENEWAL – We need Change – We need a new mentality.
Is Wenger going to control change or leave it to someone else. I sense he will control it. I’m not sure how I feel about that.